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Conference USA Power Rankings Week 13: Western Kentucky Is Back At The Top

Western Kentucky regains the top spot just in time for the C-USA Championship Game rematch with Louisiana Tech.

NCAA Football: Rice at Western Kentucky Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports

1. Western Kentucky (9-3, 7-1, Last Week: #2)

2. Louisiana Tech (8-4, 6-2, LW: #1)

Not much to say other than Western Kentucky looked like the best team in C-USA last week after giving Marshall their worst home loss in school history. Tech losing to Southern Miss for the second year in a row took some energy out of this conference championship rematch but it should still be an exciting affair.

3. Old Dominion (9-3, 7-1, LW: #3)

Last result: Old Dominion 42 FIU 28

Old Dominion capped off their best season in C-USA with a gritty win over FIU. Bobby Wilder made a fuss over being picked to finish sixth in C-USA East and it turns out he was right. Will the media make amends by awarding him the C-USA Coach of the Year award?

4. UTSA (6-6, 5-3, LW: #4)

Last result: UTSA 33 Charlotte 14

After winning just three games last year Frank Wilson capped off the turnaround season by clinching UTSA’s first bowl bid ever in the Alamodome. The defense held the best rushing offense in C-USA to EIGHT rushing yards. UTSA was the most physical team in C-USA this year and on Saturday it showed.

5. Middle Tennessee (8-4, 5-3, LW: #5)

Last result: Middle Tennessee 77 FAU 56

I thought about putting MTSU over UTSA but the Roadrunners’ win in Murfreesboro was resounding enough for me to keep the Blue Raiders here. When Brent Stockstill went down it would have been easy for MTSU to throw in the towel but they didn’t. Kudos to the elder Stockstill for keeping the team together. They didn’t win C-USA East liked the media predicted but they finished off the season dominating FAU as they usually do with a record breaking performance on offense.

6. Southern Miss (6-6, 4-4, LW: #7)

Last result: Southern Miss 39 Louisiana Tech 24

Nick Mullens has been the face of Southern Miss for four years through the rebuilding years of their 0-12 debacle and on senior day with the season on the line he played the best game of his career. Mullens went 29-33 for 342 yards and three touchdowns with zero turnovers. It was the best the Golden Eagles looked all season since the opener against Kentucky. It was a disappointing year in Hattiesburg but a season ending win over Tech to ensure a bowl bid is a nice consolation prize.

7. North Texas (5-7, 3-5, LW: #6)

Last result: North Texas 24 UTEP 52

Maybe I was a bit overzealous in thinking the Mean Green could dominate UTEP on the road to secure bowl eligibility. Mason Fine and Jefferey Wilson missed their second straight game but the issue was their run defense. Due to APR scores the Mean Green will still go bowling. The loss to UTEP is a downer but the folks in Denton should be encouraged about the future regardless of how their bowl game plays out.

8. FIU (4-8, 4-4, LW: #8)

Last result: FIU 28 Old Dominion 42

The Panthers were just out-talented and devoid of depth down the stretch against ODU. That shouldn’t be an issue down the road with Butch Davis in Miami. Interim head coach Ron Cooper did a great job of getting the most out of the Panthers as the season could have been much worse.

9. Charlotte (4-8, 3-5, LW: #9)

Last result: Charlotte 14 UTSA 33

The three-game losing streak to close the season is definitely a downer but the 49ers have proven that they are no longer a pushover and an automatic W going into next year. If not for the late season fade Brad Lambert would have easily won C-USA Coach of the Year.

10. Marshall (3-9, 2-6, LW: #10)

Last result: Marshall 6 Western Kentucky 60

Marshall concluded one of their worst seasons in school history with their worst home loss in school history. Doc Holliday is 0-3 against WKU and after such a poor season one has to wonder about where does Marshall stand in the pecking order of C-USA in the coming years.

11. FAU (3-9, 2-6, LW: #11)

Last result: FAU 56 Middle Tennessee 77

Three straight 3-9 seasons meant it was time for FAU to let Charlie Partridge go. The season ended with the worst defensive performance in FAU history.

12. Rice (3-9, 2-6, LW: #12)

Last result: Rice 17 Stanford 41

Rice looked better towards the end of the year and with a recruiting class that ranks near the top of C-USA David Bailiff could be back in Houston next year.

13. UTEP (4-8, 2-6, LW: #13)

Last result: UTEP 52 North Texas 24

Sean Kugler gets a much needed win to close the season. Aaron Jones ran for a career high 301 yards and four touchdowns to put a would-be bow on a fantastic career as a Miner should he decide to go pro.