From our editor-in-chief, last week:
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. This week’s rankings are a result of evaluating body of work. Even with a few upsets last week, it’s tough to vault teams up when the separation from the top of the conference to the middle of the conference is pretty wide.
This will hold true as we take a look back at Week 11, and realize that with the exception of one outstanding team at the top of this year, C-USA really can get feisty. Maybe that’s why we love it so much.
1) UAB (9-1, 7-0, Last Week: #1)
Who else could it be? Sure. they needed overtime to dispatch a feisty Southern Miss, but Tyler Johnston III put up 207 passing yards, and in spite of his three interceptions, the defense was magnificent, holding USM to FIVE (5) rushing yards. It’s a shame they had to go and schedule Texas A&M late in the season.
2) MTSU (7-3, 6-1, Last Week: #5)
North Texas had a bad week, so the runner-up slot fell to either the Blue Raiders or the Golden Panthers. Well guess what, Brent Stockstill threw for 352 yards and the offense scored double-digit points in three out of four quarters. Thank u, next.
3) FIU (7-3, 5-1, Last Week: #3)
Holding steady at #3, the Golden Panthers took all day to wake up against a DOA Roadrunner squad. James Morgan threw for 291 yards but the running game stumbled to an underwhelming 149 yards. No one scored in the first quarter. Good, but not Blue Raider good.
4) La Tech (7-3, 5-1, Last Week: #4)
The Bulldogs smacked down Rice this week, but by “only” 15 points against the worst team in the conference. Unlike in the AP poll, that doesn’t allow you to move up in our highly scientific Power Rankings (tm).
5) Marshall (6-3, 4-2, Last Week: #6)
Not really impressive numbers over Charlotte, but at least they won by a lot. This is shaping up to be a perfectly adequate season for the Thundering Herd, with a bowl game in their future but no shot at the division. They can spice things up in two weeks against FIU, but more likely they’ll hang around the middle.
6) Southern Miss (4-5, 3-3, Last Week: #9)
The highest-rated team that lost last week, Southern Miss took #1 UAB into overtime, and this after definitively losing to UNT (a team UAB thoroughly destroyed). A great showing and a sign of hope in Hattiesburg, they have to be looking forward to Louisiana Tech next week.
7) Old Dominion (3-7, 2-5, Last Week: #10)
Did North Texas blow a 28-point lead, or did Old Dominion just circle the wagons? Whatever the reason, the Monarchs beat a team with a winning record for the first time since Sept. 22. Blake LaRussa has been inhuman, even winning the QB battle against Mason Fine, 301-240. Unfortunately, the rest of the team has struggled, as the Monarchs managed just 58 rushing yards.
8) FAU (5-5, 3-3, Last Week: #8)
The Owls got the job done and put up some impressive yardage against the empty hollow shell that used to be WKU. If they want to get that bowl game, they have to beat North Texas next week, which is suddenly getting a lot easier.
9) UTEP (1-9, 1-5, Last Week: #12)
Shout-out to the Miners who scored 32 on MTSU, and never mind that 22 points of that was in garbage time. Having a new head coach for the first time in a half-decade has made visible improvements, as Quardraiz Wadley ran for 99 yards and two TD’s. This week, they’re clearly better than the sad sacks below them on this list.
10) North Texas (7-3, 3-3, Last Week: #2)
The Mean Green blew a 28-point lead.
11) Charlotte (4-6, 3-3, Last Week: #7)
After a high showing last week, the 49ers looked thoroughly outmatched by a middle-of-the-road Marshall squad. You’d almost cross your fingers and convince yourself this team could make a bowl, until you see their last two games are FIU and FAU. The 49ers continue to move in the right direction, albeit in extreme slow motion.
12) UTSA (3-7, 2-4, Last Week: #11)
I don’t know how to tell you this, Roadrunners, but ... I don’t think you’re going to make a bowl game this year. You got blown out at home 45-7 against a program barely older than you are. Hey, at least you can hate-watch the North Texas game in a couple weeks. Heck, the way things are going, you might even win.
13) WKU (1-9, 0-6, Last Week: #13)
Holding steady this week at #13 is Whatever Happened to the Hilltoppers. This is baffling. This is like if Nick Saban retired and his replacement immediately went, well, 1-9. At least they didn’t lose to UTEP, but rest assured, they get that chance next week, and a chance to finally break out of the #13 spot... possibly by moving down one.
14) Rice (1-10, 0-7, Last Week: #14)
The Owls lone win is to an FCS squad and they were UTEP’s first win since 2016. But hey, they scored a touchdown against La Tech in the 3rd quarter, so that’s something. No depth, no prospects, no hope, and they play #7 LSU next week. Don’t watch.