Teddy Bridgewater and Louisville are off to a good start. Photo: USA Today Sports
The 2013 college football season is only two weeks old and in the American Athletic Conference, it is not too early to ask if there are only two real contenders for the league title.
After two weeks of play, only #7 Louisville and UCF have lived up to preseason expectations (albeit against inferior competition) and the Cardinals are still the front-runner in the conference. Both teams have been lacking punch in the running game so far (Louisville is ranked 82nd and UCF is ranked 69th) and the ability to run the football will be tested in Week 3. Louisville will play at Kentucky in the Governor's Cup rivalry game while UCF travels to play Penn State. The Wildcats are 31st in total defense (70th in rush defense, but coming off a game allowing just 99 yards rushing) while the Nittany Lions are 11th (8th in rush defense).
What about the teams that looked solid in Week 1?
Cincinnati's hopes at winning the title this season were dashed when Munchie Legaux was lost for the year with a gruesome leg injury at Illinois this past week. The Bearcats were struggling before the injury occurred in their Week 2 contest and ended up losing 45-17 to the Illini.
Houston pasted 62 points on Southern in Week 1 only to sputter in the red zone against Temple on the road. The Cougars needed five field goals just to stay ahead of the Owls long enough for the touchdown that would put the game away at 22-13 with just over a minute to play.
Rutgers, after losing a road shootout in overtime against Fresno State, bounced back by pounding Norfolk State. However, Gary Nova fell back to earth after a great opening game by completing just 12-of-21 passes for 150 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The Scarlet Knights will need more consistent performances from Nova going forward if they want to be in the hunt for the league crown.
And the rest?
Temple suffered their second loss of the season and is already 0-1 in conference play. Unfortunately for the Owls, they outperformed basement expectations last season and are looking like the team pundits predicted they would be in 2012.
SMU got their first win but needed a comeback and a last second touchdown to defeat FCS Montana State. The Mustangs trailed 22-5 at one point in the second quarter before their rally. Ultimately, a win is a win and SMU will get a week off to figure out how to stop Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M at Kyle Field.
UConn, which suffered an embarrassing defeat to Towson in Week 1, was off. That left South Florida, reeling from a humiliating FCS loss of their own, and Memphis, making their debut, to compete to stay out of the cellar. South Florida was their own worst enemy against Michigan State, spotting the Spartans 14 points on defensive touchdowns by Shilique Calhoun in a 21-6 loss and wasting a fine defensive performance that held the opposition to 94 yards passing on 12-of-24 attempts. Memphis is still Memphis after a 28-14 loss while hosting Duke. After tying the game at 14 in the fourth quarter, the Tigers allowed two touchdowns in a span of around three minutes which put the game away for the Blue Devils.