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Conference USA Power Rankings Week 7

The dart throwing continues after a thrilling week in C-USA

Florida International v Charlotte Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images

1. Western Kentucky (4-3, 2-1, Last Week: #3)

Last result: Western Kentucky 44 Middle Tennessee 43

Western Kentucky showed the resiliency of a champion in Murfreesboro as they were on the verge of losing several times during the second half and overtime sessions before coming away with the win.

Due to their loss against Louisiana Tech there isn’t any room for error. In order for WKU to win C-USA East they’re probably going to have to win out and after a tough game against MTSU the schedule doesn’t ease up as the first place and second place teams in C-USA East will visit Bowling Green starting this week.

Next week: vs Old Dominion

2. Middle Tennessee (4-2, 2-1, LW: #1)

Last result: Middle Tennessee 43 Western Kentucky 44

Last week was the toughest loss during the Rick Stockstill era. The Blue Raiders had WKU against the ropes in the fourth quarter and couldn’t deliver the knockout blow. Stockstill is going to dread not going for it on 4th and 1 during regulation for a long time. MTSU still has a lot to play for but they don’t control their own destiny to win the division any longer.

Next week: at Missouri

3. Louisiana Tech (4-3, 2-1, LW: #2)

Last result: Louisiana Tech 56 UMass 28

Tech’s speed was too much for UMass as they routed the Minutemen despite some sloppy play from the Bulldogs’ offense as they committed 4 turnovers. Tech beat the best team in Power Rankings and came close to defeating the second best team in my rankings too. The Bulldogs have looked better than Southern Miss lately while playing a tougher schedule to boot. I think they’re the best team in C-USA West.

Next week: at FIU

4. Southern Miss (4-3, 2-1, LW: #4)

Last result: Southern Miss 10 LSU 45

The Golden Eagles were going to have to play a perfect game in order to come away with a road victory at night in Baton Rouge and played anything but perfect. After a great start to the season the Golden Eagles have underwhelmed lately and the bye could not have come at a perfect time. There’s nothing but conference games the rest of the way with their toughest opponents at home.

Next week: Bye

5. Old Dominion (4-2, 2-0, LW: #5)

Last result: Bye

We will find out how serious Old Dominion should be taken in the C-USA East division title race when they visit WKU this Saturday night. With Middle Tennessee off the schedule this season a win this weekend would put the Monarchs in the driver’s seat to take home the division.

Next week: at Western Kentucky

6. UTSA (3-3, 2-1, LW: #6)

Last result: UTSA 14 Rice 13

I had a feeling the Roadrunners were going to have a battle on their hands against Rice but I didn’t think they would need a missed field goal in the game’s final seconds to come away with the win. The offense sputtered, continuing their habit of inconsistent play but this is still a young team finding out how to win. A victory on the road in college football is a good win no matter how dreadful the opponent.

Next week: vs UTEP

7. FIU (3-4, 3-0, LW: #8)

Last result: FIU 27 Charlotte 26

FIU fans are going to have the biggest gripe with my rankings. FIU scored the game’s final 14 points for a comeback win on the road against Charlotte. The Panthers are undefeated in conference play and are behind 5 teams who have a loss in conference play.

FIU is here because their wins have come against FAU, UTEP, and Charlotte, teams with a combined record of 4-15. Credit to Ron Cooper for getting FIU to play to their potential but I need to see more if they are going to move up. Fortunately for the Panthers they have an opportunity for that statement win this weekend.

Next week: vs Louisiana Tech

8. North Texas (3-3, 2-1, LW: #7)

Last result: Bye

North Texas will have two weeks to prepare for Army in a game that is critical for both teams if they are to become bowl eligibility. Army dropped 66 against UTEP earlier this season so the extra week for Seth Littrell’s squad was much needed as they try and shut down the option attack.

Next week: at Army

9. Marshall (2-4, 1-1, LW: #9)

Last result: Marshall 27 FAU 21

The Thundering Herd was booed off the field as they went into halftime trailing 21-16 and responded in the second half by not giving up a single point. The natives are restless in Huntington and the performance by the Thundering Herd did nothing to ease their concerns. Against one of the worst rushing defenses in the country Marshall rushed for just 106 yards. Marshall has another week to get right against Charlotte before facing a tough gauntlet to end the season.

Next week: vs Charlotte

10. Charlotte (2-5, 1-2, LW: #11)

Last result: Charlotte 26 FIU 27

The 49ers had a chance for a two-game winning streak as they lead FIU 26-13 with just over 7 minutes to play but just couldn’t finish the deal. Charlotte has improved from week-to-week this season and will be a tough out for the remainder of the year.

Next week: at Marshall

11. UTEP (1-5, 0-3, LW: #10)

Last result: Bye

It’s now or never for the Miners this week as they visit San Antonio to try and end a five-game losing streak. Lose here and you have to start thinking Sean Kugler is on the hot seat.

Next week: at UTSA

12. FAU (1-6, 0-3, LW: #12)

Last result: FAU 21 Marshall 27

FAU gave up a game-winning touchdown in the game’s final minute. Again. This program has consistently not been able to get over the hump and the coaching staff is going to have to look in the mirror. Charlie Partridge is 4-12 in one-possession games since becoming FAU’s head coach. FAU has lost four of those games in a row during their six-game losing streak.

Next week: Bye

13. Rice (0-6, 0-4, LW: #13)

Last result: Rice 13 UTSA 14

Rice looked better out of the bye week against the Roadrunners but still lack any consistency on offense. A missed field goal to win the game is a devastating blow to an already forgetful season for David Bailiff.

Next week: vs Prairie View