Conference USA Rundown & Power Rankings: Week Nine

Thursday, November 1st 2012, 9:13 pm
By: News On 6

1. Tulsa: 7-1 (5-0) Previously: 1

2. Central Florida: 6-2 (4-0) Previously: 2

3. East Carolina: 5-4 (4-1) Previously: 3

4. SMU: 4-4 (3-1) Previously: 5

5. Houston: 4-4 (3-1) Previously: 6

6. Marshall: 3-5 (2-2) Previously: 4

7. Rice: 3-6 (1-4) Previously: 7

8. Tulane: 2-6 (2-2) Previously: 9

9. UTEP: 2-7 (1-4) Previously: 8

10. Southern Miss: 0-8 (0-4) Previously: 10

11. Memphis: 1-7 (1-3) Previously: 11

12. UAB: 1-7 (0-4) Previously: 12

Not much shakeup in this week's power rankings. Tulsa finally got its bye week and held on to the No. 1 spot. UCF looked incredible Saturday night, stomping Marshall on the road, cementing its spot at No. 2. SMU and Houston each took care of business to stay one game back of TU in the west, while Southern Miss might have hit an all-time low.

Here's a look at what happened around the conference Saturday and how it might affect TU and the C-USA title race:

Bye Week: Tulsa

C-USA West


The Mustangs used explosive first and fourth quarters to blow Memphis off the field. SMU travels to UCF this week in a very juicy inter-division matchup. The implications of this one will be big for both teams, but for SMU, a loss would drop them two games back of Tulsa in the west with three to play. That's a tough hill to climb.


The Cougars built a 45-7 lead on UTEP before collapsing in the fourth quarter to only win by 10. Similarly to SMU's win, this was a take-care-of-business-game for Houston. The Cougs can't afford to lose to a subpar team if they want any hope of winning the west. This week they travel to ECU in the other C-USA headliner game. The winner of this game will still be right there in pursuit of their respective division's championship, the loser will be in serious trouble.


Saturday was a huge win for the Owls. After losing at Tulsa last week, a game they didn't trail until the bitter end, Rice's spirits were understandably low. But Saturday's 44-17 beatdown of Southern Miss proved that this team doesn't have an ounce of quit in them. The win also keeps Rice's slim postseason hopes alive. The Owls have to win out to make a bowl, but their schedule isn't overly difficult, so it remains a possibility.


Just a few weeks after looking like one of the worst teams in all of FBS football, the Wave has responded with two conference wins in three tries. Tulane took down UAB 55-45 in shootout of epic proportions. The two teams gained a combined 1,241 total yards of offense and dropped an even 100 points on the board. Tulane deserves a lot of credit for battling back from a terrible start to the season and the toll that Devon Walker's injury took on this team.


UTEP stormed back in the fourth quarter, but fell nevertheless at Houston. The Miners host UCF this week in what is their final chance to accomplish something meaningful this season. A win over the Knights could greatly impact the C-USA championship race.

C-USA East


The Knights have gotten better and better this season, and Saturday night they delivered a message. In what was supposed to be an East-division showdown at Marshall, UCF completely dominated from start to finish en route to a 54-17 win. The Knights appear to be separating themselves from the rest of the east.


It may not have been a conference loss, but ECU looked awful Saturday, getting doubled-up 56-28 at home by Navy. The Pirates' defense allowed 563 yards of offense and eight touchdowns. This is a bad sign for ECU moving forward, but technically won't affect the conference race. Because of the head-to-head loss, the Pirates must essentially win-out and UCF must lose twice for ECU to have a chance to win the east. Not great odds, but certainly possible. They can also clinch a bowl berth with a win this week.


If Marshall wanted any chance to win the east, Saturday's showdown with UCF was a must-win. They didn't, and now their division title hopes are all but done. Hard to imagine winning the turnover battle by three and still losing a football game by 37 points, but that's what happened to the Herd. Not only does this loss cripple their title chances, but it also puts a damper on their bowl hopes. With tough matchups against ECU and Houston remaining, Marshall must win three of its final four games to qualify for the postseason.

Southern Miss:

It's hard to believe what is going on down in Hattiesburg. Forget about turning things around or salvaging a bad bowl game, at this point the Eagles just need to avoid a winless season. Saturday's blowout loss to Rice really gave us an idea of just how bad this squad is. The Eagles take a 0-8 record into Saturday's home date with UAB.


The bottom of the east division is as bad as I've ever seen it. At 1-7. The Tigers are no exception. Memphis couldn't hang with SMU Saturday, allowing almost 500 yards in a 44-13 loss. Next up is a trip to Marshall where the Tigers have a chance to put a serious dent into the Herd's bowl hopes.


The Blazers lost a golden opportunity to earn their first win of the season against Tulane on Saturday, but the defense couldn't hold up in a 55-45 defeat. As UAB still searches for its first FBS win this season, it won't get any easier than this Saturday's matchup with Southern Miss.