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, C-USA is shaping up to be the worst conference in the FBS.
Only one team has a win over an FBS opponent through the first two weeks of the season (UAB over Akron). The AAC, MWC, and Sun Belt each have at least two wins over the Power 5 conferences. The MAC has yet to record a win over the P5 either, but they have looked marginally better than C-USA.
1. North Texas (1-1, Last Week: #1)
The Mean Green lost their annual rivalry game to SMU 49-27 in Dallas. The lost showcased just how slim the margin of error is for UNT. Their offense must be firing on all cylinders. They were outscored 21-0 in the first quarter. The emergence of Tre Siggers at RB was the highlight of the day as he rushed for 164 yards and a touchdown. The Mean Green will have another shot a signature win this season as they will travel to Berkeley to play a stingy defense in Cal.
2. Marshall (1-1, LW: #2)
I am keeping the top two teams in the conference from last week at the top despite losing. Marshall had so many chances to pull off a monumental road win against Boise State but just could not generate any production on offense whatsoever. After running the ball pretty well in the first half, the offense relied on Isaiah Green to move the ball through the air and it failed drastically.
Marshall didn't record a single first down in the 2nd half. Gross— Underdog Dynasty (@underdogdynasty) September 7, 2019
The defense was dominant despite the loss. Marshall didn’t win, but they proved they can compete at a high level in one of the most toughest venues in college football. Fix the offense, and they could run away with the division title.
3. UAB (2-0, LW: #4)
The Blazers took care of business on the road against Akron, a team projected to finish near the bottom of the MAC. Tyler Johnston was fantastic, throwing for 319 yards and four touchdowns. His day could have been much better if not for some drops. The defensive line looked dominant at times. The game did leave me concerned about the rushing attack, as Spencer Brown only rushed for 35 yards on 16 carries.
4. Southern Miss (1-1, LW: #3)
Outside of a beautiful connection from Jack Abraham to Jaylond Adams for a touchdown, there was nothing pretty about USM’s offense against Mississippi State. The defense was formidable yet again, but it’s the same old story for the Golden Eagles. If the offense doesn’t improve, this is a team capable of losing to anyone in C-USA. The game against Troy will set the tone for the rest of the season.
5. Louisiana Tech (1-1, LW: #5)
Not a pretty win by any means over Grambling, but a win is a win. The Bulldogs controlled the game for the most part but lost focus in the second half and almost gave this one away. We’ll learn more about Tech in their road game against Bowling Green. This should be an easy win. Anything less is a red flag.
6. Charlotte (1-1, LW: #8)
The 49ers lost to App State on the road in a shootout. They move up because I came away more impressed with their ability to compete in a tough environment. The offense is legitimately scary. Chris Reynolds went 20-of-31 for 296 yards and four touchdowns. Benny LeMay rushed for 118 yards and two touchdowns. The defense and special teams, definitely the special teams, is a work in progress. But Charlotte looks like a team capable of making a run at a bowl game.
7. WKU (1-1, 1-0, LW: #14)
Okay dropping the Tops to last in the power rankings was a bit harsh, but they lost to a FCS team for the second year in a row. That’s UTEP-like. I had to punish them. To their credit, WKU bounced back for a huge road win over FIU. Gaej Walker rushed for 100 yards, and proved that the Tops have a semblance of a rushing attack this year. I’m still not overly confident in their ability to move the ball against the better teams in the conference but the defense looks poised to keep WKU in every conference game.
8. FAU (0-2, LW: #7)
Teams from 8-14 are a crapshoot. I’m sliding the Owls here because they’ve had the toughest schedule of any team below them. The defense tried their best to keep them in the game, but UCF proved to be too much in the long run. The offense is still an issue, particularly the offensive line. This week’s game against Ball State will be a better barometer for just what this team is capable of in conference play.
9. UTSA (1-1, LW: #9)
The Roadrunners suffered a blowout loss to Baylor. No real takeaways here other than Baylor might be really, really good this year.
10. Middle Tennessee (1-1, LW: #10)
It looked rocky here for a bit as MTSU entered the second quarter trailing 6-0 to Tennessee State. They only held a 10-6 lead at halftime and entered the third quarter up five. Fortunately they outscored TSU 21-7 in the final quarter. Chaton Mobley emerged as a reliable threat on offense which bodes well for conference play considering Asher O’Hara is still a work in progress at QB.
11. Old Dominion (1-1, LW: #11)
Last year’s magic against Virginia Tech was not replicated this go-round as Tech stifled ODU’s offense for a win. I still liked what I saw from Lala Davis and Stone Smartt on the ground. I’m afraid I might have undervalued ODU entering this season. A run at a bowl game isn’t too far fetched.
12. FIU (0-2, 0-1, LW: #6)
Yikes. Where to begin. QB controversy? An inept offense? Continued poor play on the line of scrimmage? FIU is the biggest disappointment of the early part of the season in C-USA. James Morgan looks like a shell of the QB we saw last year. The play-makers out wide have been held in check for the most part and the run defense continues to be an issue. The senior leaders need to emerge to keep this season from falling off the rails.
13. Rice (0-2, LW: #12)
The Owls gave Wake Forest everything they could but their inability to close drives with touchdowns, and stop Wake’s passing offense ruined any chance of a win. Still, the Owls are eons ahead of what they were last year.
14. UTEP (1-1, LW: #13)
The Miners don’t deserve the bottom spot for last week’s performance against Tech Tech. They were blown out, but it was only 38-3. Rather they are a victim of the moving in the conference. I still don’t like their chances in C-USA, but they look to be a tougher out than before. Last year’s game against Tech Tech would have been of the 60-7 blowout portion. Progress!