1. Louisiana Tech (8-3, 6-1, Last Week: #1)
2. Western Kentucky (8-3, 6-1, LW: #2)
Both teams enter rivalry week fresh off a bye with a road game on deck against the two most disappointing teams in the conference in Southern Miss and Marshall respectively. Both should win easily to setup a rematch for the championship. Only one has clinched their division though. With a win La Tech guarantees the game will be played in Shreveport. If the Bulldogs lose and WKU wins they will have to go to Bowling Green. If La Tech and WKU both lose but Old Dominion wins La Tech will have to go to Norfolk, Virginia, to play Old Dominion.
3. Old Dominion (8-3, 6-1, LW: #3)
Last result: Old Dominion 42 FAU 24
After being picked to finish sixth in C-USA East by the media, ODU can finish no worst than second and has a slim chance to win the division outright. It’s been quite a season by the Monarchs as Bobby Wilder should get heavy consideration for the C-USA Coach of the Year award. I don’t think the Monarchs are on the same level as WKU and La Tech but they have certainly separated themselves from the rest of C-USA.
Next week: vs FIU
4. UTSA (5-6, 4-4, LW: #4)
Last result: UTSA 10 Texas A&M 23
After a tough game against A&M the season will come down to a home game against Charlotte to reach their first ever bowl game. I think any UTSA fan would have taken that scenario in the preseason. However, with Dalton Sturm struggling down the stretch and Jared Johnson getting some playing time last week, the quarterback position will be a question mark in a win or go home game.
Next week: vs Charlotte
5. Middle Tennessee (7-4, 5-3, LW: #5)
Last result: Middle Tennessee 38 Charlotte 31
The Blue Raiders continued Charlotte’s home woes thanks to a Ty Lee 61-yard touchdown run in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. The win keeps the season from going down the toilet completely and still gives MTSU an opportunity to win nine games for the first time since 2009 when they won 10 games.
Next week: vs FAU
6. North Texas (5-6, 3-4, LW: #8)
Last result: North Texas 29 Southern Miss 23
For the first time since the beginning of the season the North Texas passing attack looked good. Senior Alec Morris got the start in place of an injured Mason Fine and went 14-29 for 267 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. The offense still hummed on the ground without star running back Jeffrey Wilson as Willy Ivery rushed for 111 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. The win kept UNT’s bowl hopes alive in what’s been a successful first-year for Seth Littrell.
Next week: at UTEP
7. Southern Miss (5-6, 3-4, LW: #6)
Last result: Southern Miss 23 North Texas 29
Facing North Texas without their starting quarterback and running back the Golden Eagles defense allowed 17 points in the first quarter. They forced three turnovers which would have been good if the offense didn’t turn the ball over four times. The most disappointing team in the league will close the season against a hot La Tech team looking to avenge last year’s lost.
8. FIU (4-7, 4-3, LW: #11)
Last result: FIU 31 Marshall 14
Alex Gardner and Anthony Jones combined for 240 rushing yards and three touchdowns. The future is bright for FIU as Butch Jones will inherit one of the best rushing duos in the country should they both come back for their senior year.
Next week: at Old Dominion
9. Charlotte (4-7, 3-4, LW: #7)
Last result: Charlotte 31 Middle Tennessee 38
Although the season will conclude this Saturday there is no doubt that this year is a resounding success for the Charlotte football program. However, in the offseason they will be kicking themselves for going 1-5 at home this year.
Next week: at UTSA
10. Marshall (3-8, 2-5, LW: #9)
Last result: Marshall 14 FIU 31
A win over WKU to keep them from winning two straight conference championships is the only thing that can salvage this season.
Next week: vs Western Kentucky
11. FAU (3-8, 2-5, LW: #10)
Last result: FAU 24 Old Dominion 42
The two-game winning streak comes to an end in abrupt fashion as the Owls couldn’t stop ODU’s offense. As great as the string of wins were, the reality is FAU has not been a good football team and will now try to avoid a third straight season in which they finish 3-9 against a team they have lost eight straight games to.
Next week: at Middle Tennessee
12. Rice (3-8, 2-6, LW: #13)
Last result: Rice 44 UTEP 24
The Owls had their best game of the year against UTEP and have now won two games in a row. The late season winning streak may have saved Bailiff’s job.
Next week: at Stanford
13. UTEP (3-8, 1-6, LW: #12)
Last result: UTEP 24 Rice 44
Playing spoiler to North Texas is not exactly what UTEP fans had in mind. A loss to a Texas rival could be the end of the Sean Kugler era in El Paso.
Next week: vs North Texas