CUSA Power Rankings 2017: Week 3

College football had another great week. Here in Conference USA there were some concerns as the marquee matchup was played on the internet and the league’s best teams are mediocre. There were season-changing injuries and firings. Middle Tennessee lost their QB Brent Stockstill to a sternum injury and WR Richie James was also banged up. UTEP fired their offensive coordinator Brent Pease:

Lousiana Tech and WKU battled it out in Kentucky. UTSA, and FAU had glorified practices while NT, Rice, and ODU had opportunity games. Overall, no one really impressed but we have movement in this week’s power rankings.

New week new votes. Last week’s ranking in parentheses.

1. La Tech (2)

In an ugly game played on Stadium the Bulldogs kicked the game winning field goal to beat WKU in Kentucky in front of a sparse crowd. This was not a well-played game nor was it as exciting as last year’s two games between the conference’s best.

2. WKU (1)

The Hilltoppers have not looked good under new coach Mike Sanford, but La Tech had a dip when Skip Holtz took over. They would drop further but for the fact that no CUSA team looks like they are clearly better.

3. MTSU (3)

Brent Stockstill is hurt and MTSU’s shallow roster was on display. Backup QB Urzua looked poor as the Blue Raiders looked impotent against Minnesota. They stay here because Southern Miss has just as many questions about their QB.

4. Southern Miss (4)

ULM is not a giant, and Southern Miss had to dig deep to hold off ULM. QB Kwadra Giggs had an okay game, throwing for 250 and 3TDs but USM relies heavily on Ito Smith. He put up 219 yards and a score on 27 carries.

5. UTSA (5)

UTSA beat a very bad, no good Baylor (who lost to Duke and looked terrible in so doing) and handled Southern at home easily. We still do not know very much about UTSA. The division looks winnable for anyone with some luck and experienced players and the Runners have both.

6. ODU (6)

UNC is a talented squad and handled a retooling ODU. The Monarchs are figuring out their QB situation and did not look competitive in this one.

7. Marshall (7)

Marshall could have overtaken ODU but UNC is better than Kent State and the Herd did not put this away until the second half. The shutout is nice but Kent State has only scored 3 points against FBS competition this season.

8. UNT (8)

The good guys went to Iowa City and performed well. NT had some luck and managed a 14-10 lead at the half before getting outlasted by the power run game of Kirk Ferentz’s Iowa Hawkeyes. It was impressive as no one in this league has the depth and the commitment to the power run game combination to outlast NT’s defense. Still, there are questions to be answered. The upcoming schedule will provide ample opportunity to do so.

9. UAB (9)

The Blazers were dogs against Coastal Carolina but pulled out a victory. The Chanticleers (wut) tossed three picks and gave UAB a short field often. Still, the Blazers were out gained 327 to 274. UAB will be an underdog in Denton.

10. FAU (11)

FAU handled things vs Bethune-Cookman. Each decent CUSA team has had a solid outing against FCS teams. Maybe FAU can make some noise as the season progresses.

11. Charlotte (10)

Charlotte has NCA&T’s old QB and lost at home. The 49ers had to comeback from down 28-10 before throwing a back-breaking pick-six with :24 left to put them down 10 sealed it.

12. FIU (12)

FIU was idle after the game against Indiana was cancelled. Probably for the best.

13. Rice (13)

Rice was handled easily by Houston in an emotional return for the area after the hurricane. They were expected to lose big and did. We didn’t learn much here.

14. UTEP (14)

Arizona destroyed UTEP 63-16 and this result has commenced the firings. I cannot see a situation where the rest of the staff stays on. Hot seat alert.