AAF Week 7 Power Rankings: Orlando Apollos' surprising loss has things heating up at the top

Well, that was unexpected. 

After watching the Orlando Apollos dominate for most of the first half of the season, the last thing anyone expected was for Arizona, on a three-game slide, to come in as a near double-digit road dog and pull off the upset. And, yet, here we are heading into Week 7 and there's less separation at the top of the power rankings than before. Yes, the Apollos had a bad game, but does that mean they're no longer the best team in the Alliance? 

Moving past Orlando, the rest of the AAF remains largely a jumbled mess, too. Spots 3 through 6 in this week's power rankings are especially muddled. What that means is the playoff race, particularly in the West division, should be fascinating over the next four weeks. For now, here are the latest power rankings. 

1. Orlando Apollos (5-1)

Believe me, I thought about moving Orlando from the top spot. It's not just that the Apollos were shocked at home 22-17 by Arizona. It's also that San Antonio has won three straight on the road (and went 3-1 on its month-long road trip). That type of stretch deserves consideration for the top spot regardless of what any other team does. In the end, though, I'll chalk up Orlando's loss to a bad game (which is in no way to diminish Arizona's win) and I still believe they're the best team in the AAF. Plus, they have the head-to-head win over the Commanders. Previously: No. 1 

2. San Antonio Commanders (4-2) 

The Commanders' defense had its best performance since Week 1 with four turnovers. Safety Derron Smith is playing like a Defensive MVP candidate with two pick-sixes in the past two weeks. It would take another Orlando loss for the Commanders to take the top spot, but things are going well right now for this team. Week 7 will be huge. A home win over Salt Lake would maintain some breathing room in the West, with the winner of the Arizona-San Diego game on Sunday staying one game back. Previously: No. 2

3. Birmingham Iron (4-2)

The Iron may have had the best week of any team in the AAF. Not only did they get a walk-off win at San Diego, marking the first time the Fleet have lost at home this year, but Atlanta and Memphis both lost. Technically, the Legends and Express are still only one and two games behind, respectively, but their outlooks are less promising. Atlanta's offense completely regressed to Week 1 form in a loss to San Antonio, and the Express lost quarterback Zach Mettenberger vs. Salt Lake City. Meanwhile, Iron quarterback Luis Perez showed off a vertical passing attack that's been absent all year. He still made bad mistakes, but it was a step in the right direction. Previously: No. 4

4. Arizona Hotshots (3-3) 

Here's where things get really muddled. There isn't a whole lot of separation in the West division and spots 4 through 6 in the Power Rankings are particularly tight. I don't like the idea of dropping San Diego two spots for losing on a walk-off field goal to a good Birmingham team. That was an entertaining game with a spectacular finish. At the same time, I can't not move the Hotshots up at least a spot after going on the road and beating the AAF's best team. That was the most complete game Arizona has played since Week 1 and it showed this can still be a top-two team in the West. Previously: No. 5

5. San Diego Fleet (3-3)

Fleet fans shouldn't get too worked up over dropping to No. 5. A road trip to Arizona in Week 7 will provide some clarity on who the second-best team in the West is with April on the horizon. What's more is that San Diego and Arizona will play again in Week 10. That game could very well be a knock-out game for the playoffs. Previously: No. 3

6. Salt Lake Stallions (2-4)

It would have been bad if the Stallions had lost at home to Memphis. Really bad. As it is, Salt Lake City is still last in the West, but only by a game. In fact, the Stallions could make things really interesting by going on the road and beating the red-hot Commanders. The only problem? This team hasn't won on the road all year. Previously: No. 7

7. Atlanta Legends (2-4)

Well, the wheels certainly came flying off against San Antonio, didn't they? All the mojo accumulated in those back-to-back wins went the other direction with Derron Smith in that fourth quarter pick-six to put a cap on a miserable day. It might be back to square one in deciding which quarterback to start: Aaron Murray or Matt Simms. Murray has shown more upside, but those three picks? Woof. Week 7 is not a good time to re-evaluate your quarterback situation. Previously: No. 6

8. Memphis Express (1-5) 

Look, you probably care more about Johnny Manziel than the Express anyway, so read MY COLUMN on signing him and let's call it a day. Oh, and ...  

Previously: No. 8

CBS Sports Writer

Ben Kercheval joined CBS Sports in 2016 and has been covering college football since 2010. Before CBS, Ben worked at Bleacher Report, UPROXX Sports and NBC Sports. As a long-suffering North Texas graduate,... Full Bio

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