UCF on the road in top AAC game of Week 3

Everyone knows Louisville is the best team in the AAC. But the second-best team? That could be determined this week.

Going into the season, conventional wisdom was that either Cincinnati or Rutgers was No. 2. But each already has lost a road game (Rutgers to Fresno State, Cincy to Illinois), and UCF gets a chance to prove its worth on the road this week when it travels to Penn State.

The Penn State-UCF game is, by far, the marquee matchup featuring a league team. And here is a look at all the games involving league teams this week, ranked from worst to best:

8. Northwestern State (La.) at Cincinnati, Saturday, 7 p.m. ET

Rating: 0 stars

The skinny: Cincinnati is without starting QB Munchie Legaux for the rest of the season, but Brendon Kay, who will take over, started five games last season. Cincy needs to get its running game untracked. Northwestern State is 0-13 against FBS schools in the past seven seasons and has surrendered an average of 50.2 points in those contests; only twice in those games did the Delta Demons allow fewer than 40 points -- and both times, they were playing against Ole Miss teams coached by Ed Orgeron (insert your own joke here).

7. Fordham at Temple, Saturday, 1 p.m. ET

Rating: 1 star

The skinny: Fordham is coming off an upset of Villanova, which is 20th in this week's FCS poll. QB Michael Nebrich is a UConn transfer. Temple's main emphasis will be on stopping the run. As anybody who follows college football can tell you, no UConn quarterback can throw.

6. Florida Atlantic at USF, Saturday, 7 p.m. ET

Rating: 1 star

The skinny: Is there bad football played in the state of Florida? You betcha. (And, no, we don't just mean on the pro level.) These teams can't move the ball at all. Perhaps this is the game where touted USF sophomore DE Aaron Lynch finally makes a big play.

5. Eastern Michigan at Rutgers, Saturday, 1 p.m. ET

Rating: 1 star

The skinny: Rutgers WR Brandon Coleman vs. Eastern Michigan FS Mycal Swaim should draw some attention from scouts. Coleman (6-feet-6, 220 pounds) has 11 receptions for 124 yards and two TDs. Swaim (6-4, 212) has 13 tackles and a pick. As for the game itself, Rutgers' defense should carry the day. EMU struggles to run.

4. Memphis at Middle Tennessee State, Saturday 7 p.m. ET, Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast

Rating: 1 star

The skinny: This is the fifth season in a row the teams have met, and MTSU is 3-1. Middle Tennessee could find it tough to run against a Memphis defensive front that features DT Johnnie Farms and DE Martin Ifedi. Memphis was shut down by Duke's defense last week and needs to find a way to run the ball effectively to keep pressure off redshirt freshman QB Paxton Lynch.

3. Maryland at Connecticut, Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET

Rating: 2 stars

The skinny: Maryland coach Randy Edsall goes against his former employer for the second year in a row; UConn won last season. Maryland QB C.J. Brown has looked good in the first two games, and while UConn's defense struggled in its opening loss to Towson, it still is better than any defense Brown and the Terps have seen. UConn LB Yawin Smallwood needs to play well. So does UConn CB Byron Jones against a good Terps receiving corps that includes Stefon Diggs.

2. Louisville at Kentucky, Saturday, 12 p.m. ET, ESPN

Rating: 2.5 stars

The skinny: This is Louisville's toughest non-conference road game, and it's against the SEC's worst team. Yes, the basketball version of this rivalry is much more intense, but the football version has some venom, too. Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater and his receiving corps, headed by DeVante Parker, should carve up a slow UK secondary. These teams have met only 25 times, and Louisville's largest margin of victory in its 11 wins has been 31 points. If Cardinals coach Charlie Strong wants that "record" to fall Saturday, it will.

1. UCF at Penn State, Saturday, 6 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network

Rating: 3.5 stars

The skinny: Penn State has been abysmal on third downs (an astoundingly bad 2-of-26, which works out to an 8 percent conversion rate), but still has rolled up 927 yards and scored 68 points in two games. True freshman QB Christian Hackenberg has been successful in finding star WR Allen Robinson (14 receptions, 262 yards, two TDs). Hard-hitting UCF SS Clayton Geathers needs to make his presence felt. UCF junior Blake Bortles will be the best quarterback on the field, though, and his mobility is the key to UCF's upset hopes. He needs some help from RB Storm Johnson, and the Knights also need a receiver to make some plays against a rebuilt Penn State secondary. UCF is going to have issues with Penn State DT DeQuan Jones, a senior who is playing the best ball of his career.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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