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, Conference USA West is looking to be the better division between the two despite the fact that the two worst teams in the conference reside in their division. UAB, Louisiana Tech and North Texas look like the best teams in the conference and my rankings reflect that for the second straight week.
1. UAB (5-1, 3-0, Last Week: #1)
The Blazers dominated Rice 42-0. Nothing much to see here other than the fact that the defense remains amazing. AJ Erdely and Xavier Ubosi developed some great chemistry in this one as they connected for 196 yards and two touchdowns. That type of production will be needed in UAB’s next game as the Blazers will host North Texas in what might just be the biggest home game in UAB history.
2. Louisiana Tech (4-2, 2-1, LW: #2)
A great bounce-back win for La Tech as they took are of business on the road against UTSA. The running game still struggled as the Bulldogs rushed for 75 yards against a tough defense but good J’Mar Smith showed up, as he passed for 309 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
3. North Texas (6-1, 2-1, LW: #3)
North Texas continues to win due to how great their defense is, as they shutdown Southern Miss for a home win. Senior linebacker E.J. Ejiya was all over the place, with two sacks and three TFLs. Eijya has been terrific this season and will play a huge part in North Texas’ ability to contain UAB’s rushing attack next week.
North Texas linebacker E.J. Ejiya (@dos_Hendrix) might be the most underrated player in the state of Texas. His stat line after seven games: 63 tackles, 14.0 TFLs, 6.5 sacks, 7 QB hurries. #GMG— Shehan Jeyarajah (@ShehanJeyarajah) October 14, 2018
4. FIU (4-2, 2-0, LW: #6)
Best team in the East? Maybe. The Panthers took down MTSU 24-21 and is now the only undefeated team in C-USA East. James Morgan had his best game of the season, going 27-of-36 for 311 yards and two touchdowns. The Panthers did catch a break against MTSU though as they struggled for a large part of the game and were able to come back against a MTSU team that didn’t have Brent Stockstill, as he left the game due to injury.
5. Middle Tennessee (3-3, 2-1, LW: #4)
Leading 24-13 entering the fourth quarter, MTSU was 15 minutes away from having a commanding two-game lead over division rivals for the division title. Losing Brent Stockstill hurts, as his status remains unclear going forward. Losing Brad Anderson also hurts, as he was carted off the field and may be done for the season. MTSU has been resilient up to this point, but they will need to overcome more adversity against a surging Charlotte team this weekend.
6. Marshall (4-2, 2-1, LW: #5)
Tyler King had yet another career day as he rushed for a career-high 195 yards and two touchdowns against Old Dominion. Backup tailback Anthony Anderson also had a big day as he rushed for 91 yards and three touchdowns. Seeing Alex Thomson and Tyre Brady get on the same page for 103 yards is also a promising sign. A huge home game against FAU awaits, as the loser is likely out of the hunt for the division.
7. FAU (3-3, 1-1, LW: #7)
Two weeks to prepare for the biggest game of the season as the Lane Train will head to Marshall with a chance to earn their first ever win at The Joan.
8. Southern Miss (2-3, 1-1, LW: #8)
The Golden Eagles lost 30-7 to North Texas. The defense actually played well enough to win but eventually they were worn down due to the offense being unable to stay on the field. If the game against App didn’t get cancelled, the Golden Eagles are likely 2-4 with Jay Hopson facing a lot of pressure to move on from OC Shannon Dawson.
9. Charlotte (3-3, 2-1, LW: #12)
Every time we write off Charlotte, Brad Lambert finds a way to battle back. The 49ers picked up a huge 40-14 win over WKU. The 26-point victory was Charlotte’s largest margin of victory as a member of Conference USA.
10. UTSA (3-4, 2-1, LW: #9)
The offense was 3-of-12 on third down, had two turnovers and rushed for 85 yards. Like USM, the defense played good enough to win but was just eventually worn down. UTSA and USM will play this weekend in a battle of great defenses and bad offenses.
11. Old Dominion (1-6, 0-4, LW: #10)
Allowing Marshall to rush for over 300 yards just isn’t going to cut it. ODU’s win over Virginia Tech looks more confusing by the week.
12. WKU (1-5, 0-2, LW: #11)
Rock bottom? Getting blown out by Charlotte was surprising. But is it more surprising than losing to Maine? Not sure what to make of the Tops going forward.
13. Rice (1-6, 0-3, LW: #13)
Rice has lost six straight and will now have back-to-back road games against FIU and North Texas. They have the worst scoring offense in C-USA.
14. UTEP (0-6, 0-2, LW: #14)
The Miners had a bye week and will take on La Tech in Ruston hoping to snap an 18-game losing streak.