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Cincinnati Bearcats on the road in top AAC game of Week Two

Last week wasn't really a good one for the new American Athletic Conference, as two of its teams lost to FCS opponents. But Louisville is the only AAC team that anyone is watching, and the Cardinals looked good in smashing Ohio.

Louisville should roll again, with FCS foe Eastern Kentucky the opponent this weekend. That is one of three games for league teams against FCS opponents, and one of those -- Montana State at SMU -- is a potential upset special.

Cincinnati can move to 2-0 with a win over its second consecutive Big Ten opponent, and that could get the AAC some needed positive press.

Here's a look at all the games involving AAC teams this weekend, ranked from worst to best:

8. Norfolk State at Rutgers, Saturday, 12 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network

Rating: 0 stars

The skinny: Norfolk State has played five FBS teams in the past six seasons; the Spartans have been outscored 227-25 in those contests. But junior OLB Lynden Trail (6-feet-7, 260 pounds), a Florida transfer, potentially is an intriguing prospect; he had 17 tackles for loss last season. Rutgers junior WR Brandon Coleman (6-6, 220), another intriguing prospect, had two TD catches in last week's loss to Fresno State and could have a huge game.

7. Eastern Kentucky at Louisville, Saturday, 12 p.m. ET, ESPN3

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Rating: 0 stars

The skinny: Eastern Kentucky is a solid FCS program and is expected to compete for the Ohio Valley Conference title. That said, Louisville is expected to finish unbeaten, and the only thing that keeps this from being a monster blowout will be the kindness of Cardinals coach Charlie Strong. Eastern Kentucky OLB Anthony Brown is worth watching. So, too, are Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater, RB Michael Dyer, WR DeVante Parker, FS Calvin Pryor, SS Hakeem Smith -- you get the idea.

6. UCF at FIU, Friday, 8 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network

Rating: 1 star

The skinny: UCF is the state of Florida's fourth-best FBS team; FIU looks to be the worst of seven. UCF junior QB Blake Bortles (6-4, 230) is underrated nationally and should light up FIU's secondary. Tune in to watch Bortles for a while -- he's worth it.

5. USF at Michigan State, Saturday, 12 p.m. ET, ESPNU

Rating: 1 star

The skinny: USF lost by 32 (32!) to a FCS team (McNeese State) in coach Willie Taggart's debut last week, believed to be the largest-ever margin of victory for a FCS team over a FBS program. Things can't get much worse, can they? Highly touted USF sophomore DE Aaron Lynch, a Notre Dame transfer, basically was invisible last week against McNeese State. Michigan State's offensive line is banged up and perhaps Lynch can rebound. Michigan State is looking for an offensive spark, but do they have any skill-position players that can provide one? The Spartans' defense should dominate what looks to be a punchless USF offense.

4. Montana State at SMU, Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN3

Rating: 1.5 stars

The skinny: Montana State is ranked third in this week's FCS poll, and given how much success FCS teams had last week against FBS schools, you can be sure SMU coach June Jones is letting his players know about the Bobcats' abilities. Montana State senior QB DeNarius McGhee (6-0, 212), a guy scouts will look at this fall, is an excellent athlete who already has thrown for 9,356 yards and 71 TDs in his career. Montana State has switched to a zone-read scheme this season, and that fits McGhee's skill set. Senior WR Tanner Bleskin (6-3, 218) is an interesting prospect, as well. SMU needs RB Traylon Shead (6-2, 230) to live up to his coach's hype.

3. Duke at Memphis, Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET, ESPN3

Rating: 1.5 stars

The skinny: Memphis was one of the few teams that did not open last week, which means it's the first game for redshirt freshman QB Paxton Lynch (6-7, 225); he has a big arm, but inexperience has to be a worry. Duke likes to throw the ball, and Memphis' secondary is a big concern. Tigers DE Martin Ifedi (6-3, 265) could cause some problems for Duke's offensive line.

2. Houston at Temple, Saturday, 12 p.m. ET, AAC syndication/ESPN Game Plan

Rating: 2 stars

The skinny: Hey, it's a conference matchup, so that gives it an extra half of a star. Temple has an OK defensive line and Houston's offensive line is dealing with injuries, which means the Cougars likely will find it tough to run. Houston's passing attack, though, is going to be tough for Temple to stop. Sophomore WR Deontay Greenberry (6-3, 198) is a star on the rise, and junior Daniel Spencer (5-11, 185) is a solid No. 2 receiver.

1. Cincinnati at Illinois, Saturday, 12 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Rating: 2.5 stars

The skinny: Cincinnati looked good in mauling one Big Ten team last week (Purdue, 42-7), and now the Bearcats go for their second win against another Big Ten bottom-feeder. Illini QB Nathan Scheelhaase threw for 416 yards and two TDs in a win over FCS foe Southern Illinois last week, but Cincy's secondary will make things much tougher. Senior CB Deven Drane is the guy to watch. Illinois surrendered 407 yards and 34 points last week, and that has to make Cincinnati's running backs and wide receivers smile. This is Cincy's toughest non-conference game.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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