Week 7 American Athletic Conference rankings and reactions. Memphis proudly carried the league banner—and moved to the head of the Group of Five—by delivering a stunning upset of Ole Miss.
Week 7 American Athletic Conference Rankings
American Athletic Player of the Week
Memphis QB Paxton Lynch complete 39-of-53 passes for 384 yards and three scores with a pick in the win over Ole Miss.
1. Memphis: W, Ole Miss 37-24
Is it too early to mention QB Paxton Lynch as a fringe Heisman candidate? Sure, he’s not winning the award, but he’s the front man of an unbeaten team that just earned a historically significant win over the rival Rebels. And with only modest help from the ground game, his 384 yards and three touchdowns through the air are the reason the Tigers are now the favorites to win the American and play in a Big Six bowl game.
2. Temple: W, UCF 30-16
Have the Owls lost some intensity? Saturday’s game with the winless Knights was way too close for comfort. In fact, hapless UCF held a lead at the start of the fourth quarter before Temple scored the final 16 points. The Owls dominated in every phase, almost tripling the Knights’ yards, yet they needed to rally for the win. Temple must recapture its swagger and efficiency, because Notre Dame and Memphis in the coming weeks will determine this team’s ceiling.
3. Houston: W, at Tulane 42-7
The Cougar defense, specifically the defensive backs, don’t get nearly enough credit for the team’s 6-0 start. Naturally, QB Greg Ward Jr. is the front man. But the secondary has yielded just seven touchdown passes, despite constantly defending huge leads. And in Friday’s rout of the Green Wave, FS Trevon Stewart had a pair of sacks and next-level CB William Jackson broke up four passes.
4. Cincinnati: L, at BYU 38-24
It’s back to the drawing board for the Bearcat O-line. So dependable in the opening month of the season, the unit was stampeded by the Cougars for eight sacks and a ton of hurries. Cincinnati had no answers for DE Bronson Kaufusi and the rest of the BYU front seven, which stifled the ground game as well as QB Hayden Moore’s ability to check down his receivers.
5. East Carolina: W, Tulsa 30-17
For the first time this season, the Pirates won a game with defense, which had to be especially enjoyable for head coach Ruffin McNeill, a former defensive assistant. East Carolina did what no one else has this fall, trip up the Hurricane attack, while CB Josh Hawkins added a touchdown on a 100-yard interception return. New offensive coordinator Dave Nichol, meanwhile, is doing a real nice job of utilizing the diverse skill sets of quarterbacks Blake Kemp and James Summers.
6. Navy: Bye Week
Next week: vs. Tulane
7. South Florida: W, at Connecticut 28-20
Yeah, yeah, it was UConn, but this is a huge win for the Bulls. It showed that South Florida can handle an ounce of prosperity, winning on the road the week after plowing Syracuse. Does the program still need more consistency from QB Quinton Flowers as a passer? Sure. But if Marlon Mack continues to run well, and WR Rodney Adams builds off his three-touchdown effort, USF is a legitimate threat to go bowling.
8. Connecticut: L, South Florida 28-20
QB Bryant Shirreffs showed he can carry the offense when necessary, but his teammates must stop dragging their feet. Shirreffs was a force in Week 7, accounting for 465 yards and a couple of scores. But the balance of the ground game was inconsistent and the line blocked poorly. So, despite all of the yards amassed by the Huskies, they still had problems getting into the end zone and converting when needed.
9. Tulsa: L, at East Carolina
The Golden Hurricane had the yards but not the points in Greenville, the earmark of an offense still lacking in efficiency. Tulsa amassed more yards and first downs than East Carolina; however, points were scarce because of a pair of turnovers and an inability to finish drives. While Philip Montgomery is building something fun with the Hurricane, false starts and regressions will continue to be the norm in Year 1.
10. Tulane: L, Houston 42-7
Hurry back, Tanner Lee. Lee missed the Houston game with a concussion … and the Green Wave sorely missed Lee. The sophomore gives Tulane a shot to move the ball through the air, while maximizing the playmaking ability of receivers Teddy Veal and Devon Breaux. Backups Devin Powell and Jordy Joseph just aren’t FBS-ready, completing 14-of-33 for 150 yards and no touchdowns on Friday.
11. UCF: L, at Temple 30-16
Apparently, there’s still a layer of rust that Knight QB Justin Holman needs to shake. In his second game back from an early-season injury, Holman played like a third-stringer, completing just 10-of-31 passes for 67 yards, no touchdowns and two picks. And while his line versus the Temple front seven was a mismatch favoring the Owls, UCF did not allow a sack for a change. Holman undoubtedly wants to get completely healthy and then get to the offseason before suffering another injury.
12. SMU: Bye Week
Next week: at South Florida