Aug 30, 2012; Akron, OH, USA; Central Florida Knights running back Latavius Murray (28) runs with the ball for a touchdown against the Akron Zips at InfoCision Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Leifheit-US PRESSWIRE
It was a bit of an unpredictable weekend in Conference USA football in Week 1. C-USA West "favorite" Houston was beaten handily by Texas State, and subsequently had the offensive coordinator resign. UTEP nearly pulled an upset for the ages, and guys like SMU, Marshall, Southern Miss, and Rice were blown out.
Its still extremely early in the process, and its tough to judge teams based on what they did in the first week of the season, but that's exactly what we are going to do. Let's took take a look at where the teams of Conference USA land in the first power rankings of the season.
12. Memphis Tigers (0-1, 0-0) Last Week: (L) vs. Tennessee-Martin, Up Next: @ Arkansas State.
There may be a new face running the program, but after one week, it still looks like the same old results. Memphis lost their season opener, at home, to FCS opponent Tennesse-Martin. Up next, they'll take on an Arkansas State team that yes, got blown out against Oregon, but also managed to put up 34 points, in Eugene. Good luck with that one.
11. Houston Cougars (0-1, 0-0) Last Week: (L) vs. Texas State, Up Next: vs. Louisiana Tech
Let's get one thing straight; Houston is not the Houston of a year ago. Many people picked them as a favorite in C-USA this year. I hope this loss shows you a little something. The Cougars fell to a Texas State team that was literally playing their 1st game as an FBS school, and the Bobcats had their way with UH, rushing for over 250 yards. If this was the outcome against a WAC newbie, we'll see what happens this week with the WAC favorite.
10. Tulane Green Wave (0-1, 0-0) Last Week: (L) vs. Rutgers, Up Next: @ Tulsa
The Green Wave put up a solid effort against a Rutgers team that's probably a middle of the road squad in the Big East. It was a 10-6 game, but a couple fourth quarter TDs for the Scarlet Knights put the game out of reach. QB Ryan Griffin, and RB Robert Kelley both looked good for Tulane. Let's see if they can keep that up as they open up conference play this week against Tulsa.
9. UAB Blazers (0-1, 0-0) Last Week: (L) vs. Troy, Up Next: BYE
The Blazers opened up their 2012 campaign with a home loss to Troy, marking the 3rd time in 4 years that the Blazers have fallen to the Trojans. Now, its not a terrible loss for UAB, and QB Jonathan Perry did throw for more than 300 yards, but the Blazers have a long way to go, and things aren't getting any easier. After the bye week, UAB will take on South Carolina and Ohio State on the road. Both are top 15 teams. With Tulsa following that, could be an 0-4 start.
8. Rice Owls (0-1, 0-0) Last Week: (L) vs. UCLA, Up Next: @ Kansas
The Owls offense looked good early on against UCLA, and thus the close first half. But the defense could never get a stop, and once the offense couldn't produce anymore, UCLA just ran away with it. Taylor McHargue was a playmaker for the Owls, but the problem was he was the only playmaker. They'll have to find more options if they want to have a chance this week at Kansas, and for the rest of the season.
7. SMU Mustangs (0-1, 0-0) Last Week: (L) @ Baylor, Up Next: vs. Stephen F. Austin
I'll admit I expected SMU to be a bit better than this. The final score may have 59-24, but this game wasn't even that close. Baylor, was up 45-3 before they let their foot off the gas. And Garrett Gilbert? Sure he threw for 286 yards, but he also had 60 attempts, and 2 picks. The Mustangs will have a week to iron things out as SFA comes to town, but with Texas A&M, TCU, and at UTEP following that, the Mustangs may be in trouble early on.
6. Tulsa Golden Hurricane (0-1, 0-0) Last Week: (L) @ Iowa State, Up Next: vs. Tulane
I'm still not sure what to make of the Golden Hurricane's loss to Iowa State. Tulsa jumped out to an early 16-7 lead, but they were outscored 31-7 from there on. And I think we're seeing that Cody Green isn't exactly the perfect replacement for G.J. Kinne, at least not yet. Tulsa has Tulane, Nichols Sate, Fresno State, and UAB over the next four weeks, so they'll certainly have a chance to get the ball rolling.
5. Southern Miss. Golden Eagles (0-1, 0-0) Last Week: (L) @ #17 Nebraska, Up Next: BYE
The Golden Eagles played tough against a solid Nebraska team for about a half. But, after the break, they couldn't get anything going, and truth be told, they're defense couldn't get a stop all day. USM gave up 632 yards of total offense, including 354 yards and 5 TDs to Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez. The Golden Eagles managed only 260 yards, and 75 through the air. After the bye week, Southern Miss opens up conference play against ECU.
4. Marshall Thundering Herd (0-1, 0-0) Last Week: (L) @ #11 West Virginia, Up Next: Western Carolina
While the Herd were absolutely blown out of the water against West Virginia (69-34), I still see some good things with them. Sophomore QB Rakeem Cato threw for more than 400 yards, the run game totaled more than 130 yards, and they controlled the time of possession in the game. West Virginia is just too explosive, and too balanced. You can't exactly hold that against Marshall. With the toughest part of the schedule over, its time for the Herd to get things going. Up next, Western Carolina.
3. UTEP Miners (0-1, 0-0) Last Week: (L) vs. #4 Oklahoma, Up Next: @ Ole Miss
I know many will want to call me a homer, but listen to this. The Miners came out, and played extremely well against a team that has been labeled a favorite to win the national title. You can say that OU didn't play well, but the truth is the Miners' D shut them down for 3 and a half quarters, and only gave up the one play for a TD. This was a 10-7 game in the 4th quarter, and let's not forget the three missed FGs. A couple bounces go our way, and you're looking at the biggest upset for the conference in quite some time. The road continues to be tough for the Miners, as we're at Ole Miss and Wisconsin in the coming weeks, but if we can stay healthy, you better look out for us in conference.
2. East Carolina Pirates (1-0, 0-0) Last Week: (W) vs. Appalachian State, Up Next: @ #9 South Carolina
Kinda crazy, but it took us getting all the way to number 2 before finally seeing a team who won in the opening week. The Pirates dropped App State at home 35-13, but it was actually a 14-13 game late in the 3rd quarter after an App St. FG. A return TD on the ensuing kickoff gave ECU a 21-13 lead, and that opened things up from there. But, this one was closer than it seemed. Up next for the Pirates, is an opportunity to show just exactly what they're made of. South Carolina struggled in their opener against Vandy, maybe ECU can make some noise.
1. Central Florida Knights (1-0, 0-0) Last Week: (W) vs. Akron, Up Next: @ #14 Ohio State
UCF rolled in their opener against Akron, 59-14, but Akron is a team that has gone 1-11 in back to back years. So, to see the running game dominate, Blake Bortles be effective, and the defense play well is encouraging for Knight fans, but let's see how they fare against some good competition this week before we truly call them the best team in Conference USA. For now though, the number one spot is exactly where they belong.