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.
1. FAU (6-3, 5-0, Last Week: #1)
There’s been a lot of talk about Lane Kiffin and Kendal Briles’ offense, but the job Chris Kiffin has done with FAU’s defense is incredible. The Owls lead Conference USA in interceptions with 18. They are the best team in the country in turnover margin as the Owls are +16 on the season. Jalen Young and Shelton Lewis’ four combined interceptions against Marshall is what kept FAU undefeated in conference play.
2. North Texas (6-3, 5-1, LW: #2)
Jeffery Wilson rushed for 165 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner. It wasn’t easy, but UNT found a way to win on the road. Seth Littrell would easily have the Coach of the Year Award on his mantle if not for Bill Clark. Beat UTEP at home and North Texas wins C-USA West.
3. UAB (6-3, 4-2, LW: #3)
Speaking of Bill Clark, the Blazers destroyed Rice and are now bowl eligible in #TheReturn. But that wasn’t even the best news of the week for UAB fans. Bill Clark signing an extension is huge for the trajectory of the program as the UAB administration is showing that they are committed to fielding a winning product on the gridiron.
4. FIU (6-2, 4-1, LW: #5)
The Panthers find a way once again, as they are now on a three-game winning streak after beating UTSA 14-7. This is the best start in school history as the Panthers are now bowl eligible. Beat Old Dominion at home, and the Shula Bowl will be for first place of C-USA East.
5. Marshall (6-3, 3-2, LW: #6)
The fact Marshall only lost to FAU by five points despite four interceptions from Chase Litton shows how good this Herd team is defensively. The Herd can’t win C-USA East, but a 10 win season is still on the table. Time to avenge two straight loses to WKU in the Moonshine Throwdown.
6. Southern Miss (5-4, 3-2, LW: #7)
Sketchy officiating and poor play from the quarterback position doomed the Golden Eagles against Tennessee. A trip to Houston to play Rice should be exactly what the doctor ordered.
7. UTSA (5-3, 2-3, LW: #4)
UTSA’s defense showed up in Miami, but the offense was nowhere to be found. Injuries have really limited UTSA’s potential and they have not adjusted well to them. A once promising season is now looking dicey. A home game against UAB to clinch bowl eligibility is up next.
8. WKU (5-4, 3-2, LW: #9)
WKU’s inability to run the ball has been well documented here but just in case you didn’t know, the Hilltoppers can’t run the ball. WKU finished with -6 rushing yards against Vanderbilt. Mike Sanford Jr.’s decision to leave Mike White in near the end of the game with the win out of reach was dumb. Hopefully White doesn’t miss any time. Rivalry wins are the only thing that can salvage what’s been a suspect debut season for Sanford.
9. Louisiana Tech (4-5, 2-3, LW: #8)
Another game the Bulldogs led for the majority of the game, only to lose it in the final minutes. Skip Holtz deserves to be criticized for his conservative decisions in the final minutes of games this season. La Tech is too talented to not go bowling this year but that’s where we are right now. Home games against FAU and UTSA, and a road trip to play UTEP is what’s left on the schedule.
10. Middle Tennessee (4-5, 2-3, LW: #11)
Brent Stockstill returned and the offense looked a lot more dynamic. Granted, it was against UTEP. But still, Stockstill’s return was huge as MTSU now has new life to finish the season strong. A road trip to Charlotte is up next.
11. Old Dominion (3-6, 1-4, LW: #10)
Two field goals was somehow enough to beat Charlotte. ODU kept their faint hopes of a bowl bid alive but must now take a road trip to play a red hot FIU team.
12. Charlotte (1-8, 1-4, LW: #12)
The 49ers gained eight first downs against Old Dominion. Eight. Thank goodness we don’t have to see them play UTEP this year.
13. Rice (1-8, 1-4, LW: #13)
Rice ran into a buzzsaw in Birmingham and will now face a frustrated Southern Miss team looking to become bowl eligible.
14. UTEP (0-9, 0-5, LW: #14)
At North Texas. Home against La Tech. At UAB. The Miners are just about a lock to finish winless.