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Conference USA Power Rankings Week 10: What happened to Southern Miss?

Southern Miss is trending down in this week’s power rankings.

NCAA Football: Charlotte at Southern Mississippi Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

1. Western Kentucky (7-3, 5-1, Last Week: #1)

Last result: Western Kentucky 49 FIU 21

Just your typical blowout from WKU in Houchens Stadium. After three quarters the score was 49-7. The Tops are now on a four-game winning streak for the third straight year under Jeff Brohm. Ever since the double-overtime win against Middle Tennessee, WKU has outscored their opponents 160-48.

I know Tech has the tiebreaker over WKU and beat them head-to-head but I just think WKU is the better team right now and see them winning the rematch should they meet again. The Hilltoppers have played the tougher schedule and had to go to Ruston and Murfreesboro in order to be at the top and rank 25th in S&P+. La Tech is ranked 38th.

Next week: vs North Texas

2. Louisiana Tech (7-3, 5-1, LW: #2)

Last result: Louisiana Tech 45 North Texas 24

I knew Ryan Higgins was going to have a big day in his home state (4 touchdown passes) but I didn’t see Tech’s rushing attack coming alive. Jarred Craft rushing for 120 yards is the only missing dimension from Tech’s offense and should that become the norm down the stretch it will be tough to hold them under 40 points. The win over UNT makes it six straight for Tech and during the winning streak only one of the those teams have scored over 28 points.

Next week: vs UTSA

3. Old Dominion (6-3, 4-1, LW: #5)

Last result: Old Dominion 38 Marshall 14

Old Dominion held Marshall to 214 yards on offense and didn’t allow Chase Litton or backup Garet Morrell to pass for over 100 yards. With the win Old Dominion has now become bowl eligible and will go bowling for the first time in school history. If ODU wins out they are one WKU loss away from winning C-USA East.

Next week: vs Southern Miss

4. UTSA (5-4, 4-2, LW: #6)

Last result: UTSA 45 Middle Tennessee 25

I thought UTSA would turn heads with Frank Wilson as the head coach but I was thinking in two years that would be the case. Not now. As a 20-point underdog UTSA was able upset MTSU on the road due to the trio of Dalton Sturm, Jarveon Williams, and Jalen Rhodes as they combined for 239 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns.

The Roadrunners are a win away from bowl eligibility and are one game behind Louisiana Tech for first place in C-USA West. A road trip to Ruston awaits the Roadrunners this week with C-USA West on the line.

Next week: at Louisiana Tech

5. Middle Tennessee (6-3, 4-2, LW: #3)

Last result: Middle Tennessee 25 UTSA 45

The defense has been an issue for MTSU all season and last week they were the issue once again as the Blue Raiders can kiss any chance of a C-USA East title goodbye due to their performance. Right now the biggest concern in Murfreesboro is the quarterback position as Brent Stockstill has a broken collarbone and will be out for the rest of the regular season.

The Backup is freshman John Urzua and against UTSA he looked like, well a freshman. With preparation it will be interesting to see how Urzua looks as two road trips loom for the Blue Raiders. A once special season now looks to be on the rocks.

Next week: Marshall

6. Southern Miss (5-4, 3-2, LW: #4)

Last result: Southern Miss 14 Charlotte 38

In last week’s power rankings I hinted that something seemed off in Hattiesburg after their lackluster 24-14 win over Marshall. The offense isn’t as dynamic as they were last year despite returning a ton of production off of a team that won C-USA West. Last week at home against FBS-newbie Charlotte the dam broke. The secret is out, Southern Miss isn’t the same team that we saw under Todd Monken.

Nick Mullens threw for 38 touchdowns and 10 interceptions last year. So far this year he’s thrown 19 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. His regression has been key yo USM’s disappointing season. Turnovers have plagued the offense all season and against Charlotte they committed three in the lopsided affair. Southern Miss can still win the West but now must win out and hope UTSA loses a game.

Next week: at Old Dominion

7. Charlotte (4-5, 3-2, LW: #9)

Last result: Charlotte 38 Southern Miss 14

This season has been a hello world of sorts for Brad Lambert’s 49ers. After defeating the league’s biggest brand in Marshall on the road, the 49ers one-upped that landmark win by going on the road and beating C-USA’s flagship school and preseason C-USA West favorite Southern Miss.

The switch to Hasaan Klugh at quarterback has done wonders for the Charlotte offense as they have scored over 21 points in each game he’s started (before their highest point total against FBS teams was 20). The 49ers have three games left against Rice, Middle Tennessee and a road game against UTSA. A bowl game is within grasp.

8. North Texas (4-5, 2-3, LW: #7)

Last result: North Texas 24 Louisiana Tech 45

The Mean Green are running out of chances to get to a bowl game. Once again the rushing attack couldn’t get going as Jefferey Wilson was held to 66 yards on 15 carries and the offense struggled. The offense hasn’t look great since their home win against Marshall.

Next week: at Western Kentucky

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

Last result: 21 Western Kentucky 49

Alex McGough missed this one due to an injury and the offense struggled as a result. Freshman Maurice Alexander tossed two interceptions in his first career start. The loss officially eliminates FIU from bowl contention but here’s some good news for Panther fans: Butch Davis is the front runner to be your next head coach.

Next week: Bye

10. UTEP (3-6, 1-4, LW: #10)

Last result: UTEP 42 Houston-Baptist 10

Aaron Jones ran for 228 yards and two touchdowns. Ryan Metz passed for 191 yards and three touchdowns. The Miners continue their slim hopes of a bowl bid alive but last week’s performance didn’t convince they’ll be able to win out.

Next week: at FAU

11. Marshall (2-7, 1-4, LW: #11)

Last result: Marshall 14 Old Dominion 38

The season from hell continues for Marshall fans. With Middle Tennessee and WKU still on the schedule as well as a road trip to FIU, Marshall could finish the season with two wins for the first time since 1981.

Next week: vs Middle Tennessee

12. FAU (2-7, 1-4, LW: #13)

Last result: FAU 45 Rice 25

FAU was able to rise of the bottom by going on the road and defeating Rice. For a week FAU was able to play to their potential as freshman Devin Singletary earn C-USA Offensive Player of the Week with 252 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

Next week: vs UTEP

13. Rice (1-8, 0-5, LW: #12)

Last result: Rice 25 FAU 45

There’s nothing really left to say about Rice. They lack size, speed, and talent. They are the worst team in Conference USA by a wide margin.