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. Soon the Power Rankings will be a reflection of a everyone’s final record. We are at the end of the season and wow, has it been a crazy one.
One could argue that this has been the best C-USA has looked since this version of the conference formed in 2014. At worst, we will see nine teams representing C-USA come bowl season, the most ever for the conference. With FAU receiving Top 25 votes, the C-USA Championship Game could feature a ranked team for the first time since 2011 when No. 6 Houston faced No. 24 Southern Miss. It’s been a widely successful season for C-USA in terms of viability and exposure, and hopefully the positive momentum translates to a strong finish in the postseason.
1. FAU (8-3, 7-0, Last Week: #1)
In a wet FAU Stadium, the Owls made history with an emphatic win over FIU as the Owls will play and host the Conference USA Championship Game for the first time in school history. Revenge will be on the minds of FAU players this week as the Owls will travel to Charlotte and play the 49ers. Last year Charlotte defeated FAU on a Hail Mary. With a win, FAU will break the record for most wins in school history.
2. North Texas (8-3, 6-1, LW: #2)
The comeback kids in Denton did it again as Mason Fine engineered another game-winning drive, as Trevor Moore’s game-winning 39-yard field goal avenged UNT’s bowl loss to Army. But with Jeffery Wilson appearing to be out with a foot injury for the C-USA Championship Game and Jalen Guyton in concussion protocol, UNT will be a big underdog against an FAU team that crushed them 69-31 when they were at full strength. This week’s game against Rice will give some much needed reps for players like Nick Smith who will be asked to do a lot on the big stage in two weeks.
3. UAB (7-4, 5-2, LW: #3)
The offense gave the Blazers nothing in The Swamp. I’m sure we’ll see a much better performance from UAB on what will be an emotional senior day against UTEP.
4. Southern Miss (7-4, 5-2, LW: #6)
A revenge beatdown was delivered to Charlotte and now Southern Miss will go on the road to take on an old rival foe in Marshall.
5. FIU (6-4, 4-3, LW: #5)
No Thomas Owens and FIU was still able to hang in the Shula Bowl till the fourth quarter. I’m sure it’s tough to see FAU get all the glory this season despite having their own turnaround season, but Butch Davis and the Panthers should enter this week with their chin up. Snapping WKU’s four game winning streak in the series this Saturday would give FIU their first winning record during conference play as a member of C-USA.
6. Marshall (7-4, 4-3, LW: #4)
The natives are restless again at Marshall as the Herd scored a measly seven points in their loss to UTSA. While Doc Holliday should be safe, he’ll likely need to find a new offensive coordinator as Bill Legg has just about worn out his stay in Huntington.
7. WKU (6-5, 4-3, LW: #8)
Mike White entered the season as the best quarterback in the conference and he has certainly proved it during conference play. It’s not where they want to be, but I doubt we’ll see too many Hilltoppers complaining right now as WKU will go to their 7th straight bowl game this year.
8. UTSA (6-4, 3-4, LW: #10)
It wasn’t pretty by any means, but the Roadrunners will be going to their second straight bowl game. Considering that just two years ago UTSA was one of the worst teams in the country, it’s a testament to how fast Frank Wilson has developed the program for a second straight bowl game to be seen as a disappointment. Defeating La Tech will not only prevent a conference foe from reaching a bowl game, it’ll also surpass last year’s win total.
9. Middle Tennessee (5-6, 3-4, LW: #7)
If another gut-wrenching loss to WKU wasn’t bad enough, MTSU players have been getting into it with fans and telling them to not show up to games. The state of the program is in complete disarray right now in what’s already been a trying season. MTSU has never been to three straight bowl games and this senior class has a chance to be the first ones to do it when they host ODU. Will they be able to block out the noise and make history?
10. Old Dominion (5-6, 3-4, LW: #9)
Let me be the first to say that Steven Williams will make an appearance on an All C-USA Team before his career ends. His game-winning touchdown run against Rice kept ODU’s bowl hopes alive as the Monarchs will take a three-game winning streak to Murfreesboro.
11. Louisiana Tech (5-6, 3-4, LW: #11)
Beat UTSA and this transition season under Skip Holtz could be seen as nothing more than a bump in the road in what’s been one of the best eras of La Tech football. Lose, and Holtz will have to take a long look in the mirror and evaluate the state of the program in a C-USA that’s only getting better.
12. Rice (1-10, 1-6, LW: #13)
David Bailiff’s team didn’t quit on him down the stretch despite being out of bowl contention for some time. That’s a sign of a coach who is well respected in the locker room and I’m glad Rice did right by him in not firing him during the season.
13. Charlotte (1-10, 1-6, LW: #12)
It’s been a long season for the 49ers. With the best team in the conference coming to town we’ll see if Charlotte has any fight in them to send their seniors out right.
14. UTEP (0-11, 0-7, LW: 14)
A winless season for a Texas school should never happen no matter where they are located, but it’s going to happen to UTEP and it’s a shame.