UCF stayed perfect on Saturday, scoring a school record 73 points in a 40-point win over Austin Peay. The Knights (7-0, 4-0 AAC) are now No. 14 in the Coaches Poll and No. 15 in the AP Poll. They will hit the road to face SMU next Saturday, but before looking ahead, what else went down around the AAC in week nine?
USF: The Bulls (7-1, 4-1 AAC) fell out of the AP Poll from No. 17 after a 28-24 loss to Houston. It was a tough game for the offense, but it did enough to go up 24-21 with just 1:46 left. But the defense couldn’t hold the lead, giving up a first down on fourth and 24 before allowing a 20-yard touchdown scramble with 11 seconds left. The loss snapped USF’s 12-game winning streak and 24-game streak of scoring 30-plus points. Up Next: at UConn
UConn: In non-conference action, the Huskies (3-5, 2-3 AAC) were thumped by Missouri, falling 52-12. They took an early 2-0 lead on a safety, but not much went right after that. Freshman Kevin Mensah carried the ball 16 times for 64 yards and a touchdown in the loss. Up Next: vs. USF
Temple: The Owls (3-5, 1-3 AAC) were off this week. Up Next: vs. Navy (Nov. 2)
East Carolina: The Pirates (2-6, 1-3 AAC) were off this week. Up Next: at Houston
Cincinnati: The Bearcats (2-6, 0-4 AAC) were off this week. Up Next: at Tulane
Memphis: The Tigers (7-1, 4-1 AAC) rolled through Tulane on Friday night, winning 56-26. Senior Riley Ferguson continued his impressive season, throwing for 298 yards and three touchdowns. Memphis, which got out to a 35-0 lead early in the second quarter, is now No. 22 in the AP Poll. The team is in firm control of the division with just three games to go. Up Next: at Tulsa (Nov. 3)
SMU: The Mustangs (6-2, 3-1 AAC) clinched bowl eligibility for the first time since 2012 with a 38-34 win over Tulsa. Sophomore Ben Hicks totaled 338 yards and two touchdowns through the air, but SMU needed a 10-0 fourth quarter to complete the victory. Junior Trey Quinn caught eight passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns. Up Next: vs. No. 15 UCF
Navy: The Midshipmen (5-2, 3-2 AAC) were off this week. Up Next: at Temple (Nov. 2)
Houston: After blowing a 17-0 lead to Memphis last week, the Cougars (5-3, 3-2 AAC) bounced back with a 28-24 upset win over No. 17 USF. The defense had four sacks and 12 tackles for loss and sophomore D’Eriq King came up with some late heroics. King completed a 30-yard pass on fourth and 24, then scrambled for a wild 20-yard touchdown run with just 11 seconds to go. Up Next: vs. East Carolina
Tulane: The Green Wave (3-5, 1-3 AAC) fell behind 35-0 and eventually lost 56-26 to No. 24 Memphis. Junior Jonathan Banks did his best to keep things interesting, throwing for three touchdowns and running for one. The Tulane defense just couldn’t keep up, though, as it allowed 557 yards. Up Next: vs. Cincinnati
Tulsa: The Golden Hurricane (2-7, 1-4 AAC) led SMU 34-28 after three quarters, but fell 38-34 after being shut out in the final quarter. Senior D’Angelo Brewer continued to lead the offense, rushing for 156 yards and a touchdown on 33 carries. The defense remained a problem for Tulsa, as it allowed 581 total yards. Up Next: vs. No. 22 Memphis (Nov. 3)
What does this all mean for UCF?
In the AAC West, the hierarchy is just about the same. Tulsa and Tulane are still stuck at the bottom, while Memphis sits at the top. Houston’s win was big for bowl chances, but likely doesn’t do anything to conference title hopes. Navy was off this week, but with two losses, title chances are slim. Where it might get somewhat interesting is with SMU. The Mustangs have one conference loss, leaving them just a half-game behind Memphis for the division lead. The two teams meet on Nov. 18, which means SMU could realistically steal the division even with a potential loss to UCF this week.
The AAC East looks a tad different after this weekend. What was supposed to be USF’s best team ever fell at home to an average Houston team. However, the loss really doesn’t do anything to the big picture. If the Bulls win out, they will win the division and have a potential shot at a New Year’s Six bowl bid with a win in the AAC title game. While UCF fans might laugh at their rival’s fall from the rankings, it actually hurts in the long run. The Black Friday matchup will still decide the AAC East, but the game was expected to be a ranked, undefeated-against-undefeated matchup. A win in that game will still look good for the Knights, but it would’ve looked better had the Bulls stayed unbeaten.
The rest of the east aside from UConn was off this week, but really, the Huskies might as well have been off too.