The Conference USA Power Rankings are never a prediction for how things will end up, but rather a snapshot of how teams look at the moment. At the moment, the pecking order for the conference looks to be pretty set. C-USA East teams are near the middle or at the bottom. While C-USA West teams are mainly at the top.
1. North Texas (4-2, 3-0, Last Week: #1)
The Mean Green defeated UTSA in a classic that is sure to go down as one of the most memorable games in UNT history. We’ll see how well UNT can handle the moment though. With wins over UAB, Southern Miss, and UTSA, North Texas can really put a strangle hold on the division with a road win over FAU this Saturday (should La Tech lose this Saturday, of course). Given the emotional high of last week’s win, and a road trip to Boca Raton, this is a tricky spot for the Mean Green. Focus needs to be at a premium this week.
2. Marshall (5-1, 2-0, LW: #2)
Marshall had another tremendous day on defense as they forced two turnovers and made ODU punt the ball eight times in their 35-3 win. The Herd are allowing their opponents to score 15 points per game. I’d say that’s pretty good. It took a while for the offense to wake up, but when they did Chase Litton delivered as usual. Still not sure just how good the offense is, but there’s no denying that Marshall has one of the best defenses in the country.
3. Southern Miss (4-2, 2-1, LW: #3)
The Golden Eagles had a ho-hum 24-0 victory over UTEP. They didn’t look all that impressive on offense as Keon Howard struggled for the majority of the game, passing for 167 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. We might see Kwadra Griggs return if healthy. The Rivalry in Dixie is up next for USM as they look to extend their winning streak to three games over La Tech.
4. UAB (4-2, 2-1, LW: #5)
What more can we say about the Blazers? UAB’s record in one-possession games is now 3-1 after their 25-23 victory over Middle Tennessee. Spencer Brown had another great game, rushing for 167 yards and one touchdown as the Blazers are now 4-0 at home this season. UAB might want to start contract negotiations with Bill Clark as he’s sure to become a coach in high demand once the season ends.
5. UTSA (3-2, 0-2, LW: #4)
Questionable coaching down the stretch against North Texas and untimely injuries against Southern Miss has the Roadrunners at the bottom of the C-USA standings. I don’t think even the biggest UTSA hater would have truly believed an 0-2 start to conference play was feasible after how good the Roadrunners looked during non-conference play. Chalk it up to the depth of the league. UTSA’s goal of winning the division looks toast, but a great season can still be achieved and it starts with taking on the abysmal Rice Owls.
6. Louisiana Tech (3-3, 1-1, LW: #6)
Louisiana Tech comes off their bye week to host Southern Miss in what looks to be an elimination game for C-USA West.
7. FAU (3-3, 2-0, LW: #7)
The Owls were on a bye week and will host North Texas, the hottest team in the conference. It’ll be the biggest conference game in FAU Stadium history.
8. WKU (4-2, 2-1, LW: #9)
The Hilltoppers finally awoke from their slumber against Charlotte as WKU scored 38 points in the first half en route to a 45-14 victory. It was the most points WKU scored all season. Against one of the worst teams in the conference, WKU looked like the WKU of old. We’ll see if the Tops can build off this performance as they take on a struggling Old Dominion team in Norfolk.
9. Middle Tennessee (3-4, 1-2, LW: #8)
Richie James returned but it wasn’t enough to ignite the offense. Against UAB, James touched the ball 10 times for 63 yards. Not bad, but MTSU needs more from him as long as Brent Stockstill is out. Overall, the Blue Raiders turned in another solid performance defensively but just could not stop UAB’s rushing attack when it mattered most. Middle’s season will be on the line against Marshall.
10. FIU (4-2, 2-1, LW: #11)
Butch Davis has the Panthers two wins from a bowl game as FIU pulled off the slight upset over Tulane. The Panthers are near the bottom of C-USA in scoring offense and are one of the most penalized teams in the conference. How they are two wins away from being bowl eligible is a testament to their defense, as they are allowing 25 points per game. Oh, and Butch Davis getting every ounce of talent and energy out of this team.
11. Old Dominion (2-4, 0-2, LW: #5)
ODU just doesn’t have an offense right now. With Lawry’s return I expected to see a more productive unit, and instead the Monarchs registered only 197 yards of total offense. ODU is in danger of following up their breakthrough 10-win season with a losing record.
12. Rice (1-5, 1-1, LW: #12)
The Owls were on a bye week and will play an angry UTSA team this weekend.
13. Charlotte (0-7, 0-3, LW: #13)
The offense was able to generate some explosive plays but in the end they just couldn’t keep up with WKU. Defense continues to be a major problem. 38 Points allowed in the first half to this WKU team should be upsetting as the Tops had been woeful all season on that side of the ball.
14. UTEP (0-7, 0-3, LW: #14)
For the second straight week UTEP’s offense ends up wasting a good performance by the defense. UTEP’s leading rusher Joshua Fields had 13 yards. Ryan Metz passed for only 67 yards. Yikes.