Three teams that were in the bottom five of last week’s Group of Five Power Poll enter this week’s top five. Three teams also made their way into the top 10.
1. Cincinnati, last week: 1
The Bearcats knew last week’s game against SMU wouldn’t be a cakewalk. SMU scored two touchdowns in just over a three-minute span late in the fourth quarter to pull the game within two points, and almost got the ball back with a chance to win. Nevertheless, Cincy prevailed and remains the top-ranked Group of Five team. It moved up a spot to No. 20 in the AP poll, and visits UCF this weekend.
2. Tulane, last week: 3
Ranked just behind Cincinnati at No. 23 in the AP poll, Tulane dominated Memphis on Saturday. The final score of 38-28 didn’t tell the full story, as the Green Wave took a 35-0 lead into halftime and had five different players find the end zone. It was another quality win for the Green Wave who moved to 7-1 for the best start since 1998. Their 4-0 start in AAC play is also the best start in The American since joining the league in 2014.
3. Troy, last week: 7
The Trojan defense solidified itself as one of the best units in both the Sun Belt and the country with its performance against South Alabama. The Jaguars couldn’t find any offensive traction and only mustered six points. Troy’s only blemish is a loss to Ole Miss the first week of the season and a loss to App State on a Hail Mary.
4. UTSA, last week: 6
Last week, we wrote about UTSA’s offense and its array of weapons. They displayed that in Saturday’s comeback win over North Texas, driving the field in 1:17 to take the lead after the Mean Green pulled in front with 1:38 remaining:
The win puts the Roadrunners in sole possession of first place in C-USA. They enter their bye week with UAB on tap. If UTSA can get past the Blazers, their chances of finishing the season undefeated in conference play are high. But there’s a lot of football left.
5. Boise State, last week: 9
Boise State seemed to have fallen off the radar a little early in the season, especially following a loss to UTEP. However, the Broncos are back as favorites to win the Mountain West after a decisive win over Air Force. Boise contained the Falcons’ triple-option offense to 175 yards, its second-lowest total of the season.
6. South Alabama, last week: 4
It’s still been an historic start for the Jaguars, but they were brought back to earth in a loss to Troy. Nothing to be ashamed about for South Alabama though, as Troy has allowed just 10 points per game the last three weeks. The shot at a conference title game is probably out the window, but the Jaguars still have a chance to finish its season on a high note.
7. ECU, last week: unranked
In their final meeting as conference foes, the Pirates beat UCF, snapping a six-game losing streak against the Knights. ECU stymied the Knights’ high-powered offense, which it’ll need to do heading into this weekend’s tilt at BYU.
8. UCF, last week: 2
The Knights were blowing through teams and on a four-game winning streak before ECU killed that momentum. Now, the Knights host Cincinnati in its biggest game of the season. If they want any shot to compete for an AAC title, they’ll need to win this game. Oddsmakers aren’t counting them out, and college football betting odds surprisingly still have UCF at +400 to win the conference.
9. Buffalo, last week: unranked
Trailing 27-10 entering the fourth quarter, the Bulls exploded, scoring 24 unanswered points to defeat Toledo and position themselves as the only undefeated team in MAC play. Buffalo started the year 0-3, but has since won five straight. Next up is another big conference game at Ohio next Tuesday night, giving the fans some weeknight MACtion.
10. Coastal Carolina, last week: unranked
The Chanticleers were throttled by Old Dominion prior to their bye week. Still, Coastal is 6-1 and at the top of the Sun Belt West division. It’ll have a chance to climb the poll with a win over Marshall this weekend.