American Athletic Football Rankings And Reactions, Week 11

    Week 11 American Athletic Conference rankings and reactions. The American lost one of its undefeated programs, but gained a new contender in the process. Navy had a shockingly easy time with Memphis, meaning Houston and the Midshipmen are the final two West Division teams unbeaten in conference play.

    November 16, 2015


    Week 11 American Athletic Conference Rankings

    1. Houston: W, Memphis 35-34

    Down by 20. Down a quarterback. The Cougars had no business remaining unbeaten on Saturday night. But there’s something special about Tom Herman’s first team, which undoubtedly has plenty to do with Tom Herman. QB Greg Ward Jr. turned his ankle early on, robbing Houston of its point man. However, junior college transfer Kyle Postma was heroic down the stretch, encouraging news for upcoming games with UConn and Navy in the event that Ward misses more time.

    2. Navy: W, SMU 55-14

    The Midshipmen picked up where they left off last week in Memphis, easily shooing aside overmatched SMU. And fittingly, QB Keenan Reynolds was the hero, rushing for four scores as he established a new FBS career touchdown mark. Navy was once again terrific on defense, silencing a Mustang attack that scored 40 on Temple a week ago. The Academy is soaring at a most opportune time in the season, with Tulsa and the West Division showdown with Houston preceding the annual finale with Army.

    3. Memphis: L, at Houston 35-34

    The Tigers need a bye week, but the team won’t get another break until the regular season ends. Memphis blew a 20-0 lead on a night that the Cougars lost their star quarterback, Greg Ward Jr., running out of gas and stops in the final quarter. The defense, which has overachieved for coordinator Galen Scott all year, has let the team down in losses to Navy and Houston the last two weeks. And now the Tigers, the American’s darlings after upsetting Ole Miss on Oct. 17, are no longer even in contention in the West Division.

    4. South Florida: W, Temple 44-23

    At long last, Willie Taggart has the seminal moment he was seeking in Tampa, beating a ranked opponent for the first time in four years. And the Bulls did things to the brutish Owl defense that no one else has this fall, including Notre Dame and Penn State. USF shoved Temple off the ball, allowing RB Marlon Mack and QB Quinton Flowers to spearhead a 326-yard, three-touchdown effort on the ground. The Bulls are bowl eligible and at a turning point under Taggart. Plus, they’re now just a game behind the Owls in the East Division race.

    5. Temple: L, at South Florida 44-23

    What has happened to the Owl defense? A fortress earlier in the year, Temple has allowed at least 40 points in each of the last two games. And it cost the program on Saturday, losing a league game for the first time in 2015 after yielding 556 yards to the Bulls. There were too many missed tackles of RB Marlon Mack and QB Quinton Flowers, a troubling trend with Memphis up next. If the Owls lose to the Tigers, the East Division could be up for grabs.

    6. Cincinnati: W, Tulsa 49-38

    The Bearcats’ depth at the skill positions is really beginning to pay dividends in the second half of the year. While other programs are thinning out, Cincinnati still has fresh legs, the residue of producing three 600-yard rushers and five 400-yard receivers. RB Mike Boone was the freshest of the Bearcat runners in Week 11, leading the charge with 137 rushing yards and three of the team’s five touchdowns on the ground.

    7. Connecticut: Bye Week

    Next week: Houston

    8. East Carolina: Bye Week

    Next week: at UCF

    9. Tulsa: L, at Cincinnati 49-38

    Scoring? Not a problem this year for the Golden Hurricane. In fact, the team is mining new weapons, such as RB Ramadi Warren, in November. And many key parts will be back in 2016, including injured receiver Keevan Lucas. For Tulsa to climb the West Division ladder, though, it needs to take a quantum leap on defense, which has been trashed all year. The staff can work with that D in December, but only if the team wins one of its final two games with Navy and Tulane.

    10. Tulane: W, at Army 34-31

    The 3-7 Green Wave needed this win. Head coach Curtis Johnson needed it, too. Tulane played well at West Point, winning on the road for the first time in 2015 behind the passing of Tanner Lee and the tough running of Dontrell Hilliard. The mild upset snapped a five-game losing streak for the program, providing a little relief for Johnson, who’s attempting to hold onto his job.

    11. SMU: L, at Navy 55-14

    You get the feeling that Chad Morris’ offense will eventually be fine on the Hilltop, despite Saturday’s struggles in Annapolis. The D, though, has a galaxy to go before being competitive at this level. SMU predictably had no answers for the Midshipmen’s north-south triple-option, and it has now yielded at least 40 points eight times in 2015. If a bigger school starts fishing about Morris’ availability, he’d be nuts not to listen.

    12. UCF: Bye Week

    Next week: East Carolina

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