With five weeks in the books, the American Athletic Conference is rising to the to top as several other big names fall out of national favor in the polls. The Universities of Central and South Florida have broken the stigma of so-called directional schools while Navy has begun the season undefeated. All three programs have broken into the Top 25. The AAC now has as many teams placed that high as the SEC.
In light of their national ranking, it’s no surprise that the UCF Knights and the USF Bulls sit atop the AAC’s Eastern Division, each 2-0 in conference play. The Bulls are at 5-0 overall after a bye week and have moved from 18th to 17th in the country. They face the Bearcats of Cincinnati who were just decimated by UCF.
The Knights sit a half-game back in the East due to games canceled around Hurricane Irma posting 4-0 overall. The defense accounts for an average point differential of 31.75 and the offense is posting an average of 47.5 points per contest. Those are the facts that have Central Florida charging up from 22 to 25.
The Midshipmen of Navy sailing into the Top 25 after beating Air Force sets them as the leader in the West division with 5-0 as their record with three wins in the conference. The Houston Cougars and Memphis Tigers are each a game back at 4-1 with respective 2-0 and 1-1 conference records. However, rough seas may be coming for Navy who is scheduled to face Memphis and UCF over the next two weeks.
Should the Tigers beat Navy next week, they will battle the Cougars the following match. Over the two weeks, the West will get wild at the top of its heap.
This week brought awesome performances keeping the top teams mentioned in their rankings. The Offensive Player of the Week is Memphis quarterback, Riley Ferguson posting numbers that seemed to defy physics against the UConn Huskies. 431 yards with seven touchdowns passing not to mention another 55 rushing on 11 carries in a 70-31 smackdown doesn’t leave much room for debate that Ferguson was the right choice for Week Five.
The Defensive Player of the Week was the Houston Cougars defensive back Terrell Williams. While recording a pass defended and five tackles, it was his two red-zone interceptions that gave him the nod as his team subdued the SMU Mustangs, 35-22.
Navy Kicker Bennett Moehring’s clutch pair of 4th quarter field goals helped the Midshipmen beat Air Force and earn him Special Teams Player of the week accolades. Those points combined with six PATs were crucial in the 48-45 triumph.