It very well could be that the new TV deal’s limited payouts are taking a tool on the conference. While the signature win this week was UTSA over Baylor, that is colored by the fact that Baylor already lost to Liberty and is in a tailspin. The Big 12 is not good outside of Oklahoma, and so the good vibes from that win are limited if you ask anyone who follows this game. Still, the casuals will hype it and that is important as the casual fan’s money is worth just as much as that belonging to the discerning connoisseur.
The league was embarrassed otherwise. FAU, Charlotte, NT, La Tech, and WKU took ugly losses. FIU had an ugly win. Let us sort the league arbitrarily.
New week new votes. Last week’s ranking in parentheses.
1. WKU (1)
Still the class of the league even if they dropped a game against a beatable Illi squad. If Brohm was still the coach I bet WKU wins this one handily, instead the Toppers have questions about their once-potent offense. Purdue is breaking out clever, exciting plays while WKU is looking staid.
2. La Tech (2)
They are the equal to WKU in talent, they just need to actually pull it off when it matters to actually win this league. They looked clearly second best agains Miss St, and miles away from the team that gave Arkansas a game last year.
3. MTSU (3)
Syracuse is an up-and-coming team and this is a good win but the loss last week to Vandy colors this one too much for me to move them up. I thought about it. They have continuity and that may be enough to push them above WKU if the Toppers are going to struggle.
4. Southern Miss (4)
They dropped a winnable game against Kentucky and handled business against Southern. There are still big questions about this team and so this is about right still.
5 UTSA (7)
We got our first look at UTSA after their Houston opener was cancelled. They dominated the game against Baylor and I do not know what to think about that. Dalton Sturm looked poised and in control while the defense handled Anu Solomon. Still, Strum played a 90s style QB game in getting 15/20 155 yards and 2 scores. It is nothing to dismiss, but I wonder if they can keep up with the high scoring teams in this league and you know, teams that aren’t spiraling.
6. ODU (5)
ODU beat UMASS in an ugly game. I still do not feel good about their place here, but they will hold it until they lose it. UTSA jumped them, however.
7. Marshall (6)
The Herd were blown out by NC State in game that last year’s squad would have lost spectacularly. Instead, they afforded themselves well early and dropped it late.
8. UNT (8)
NT answered some questions at QB, the line still looks questionable, and the defense was eviscerated by one NFL talent. The schedule still shapes up nicely and the offense looks potent enough to make up for the defense in spots.
9. UAB (9)
A better showing against Ball State might have bumped them up a bit. As it is next week is probably a win before their first CUSA matchup against NT wherein we learn some things about 8 and 9 in these rankings.
10. Charlotte (11)
Kansas State had no trouble with the 49ers. I want to drop them but the teams below are clearly worse.
11. FAU (12)
Two weeks, two long TDs. Kiffin’s group will be interesting in CUSA, where the talent differential is not so great. Right now they are good enough to only score occasionally.
12. FIU (13)
The work ahead of them is immense. FIU had to pull this win out in the final minute. While the hurricane no doubt affected the game preparation, they do not look good.
13. Rice (14)
They got off the ground. I should not have underestimated their power over the Miners.
14. UTEP (10)
Yes, they drop here because of that awful loss to Rice at home. Rice has been woeful two years running but they continue their two-year streak against UTEP. The Miner offense looked terrible.