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Conference USA Power Rankings: Week 9

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 19 Southern Miss at Louisiana Tech Photo by Bobby McDuffie/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

1. Louisiana Tech (7-1, 4-0, Last Week: #1)

J’Mar Smith continued his stellar senior season with arguably his best performance yet as he passed for 338 yards and 3 touchdowns while going 29-of-35 through the air. It was only UTEP, but Tech didn’t let them hang around as they cruised to 42-21 win. Halfway through conference play, the Bulldogs are the odds on favorite to win C-USA West. They have a bye week before closing the season with home games against North Texas and UTSA, and road games at Marshall and UAB.

2. Marshall (5-3, 3-1, LW: #5)

What a hell of a game and incredible win for Marshall. Justin Rohrwasser’s 53-yard field goal to win the game was clutch, especially since he was iced two times and made each one to boot. A win over FAU and WKU has them in the driver’s seat to win the division. Now don’t sleep on a Rice team that has given just about everyone in C-USA a tough game.

3. WKU (5-3, 4-1, LW: #2)

The Tops lost a hard-fought rivalry game to Marshall but I came away impressed with how the team fought back. Entering the fourth quarter they trailed by 10 points and looked toast. However they were a missed-game winning field goal away to pushing it to overtime. A huge home game against FAU awaits as the loser is almost for sure eliminated from winning C-USA East.

4. UAB (6-1, 3-1, LW: #4)

The Blazers were idle and will head to Knoxville to play Tennessee. Are the Blazers really one of the best teams in C-USA? They haven’t beaten any team with a winning record and once they did play someone with a pulse (WKU) they lost. There’s not that many good teams in C-USA though so they will reside near the top of the rankings for now.

5. Southern Miss (5-3, 3-1, LW: #3)

A sleepy win in Houston over Rice was just about what I expected after a deflating loss to La Tech a week prior. The defense was as good as the offense was bad. But a win is a win, and with Tech continuing to show no signs of slowing down, USM must keep pace. Two weeks to prepare for a home game against UAB will set the barometer for whether this season goes down as a success or not.

6. FAU (5-3, 3-1, LW: #6)

The Owls took care of business against a bad Old Dominion team. Unfortunately the injury bug continues to cause havoc on the team as Chris Robison left the game early due to a shoulder injury. Without Robison, I’m not sure FAU can win at WKU.

7. FIU (4-4, 2-3, LW: #7)

From preseason-media darlings to struggling to reach a bowl game, the 2019 FIU Panthers will go down as a team that failed to live up to expectations. The main reason why is because of their inability to stop the run. In a downpour, FIU allowed Middle Tennessee to run for 471 yards. Since the season opener against Tulane, it’s been the same theme all year. These guys just can’t stop the run.

8. Middle Tennessee (3-5, 2-2, LW: #9)

In a game they absolutely had to have, the Blue Raiders delivered by pounding the rock. Terelle West, Asher O’Hara and Jayy McDonald all rushed for over 100 yards in a Tony Franklin offense. Shocking. Want more shocking news? Middle still has a shot at a division title as they own the tie-breaker over Marshall and still have yet to play WKU.

9. North Texas (3-5, 2-2, LW: #8)

UNT is by far the most disappointing team in C-USA this season. The injury bug hasn’t helped as their receivers are not the same unit that entered the season, but a lack of seizing the moment for this program has been the theme all year. Being outscored 18-3 at Charlotte might just keep them out of a bowl game.

10. Charlotte (3-5, 1-3, LW: #10)

What a way to win your first conference game as the head coach, Will Healy, The 49ers trailed for much of the game until the final 14 seconds, as Chris Reynolds threw the game-tying touchdown to Victor Tucker, resulting in the winning extra point. Their next matchup against Middle Tennessee is essentially a loser stays home for the holidays affair.

11. UTSA (3-4, 2-2, LW: #11)

The Roadrunners were on a bye and will head to College Station to play A&M this Saturday.

12. Old Dominion (1-7, 0-4, LW: #12)

Bobby Wilder now has three straight losing season as the home loss to FAU might have been the final nail in the coffin for his coaching career at ODU.

13. Rice (0-8, 0-4, LW: #13)

Poor Rice. Another conference game in which they could have pulled off the upset results in another gut wrenching loss. The Owls held USM’s explosive offense in check for most of the game but failed to take advantage of any opportunities to win the game. They’ll have another shot to pull off a stunner with a Marshall team coming to Houston on an emotional high.

14. UTEP (1-6, 0-4, LW: #14)

The Miners versus UMass would be a good game, no?