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, FAU is the best team in Conference USA. Marshall, FIU, and North Texas join the Owls in controlling their destiny to win Conference USA.
1. FAU (5-3, 4-0, Last Week: #2)
Who else did you think was going to hold the top spot? Trailing 28-20 entering the fourth quarter, FAU scored 22 unanswered points to defeat the defending champs WKU on the road. What we saw in the fourth quarter was a gear I didn’t think the Owls had. FAU is the best team in Conference USA. At least for a week.
2. North Texas (5-3, 4-1, LW: #3)
The Mean Green averted disaster as they eked by an Old Dominion team searching for their first win in conference play. Style points don’t matter though. Just win baby. I am a bit worried about their defense though. North Texas could essentially clinch C-USA West this Saturday with a road victory over La Tech this Saturday.
3. UAB (5-3, 3-2, LW: #7)
For the past month I’ve been wrong about UAB. Every time I believe, they lose. Once I give up on them, they win. I went back and forth with UAB and UTSA for this spot but the Blazers simply have better wins than UTSA. UAB can clinch bowl eligibility with a win over Rice this Saturday. Like Charlotte, Rice is an inferior team. We’ll see if UAB is ready to play like a favorite this time as Birmingham is sure to be ready for this one.
4. UTSA (5-2, 2-2, LW: #5)
Another ho-hum victory for UTSA as the Roadrunners beat UTEP in El Paso. Things have been pretty quiet in San Antonio as the Roadrunners handled their business over the last two weeks. A huge game with division title implications is on deck this week as a trip to Miami to take on a surging FIU team awaits.
5. FIU (5-2, 3-1, LW: #9)
Butch’s boys in Miami is the team of the week as FIU won at Marshall for the first time in school history. The offense had their best game of year. With two weeks to prepare for the Herd FIU scored 41 points on a cold, rainy day in Huntington. The Panthers are a serious contender to win C-USA East and should make a bowl game as they have a favorable schedule to close the season (UTSA, Old Dominion, at FAU and WKU).
6. Marshall (6-2, 3-1, LW: #1)
The Marshall message boards were in shambles after the blowout loss to FIU at home. Doc Holliday and Bill Legg were out-coached by Butch Davis and Brent Guy all afternoon. The offense sputtered for the majority of the game before rallying in the fourth to make the score respectable, but it’s been the same story all season for Marshall as the offense has needed a few quarters to finally get in some sort of rhythm. The defense had been great all season but finally wilted. It’s imperative the Herd fix their issues on offense ASAP as a Friday night game at FAU Stadium looms. Lose and winning C-USA East is off the table.
7. Southern Miss (5-3, 3-2, LW: #4)
Similar to UAB, I can’t quite figure out Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles have lost two critical games at home. Just like their previous two losses, quarterback play was again the culprit. Well that and the “Nasty Bunch” allowing a freshman running back to rush for over 200 yards.
8. Louisiana Tech (4-4, 2-2, LW: #8)
It wasn’t quite the blowout victory La Tech fans were hoping for, but a win is a win. The offense looked a lot more in sync against Rice, gaining 417 yards. Allowing Rice to gain 434 yards though is not a good look. Due to UAB’s victory over Southern Miss the Bulldogs have life again to win C-USA West. Tech has a chance to redeem themselves at home against North Texas.
9. WKU (5-3, 3-2, LW: #6)
The Hilltoppers outplayed FAU for three quarters, but simply didn’t keep their foot on the gas. Miscues in the red zone and turnovers finally caught up with them in the fourth quarter and the Tops were unable to respond. The killer instinct we’re so used to seeing from WKU just hasn’t been there all season.
10. Old Dominion (2-6, 0-4, LW: #10)
A valiant effort for the second straight week comes up short. Not getting a fourth and short in the fourth quarter with the game on the line in two straight games is going to keep Bobby Wilder up at night all offseason.
11. Middle Tennessee (3-5, 1-3, LW: #11)
The Blue Raiders had a bye week and will host UTEP. Could we see Brent Stockstill? Might we see a restless fan base reach their breaking point with Rick Stockstill?
12. Charlotte (1-7, 1-3, LW: #12)
The 49ers were on a bye week and will take on Old Dominion. Somehow Brad Lambert appears to be in the clear for 2018, but he should get one more win just to be safe.
13. Rice (1-7, 1-3, LW: #13)
The Owls had their best offensive game of the season against La Tech. But the defense just could not get the necessary stop. It’s great to see the team hasn’t laid down under David Bailiff though. That type of effort against UAB will be needed.
14. UTEP (0-7, 0-3, LW: #14)
Mike Price has done a lot better than I thought he would but the offense still remains a joke.