It felt great to finally see some football again. There were plenty of bright spots around the conference, and there were also plenty low points, but all in all I think we saw exactly what we expected. Here are Miner Rush's C-USA Power Rankings for Week 2 of the college football season.
1. Central Florida - I have to say that coming into the season, I still wasn't sold on the Knights. QB Jeff Godfrey lost his top three targets, and the defense that carried this team last year had to replace quite a few seniors that graduated. However, they came out and just absolutely took care of business on Saturday. Granted, it was against CHS which I think stands for Charleston High School, but either way a 62-0 win is a statement.
2. Houston - We've only played the first game of the season, but the Houston Cougars have officially passed the toughest part of their schedule. Saturday's game against UCLA showed that the UH offense is seasoned, and poised for a solid run in C-USA, but the defense showed that they are no different than last year, allowing opponents to run all over them. Regardless, barring any major setbacks, I'd be surprised to see this team win less than 10 games.
3. Southern Miss - The Golden Eagles were my preseason no. 1 team in C-USA, but the team that played on Saturday looked more like middle of the pack. I'll give them the fact that crazy weather kept them from gaining any real momentum in the game, but still, veteran QB Austin Davis looked mediocre at best, and just one or two more mistakes would've surely cost them an 0-1 start.
4. SMU - I almost want to put ECU in this spot, but we'll give the Mustangs one more chance. Saturday's game against Texas A&M saw the Aggies do whatever they pleased on the ground and through the air, and Kyle Padron didn't show what we expected, putting the Mustangs into a deep hole in the first five minutes of the game. In the end, a 46-14 finish isn't the worst possible outcome, but when a depleted Tulsa team plays the no. 1 team in the nation the same way a "stacked" SMU team plays the no. 8 team, what does that say?
5. ECU - The Pirates played one half of very good football against an extremely tough and talented South Carolina team. ECU has shown that they can put points on the board against anyone in the nation, but their defense has to be able to slow some teams down just a little. The Pirates have another crack at a top 25 team this week in Virginia Tech, and the Hokies have been known to get a little complacent early in the season. Look for another shootout here, and who knows maybe even a C-USA upset.
6. Tulsa - It was very surprising to see Tulsa not get absolutely blown out of the water at no. 1 OU. I mean 47-14 is by no means good, but it could've been a lot worse. The Hurricane seem to have found some production at the WR position in Willie Carter. Carter had 5 grabs for 135 yards. Damaris Johnson will certainly be missed, but if they can find some people to fill his shoes, Tulsa can still have a fairly successful season. We'll find out a little more about them this week at Tulane.
7. UAB - The Blazers had a bye week in week 1, and will now look forward to taking on Florida in The Swamp here in week 2. For now they'll stay exactly where they started, but we'll know a little more about them after this coming Saturday.
8. Marshall - The Thundering Herd looked like a pretty good team for 1 half of football in Sunday's game against no. 24 West Virginia. Freshman QB Rakeem Cato was efficient with the ball, and didn't make mistakes, and actually had the Herd down only 7 after a FG with about 4 minutes left in the 3rd quarter. But, WVU returned the ensuing kickoff for a TD, and the game immediately went into a weather delay. After hours of waiting, the teams came back out, WVU put up another TD, and the game was eventually called due to weather. This one might have been different if not for the weather, but I guess we'll never know. Either way, look out for Marshall.
9. Tulane - The Green Wave have now played Southeastern Louisiana three times in the last five years. All three times have been wins, but all three have also been fairly close games. Although giving up 33 points to a division 1-AA opponent is never a good thing, we'll give Tulane the nod over UTEP. Both however, have a chance to make a statement in week 2 so we could see one of them vault up the Conference USA power rankings.
10. UTEP - What can I say about the Miners. They came out on Saturday and got absolutely handled in the first half of that game by a division 1-AA opponent. Mistakes certainly helped the Seawolves' cause, but at the same time we couldn't stop their rushing attack. That's pretty disappointing for a defense with so many veterans. On the other hand, the Miners never folded, played much better in the 2nd half, and picked up the W, which is all that matters. Let's just hope what we saw Saturday is not a sign of what is to come, but merely growing pains that we will get through here early on in the season.
11. Rice - Yes the owls have some good things going for them, but they had almost no shot at a still recovering Texas squad. The loss doesn't necessarily mean anything for the season, but the way they lost surely has to drop them on this list. The Owls have a struggling Purdue team this week at home, and could definitely have a shot at the W, but if they drop that one too, don't look for this season to be any better than last.
12. Memphis - We can't exactly judge Memphis by their loss in week 1. Mississippi St. is a solid top 20 team, and well Memphis just isn't. Still, at this point, there is no other place to put the Tigers. They do however, have two games coming up that are very winnable. If they can pick those up, we will almost certainly see the Tigers creep just a little higher up this list.