Two weeks of college football in the books, and already two teams have certainly separated themselves as the top teams in conference. Although I've got my opinion on who the top team is, you here at The Rush have voted. Here are this week's C-USA Football Power Rankings.
1. Houston Cougars (2-0) Last Week: (W) @ North Texas 48-23, This week: @ La Tech
The Cougars continued to air it out this week with Case Keenum passing for over 450 yards in a win over the North Texas Mean Green. The Cougars are without question sitting at no. 1 because of their week one win over UCLA, but their run defense is very suspect, and could cost them later on in the season. This week they play at Louisiana Tech, who gave Southern Miss all they could handle in week 1. Should be a win for the Cougars, but they can't get complacent.
2. UCF Knights (2-0) Last Week: (W) vs Boston College 30-3, This Week: @ Florida International
The Knights weren't my top pick coming into the season, but they have surprised me. They absolutely rolled Charleston Southern in week 1 (62-0), a team that no. 5 Florida St beat 62-10, and now completely handled their business against a struggling Boston College squad. FIU is coming off a huge win at Louisville so they will be ready to play. This will be a test for the Knights, as will next week's matchup against BYU. In my opinion, this is the no. 1 team in the league, but we'll know a little more after the next two weeks.
3. SMU Mustangs (1-1) Last Week: (W) vs UTEP 28-17, This Week: vs Northwestern State
I'm still not sold on the Mustangs. Sure they beat UTEP at home last week, but if not for an injury to Nick Lamaison, the Miners almost surely would've pulled that one out, even with the offensive line getting dominated. Still, there's really no one else to put here. SMU got absolutely rolled by Texas A&M in week 1, and struggled at home with a rebuilding UTEP team in week 2. They now get a couple cupcakes the next two weeks before heading across town to play TCU. Look out for that game, the Mustangs may really be exposed.
4. ECU Pirates (0-2) Last Week: (L) vs no. 11 Virginia Tech 17-10, This Week: vs UAB.
Ok. So the Pirates are 0-2, but I'm still on their bandwagon. In two weeks they've played the no. 11 and no. 12 teams in the nation very tough. Besides, who else deserves to be here? Tulsa? USM? Not in my book. The Pirates now face UAB in the conference opener for both schools, then take on North Carolina. I'm looking for ECU to get back to .500 by week four. With their defense greatly improved, this is a team no one wants to see on their schedule.
5. Tulsa Golden Hurricane (1-1) Last Week: (W) @ Tulane 31-3, This Week: vs no. 8 Oklahoma St.
Ok so the Golden Hurricane took care of Tulane on Saturday. Does that really say anything? I think the jury is still out on Tulsa, but for now 5th is more than a fair place to put them. They've got Oklahoma St this week, followed by Boise St the next, and North Texas after that. We probably won't be able to get a full grasp of where Tulsa is until about weeks 7 and 8. Until then, they'll probably just float around the middle of the pack.
6. Marshall Thundering Herd (1-1) Last Week (W) vs USM 26-20, This Week: @ Ohio
I told you all last week I liked what I saw in Marshall in week 1. They were in that WVU game until the crazy weather delay hit. Well, I liked them even more in week 2. Freshman QB Rakeem Cato opened up a bit this week completing 27-42 passes for 275 yards, 3 tds, and 2 ints. He was a little safer with the ball in week 1, but that's alright. He's still learning, and will only get better. This week will be a tough test on the road. Ohio beat NMSU inweek 1 on the road by 20, and NMSU then turned around and beat Minnesota. If the Herd get by Ohio on the road, they could really be a threat in C-USA.
7. Southern Miss Golden Eagles (1-1) Last Week: (L) @ Marshall 26-20, This Week: vs SE Louisiana
It's been quite the disappointing start so far for the Golden Eagles. They barely escaped La Tech in week 1, and already suffered a conference loss in week 2. Thus, they continue to slide down the power rankings. I feel they deserve a higher spot, but how can I put them ahead of anyone else? SE Louisiana won't pose much of a threat, but they've really got to get things going in Hattiesburg if they expect to have a successful season. Upcoming games @ Virginia, vs Rice, @ Navy, and vs SMU are starting to look a lot tougher than they did coming into the season.
8. Rice Owls (1-1) Last Week: (W) vs Purdue 24-22, This Week @ no. 19 Baylor.
This may be a little unfair, but I'm calling it now. Rice will finish 3-9 on the season. The Owls had no chance against Texas in week 1, and almost gave up the game at home against a pretty bad Purdue team in week 2. Things will not be getting any easier with games against Baylor, Southern Miss, Marshall, Tulsa, Houston, UTEP, and Northwestern lined up. They're just lucky Memphis and Tulane are on the schedule.
9. UTEP Miners (1-1) Last Week: (L) SMU 28-17, This Week: @ New Mexico St
The Miners did exactly what I thought they would in week 2. Fight hard, show improvement, and put themselves in position to get a big win on the road. Unfortunately, starting QB Nick Lamaison injured his shoulder, and redshirt freshman backup Jay Hall just couldn't carry the team. In my opinion, the Miners deserve to be ahead of Rice, but the Owls win gave them the nod for now. Word is Lamaison is out 2-3 weeks with that injury. That's a tough loss heading into a game with a pumped up NMSU team. With Nick Lamaison out, its time to find out what the TEAM is made of.
10. UAB Blazers (0-1) Last week: (L) @ no. 18 Florida 39-0, This Week: vs Tulane
This was easily the second most disappointing outcome in C-USA in week 2. On a normal week this would take the cake, but continue reading and you'll see why it didn't. Anyway, UAB came into the season with high hopes. They competed hard last year, and nearly made it to bowl eligibility, and certainly expected to pick up where they left off. Talk about starting off on the wrong foot. QB Bryan Ellis only passed for 140 yards, and the run game was even worse totaling 71 yards between 11 different rushers. They've got a rebound game this week in Tulane, but drop this one and things could start getting ugly.
11. Tulane Green Wave (1-1) Last Week: (L) vs Tulsa 31-3, This Week: @ UAB
Well, Tulane followed up their d-1AA win by getting handled on their home field against Tulsa. We all know Tulsa lost their no. 1 weapon, so how bad is The Wave? Let's just say things aren't looking so good for Coach Bob Toledo. They've got three straight road games against UAB, DUKE, and ARMY coming up so this team could be 1-4 realy quickly here. If they are, that week 8 matchup vs Memphis should be a real interesting one.
12. Memphis Tigers (0-2) Last Week: (L) Arkansas St 49-3, This Week: vs Austin Peay
Ok, this one absolutely takes the cake for most disappointing performance in week 2. I mean no disrespect to Arkansas St, but how can you lose 49-3 to Arkansas St??? You put up 14 points against the no. 20 team in the nation in week 1, then turned around and get absolutely stomped by Arkansas St 49-3??? The Tigers are going backwards, and there is now officially no question as to who fills the 12th spot here for at least the foreseeable future.