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Conference USA Power Rankings: Week 2

A lot of movement for the wrong reasons.

UAB Blazers v Arkansas Razorbacks Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

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, everyone is bad. Well, almost everyone. If you search for 130-team college football rankings at least half the conference is ranked 100th or worse. Another week where there’s movement for the wrong reasons.

1. North Texas (2-0, Last week: #1)

The Mean Green made quick work of Incarnate Word and now have their sights set on getting their first win over a Power Five school during Seth Littrell’s tenure. The Mean Green will play Arkansas this Saturday. A few UDD staff members thought this was the most likely P5 win for C-USA so expectations in C-USA circles are high, especially after the Razorbacks lost on the road to Colorado State last week.

2. FAU (1-1, LW: #2)

The offense looked much better after the Oklahoma debacle. Chris Robison set a new school record for most passing yards in a single game as he threw for 471 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Air Force. Special teams remains a concern as FAU had a punt blocked and returned for a touchdown for the second straight week. The Owls take on FCS team Bethune Cookman before heading to Orlando for a showdown against UCF.

3. Marshall (2-0, LW: #3)

The Herd had a ho-hum victory over Eastern Kentucky and will take on South Carolina in Columbia this weekend. We’ll get a true assessment of Isaiah Green’s skills as the QB as the Herd will need him to be consistent to pull off the upset.

4. Louisiana Tech (2-0, LW: #5)

The Bulldogs took down Southern easily, as J’Mar Smith had a tremendous day with 380 passing yards and two touchdowns. Skip Holtz will have two weeks to get Tech ready for a huge road game against LSU.

5. FIU (1-1, LW: #6)

FIU outscored Old Dominion 28-3 after trailing 17-0 in the second quarter to win their second straight conference opener under Butch Davis. This was a resilient and program-defining win for the Panthers as they not only had to deal with the recent tragedy of their teammates being left home after being shot, but they also had to battle through a two hour weather delay on the road. While James Morgan looks to have secured the job after passing for 251 yards and three touchdowns, it was FIU’s defense that really won the game.

6. Middle Tennessee (1-1, LW: #8)

The Blue Raiders got back on track against FCS team UT Martin as Brent Stockstill passed for five touchdowns and 396 yards. MTSU did allow a concerning 37 points though. MTSU moves up this week because they didn’t lose to a Sun Belt team.

7. UAB (1-1, LW: #4)

On to the teams that did. After leading Coastal Carolina 21-7 early in the second quarter behind Kendall Parham’s miraculous 64-yard touchdown run, I thought the Blazers were going to route Coastal. Wrong. The Blazers were outscored 30-3 down the stretch and lost 47-24 on the road. AJ Erderly struggled, going 12-of-26 for 149 yards and an interception. The Blazers defense really struggled to stop the run as they allowed Coastal to rush for 296 yards for five touchdowns with 6.9 yards per carry. The Blazers take on rival Tulane at home next, an option offense that is sure to test UAB’s run defense.

8. Southern Miss (1-1, LW: #7)

Against one of the worst defenses in the country last year, Southern Miss scored a measly 20 points in a one-point home loss to ULM. The Golden Eagles had no business losing this game as they out-gained ULM 436-354, had 10 more first downs and less penalties. Unfortunately, USM had four turnovers courtesy of two Jack Abraham interceptions and two Abraham fumbles. USM couldn’t run the ball either, averaging 1.7 yards per rush on 34 carries.

9. UTSA (0-2, LW: #10)

The Roadrunners put up a valiant effort against Baylor in a 37-20 home loss. The offense looks like it’ll be in good shape entering conference play as receiver Greg Campbell Jr. is a playmaker while B.J. Daniels and Jalen Rhodes should pose as a dangerous combo on the ground. UTSA will take on one more P5 opponent before the schedule eases up as they head to Kansas State this week.

10. Old Dominion (0-2, LW: #11)

The Monarchs entered the locker room with a lead during a two hour weather delay. Once they came back onto the field the wheels came off. The offense just couldn’t get going. Jonathan Duhart had some big plays, but against a struggling secondary Steven Williams (and Blake LaRussa) just couldn’t find consistency. The rushing offense is also a concern as Jeremy Cox has been bottled up this season. A road trip to Charlotte is up next.

11. Rice (1-2, LW: #13)

Rice put up a tough fight on the road against Hawaii as they lost 43-29. Emmanuel Esukpa rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown while Shawn Stankavage passed for 299 yards and a touchdown. Despite the loss, Rice is making a push to be one of the most improved teams in C-USA this year.

12. Charlotte (1-1, LW: #12)

The 49ers were outclassed in every way against App State as they gained 203 total yards and allowed 434 yards in the 45-9 loss. A struggling Old Dominion team comes to town in what’ll be one of Charlotte’s best chances for a win going forward.

13. WKU (0-2, LW: #9)

The Tops had the worst loss of the weekend as they fell to Maine 31-28 at home. Once again, their rushing attack was abysmal as they failed to rush for 100 yards against an FCS team. I expected WKU to struggle this season, but I was thinking along the lines of four or five wins. The Tops could very well win two games this year.

14. UTEP (0-2, LW: #14)

Kai Locksley rushed for 119 yards and two touchdowns in a 52-24 loss to UNLV. The Miners looked to be in it for the long haul before being outscored 28-0 in the second quarter.