1. Tulsa: 8-2 (6-0) Previously: 2
2. UCF: 8-2 (6-0) Previously: 1
3. ECU: 6-4 (5-1) Previously: 3
4. SMU: 5-5 (4-2) Previously: 4
5. Marshall: 4-6 (3-3) Previously: 5
6. Houston: 4-6 (3-3) Previously: 6
7. Rice: 4-6 (2-4) Previously: 7
8. UAB: 3-7 (2-4) Previously: 10
9. UTEP: 2-8 (1-5) Previously: 9
10. Memphis: 2-8 (2-4) Previously: 11
11. Tulane: 2-8 (2-4) Previously: 8
12. Southern Miss 0-10 (0-6) Previously: 12
Just one week after UCF took over No. 1, Tulsa jumped back up to snatch it with its convincing win at Houston. The Golden Hurricane dominated in all three phases en route to a 41-7 win. The loss eliminated Houston in the west division race while it puts TU's magic number at one. If Tulsa wins either if its final two games or SMU loses either of its final two, the Hurricane is into the title game.
Despite losing to UAB and getting crushed at home, respectively, Marshall and Houston kept their spots at No. 5 and No. 6 simply because there's nobody else to put there. Rice has a losing conference record and lost to both Marshall and Houston, so they're not going anywhere.
The biggest jump of the week was from rapidly-rising UAB after its win over Marshall. The biggest drop was Tulane, falling from No. 8 to 11th following its loss to Memphis.
Here's a quick rundown of what went on around the conference in week 11:
Bye Week: East Carolina, Rice
Now that Tulsa dispensed of Houston, SMU remains TU's only threat in the west. The Mustangs took care of business against pitiful Southern Miss Saturday, keeping their conference title hopes alive. In order for SMU to make it to the title game, it must win at Rice this week and have Tulsa lose to UCF. Rice is 4-6 and UCF is very strong, so both of those things could very well happen. If they do, it would set up a winner-take-all season finale against Tulsa. If Tulsa does beat UCF, all is not lost for the Mustangs, as bowl-eligibility is still a priority.
The Cougars had their final chance to make a statement Saturday. The statement was clear; Houston is a pretender and will not be sneaking into the title game in 2012. Saturday's debacle leaves Houston with one remaining goal and that's to reach a bowl game. That won't be easy as the Cougs must travel to West Virginia this weekend to face Marshall's high-powered offense. If they win that, a win over Tulane in the season's final week would send UH bowling for the seventh time in eight years.
It looked for a while like the Miners might pull off a major upset on Saturday, but UCF was too much to handle in the end. Still, a 31-24 loss to what might be the best team in the conference is nothing for Mike Price's troops to hang their heads about. A date with Southern Miss next week could give this team an emotional lift.
The Green Wave had a good shot at winning their third game in five tries Saturday, but Memphis pulled away in the second half. Things don't look promising down the stretch for Tulane as matchups against Houston and ECU await.
As far as bad losses go, Saturday's at UAB ranks right up at the top. With its 38-31 disappointment, Marshall must now beat both ECU and Houston to become bowl-eligible. The UAB game was thought to be a given, so that the Herd would only have to win one of its remaining two to go bowling, but perhaps Saturday shows us that this team doesn't have what it takes after all.
Don't look now but the Blazers have won two in a row. UAB has long had nothing to play for except pride, but it appears they take that seriously. The Blazers have a realistic shot for their first three-game conference winning streak since 2004 when they host Memphis Saturday.
The Tigers looked strong Saturday, scoring 37 points in a win over Tulane. Memphis' offense has struggled severely this season, so Saturday's shootout win must have felt good. The remaining schedule is favorable for Memphis; a win over UAB or Southern Miss would give the Tigers their first three-or-more win season since 2008.
Southern Miss pulled out the alternate jerseys for Saturday's game with SMU. It was actually a little confusing, with one set of jerseys reading "SMU" with the other set an awful-looking "USM." The good news is we could easily tell the teams apart one the game got going, as Southern Miss was the squad getting blown off the field. With two losses to end the season, The Eagles will finish with as many losses this season as they had wins last season: 12.