Its time to start our own power rankings here at Miner Rush. For the first week I'll go ahead and give me opinion as to where each team stands, but if we get enough feedback we can definitely turn this one into a fan poll. Let us know how you have C-USA's teams ranked. Here we go.
1. Central Florida (14-1, 1-1) RPI: 17
The Knights rose to no. 18 in the nation at 14-0, but had a bit of a hiccup last week as they dropped one on the road at Houston. They've got another tough game coming up at Southern Miss. That's one they cannot afford to drop. Either way, they're still good enough to be no. 1 in C-USA, for now.
2. Alabama-Birmingham (11-3, 1-0) RPI: 45
The Blazers are coming off a huge triple overtime win over UTEP in their conference opener. Other than the pounding they took at Duke, UAB has only lost at ASU by 3, and at Georgia by 2. A couple of bounces their way and they could be 13-1.
3. UTEP (13-4, 1-1) RPI: 81
The Miners have yet to come up with a big win (other than Michigan), and have dropped a couple that they probably shouldn't have. However, they took UAB to 3 OTs in Birmingham, and they still are the defending champs in C-USA. Don't forget the conference tourney is in El Paso.
4. Marshall (12-4, 1-1) RPI: 55
The Thundering Herd was trying to be the team to knock of UCF first, and they gave the Knights a good scare. Marshall was up late in the second half before UCF grabbed the lead and escaped with the victory. The Herd went on to completely dismantle a solid So. Miss team after that. True contender here.
5. Memphis (12-3, 1-0) RPI: 76
I think everyone thought Memphis would return to glory and completely own C-USA after its highly touted recruiting class. Things didn't go as planned. The Tigers have yet to win a real meaningful game, and seem to be getting worse as the season goes on. No. 5, for now.
6. Southern Mississippi (12-3, 1-1) RPI: 75
The Golden Eagles have a couple of quality wins at USF, and at CAL. Gary Flowers is a stud, and coach Eustachy is a great coach, but what happened on Saturday? So. Miss has to be put at number 6 after not showing up to play against a game Marshall team who rocked them 95-65. The Golden Eagles are better than this, but still have to prove it.
7. Tulane (12-3, 2-0) RPI: 196
The Green Wave get the nod here only by virtue of their overall and conference records. However, the reality is that their best win came at Rice who is currently sitting right at 200 in the RPI. Every other win for the Wave is against teams ranked 288th or worse in the RPI. Regardless, winning games still means something so here they are.
8. Tulsa (8-7, 1-1) RPI: 122
The Golden Hurricane are more talented than their record would suggest. They lost dominant big man Jerome Jordan from last year's team, but still have Justin Hurtt, Steven Idlet, and others. Tulsa can really make a statement this week as they play at Arizona St. and at home against UAB. Pick up some wins here and you might find yourselves a little higher on next week's list.
9. Houston (9-6, 1-1) RPI: 197
The Cougars are extremely tough to predict. They go on the road and lose to UTSA and Texas A&M Corpus Christi, then return home to knock off undefeated and nationally ranked UCF. The Cougars have four wins vs the top 100 RPI (including no. 17 UCF), but they also have three losses to teams ranked lower than 200. Who knows what to expect?
10. Rice (8-8, 0-2) RPI: 200
The Owls have done little to separate themselves from the other two here at the bottom of the list. However, they do have recent wins over LSU and TCU, and have played well in games against Texas and Miami. They probably don't belong any higher than 10th right now, but lookout they might give some teams some scares.
11. East Carolina (8-7, 0-1) RPI: 193
I'm not quite sure who belongs here in 11th. Neither of the bottom two teams are making much of a case for themselves. The Pirates started the season 7-2, but have lost 5 out of 6 to drop to 8-7 overall. Even though Memphis isn't as tough as many expected them to be, ECU took them to the wire on Saturday so they'll stay ahead of SMU this week.
12. Southern Methodist (9-6, 0-1) RPI: 292
SMU may be 9-6, but they haven't beat anyone. Their best win is over Portland St. who currently sits at no. 254 in the RPI. The Mustangs have losses to Arkansas Little Rock and UC Riverside...at home! One thing is for sure Papa Dia is a solid presence on the inside averaging 17 ppg so he'll keep them in a lot of contests, but the Mustangs need to do some serious soul searching before they move up these ranks.
Let's get one thing straight. Power rankings don't mean much. Yes, they are a fairly good barometer as to where teams stand within a certain conference, division, or whatever else you may be ranking, but the truth is the teams are very familiar with each other, and you rarely get an easy opponent in conference. Conference USA is very balanced this year from top to bottom. Yes some of the teams at the bottom may not win many games, but they sure will be in most of them. Don't fall asleep on anyone cause they may just surprise you.