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, nothing has really changed as there is only movement near the bottom this week.
1. UTSA (3-0, Last Week: #1)
The Roadrunners are living up to the preseason expectations handed down by their fan base and then some, as they dominated Texas State 44-14. UTSA is one of six Group of Five teams that are still undefeated. Their reward? A bye week before hosting Southern Miss to begin conference play.
2. Louisiana Tech (2-2, 1-0, LW: #2)
La Tech should have defeated South Carolina but they couldn’t close the deal. The offense has looked better and the defense should still be among the better units in C-USA. But still, Tech fans are going to be thinking about this loss for some time.
3. Middle Tennessee (2-2, LW: #3)
No Brent Stockstill, no Richie James, no problem. MTSU was able to get by Bowling Green without their two best players and found out they can run the ball in the process, as wide receiver-now running back Jocquez Bruce, and Brad Anderson, each rushed for over 100 yards. I expect the Blue Raiders to be locked in for their conference opener against FAU as Stockstill and James should be back.
4. Southern Miss (2-1, LW: #4)
The Golden Eagles were on a bye week and will host an explosive North Texas team.
5. Old Dominion (2-2, LW: #5)
Steven Williams’ first start went as expected as ODU struggled to get the ball to midfield much less pass the 50-yard line. Getting healthy should be the primary focus for the Monarchs as they enter their bye week.
6. Marshall (2-1, LW: #6)
The Herd was on their bye week and will travel to Queen City to play the 2-2 Cincinnati Bearcats this week.
7. WKU (2-2, 0-1, LW: #7)
Things looked very dicey for the Hilltoppers after blowing a 10-point lead to Ball State in the fourth quarter but a clutch scoring drive and a pick six by Joe Brown saved the day. The Tops enter their bye week on a much needed confidence boost.
8. North Texas (2-2, 1-0, LW: #10)
After scoring 30 points in the first half and looking every bit like the North Texas team Seth Littrell envisioned, the defense proceeded to allow 29 second half points to a UAB offense that looked non-existent. But UNT’s special teams saved the day as Evan Johnson’s huge kickoff return paved the way for Trevor Moore'‘s game-winning 22-yard field goal. UNT will be in store for another C-USA West shootout when they take on Southern Miss this week.
9. UAB (2-2, 0-1, LW: #8)
Bill Clark discovered that if the rushing attack gets shut down that he can lean on AJ Erderly’s arm. Erderly had 321 yards and four touchdowns in their comeback attempt against UNT. UAB is going to have to win some shootouts during conference play and last week we learned they are capable of doing just that.
10. FIU (2-1, 1-0 LW: #11)
I’m not too sure what to make of FIU. They defeated Rice on the road 13-7 and looked rather meh in the process as they gained 271 yards against one of the worst defenses in the country. But first place in C-USA East is first place in C-USA East. The Panthers have another opportunity to get things figured out on offense as they host Charlotte this weekend.
11. FAU (1-3, LW: #9)
The headlines made in the offseason aren’t scoring points for FAU now that the games matter. Almost a month into the season and Lane Kiffin still hasn’t settled on a quarterback and Chris Kiffin still hasn’t been able to fix the defense. After an embarrassing loss to Buffalo, I think it’s safe to say a bowl game is off the table in Kiffin’s first season.
12. Rice (1-3, 1-1, LW: #12)
Teams 12-14 should be in search for a new head coach at season’s end. Rice just lost the easiest game left on their remaining schedule and are averaging 12 points per game this season.
13. UTEP (0-4, 0-1, LW: #14)
UTEP’s eight-game winning streak against New Mexico State is over as the Miners suffered yet another blowout loss. Only a matter of time before Sean Kugler is out. Miners only move up because they’ve actually scored some points this year.
14. Charlotte (0-4, LW: #13)
I guess Brad Lambert bought himself no goodwill last year as Charlotte fans are demanding for a new head coach after a 28-0 home loss to Georgia State. The 49ers have scored only 14 points in three games against FBS competition this season.