Week 5 brought success for some, and setbacks for others in Conference USA. SMU finally proved themselves as they knocked off no. 20 TCU, and Marshall was their usual unpredictable selves knocking off Louisville. But, Memphis and UAB lost good games against Middle Tennessee and Troy, and East Carolina was unable to get over the hump dropping its game to North Carolina. Much is still uncertain is C-USA, but one thing that is certain is that Houston remains alone atop the league. Here are the power rankings for week 6.
1. Houston Cougars (5-0, 1-0) Last Week: (W) @ UTEP, This Week: vs. East Carolina
Last week the Cougars survived a trip to El Paso with a 49-42 win over UTEP. The Cougars lit up the scoreboard and the stat sheet, but they also proved that their defense is completely mortal. Line up against a team who can light it up as much as them, and they might find themselves on the wrong end of the shootout. This week they play ECU, and the Pirates might be that team. But, if the Pirates can't get over their own problems Houston should be 6-0, and may very well cakewalk to 10-0.
2. SMU Mustangs (4-1, 2-0) Last Week: (W) @ No. 20 TCU, This Week: Bye
There had been plenty of questions about the Mustangs going into Saturday, but they answered those by knocking off No. 20 TCU in the Horned Frogs stadium. Things won't be getting any easier for the Mustangs though as after the bye they take on UCF at home, before hitting the road to take on Southern Miss and Tulsa. But, this win was a great start, and if they can continue their 4 game win streak it may set up a great game for C-USA West come week 11 at Houston.
3. Southern Miss Golden Eagles (4-1, 1-1) Last Week: (W) vs. Rice, This Week: @ Navy
The Golden Eagles seem to finally have things going. They struggled a bit in the opening weeks against La Tech and Marshall, but they've reeled off three in a row including Saturday's 48-24 win over Rice, and really have an opportunity to stake a claim in the coming weeks against Navy and SMU. If they can win those, most people's preseason projections may not be so far off.
4. UCF Knights (2-2, 0-0) Last Week: Bye, This Week: vs. Marshall
The Knights started off the season looking strong, but dropped two in a row to Florida International and BYU, before their bye week this past week. They held on to their no. 2 spot in conference last week, because no one really deserved to be put ahead of them. That's not true anymore, and if the Knights lose this week against a very erratic Marshall team, they could find themselves much further down this list than anyone thought coming into the season.
5. Tulsa Golden Hurricane (2-3, 1-0) Last Week: (W) vs. North Texas, This Week: vs. UAB
The Golden Hurricane took care of North Texas over the weekend, but it still doesn't answer how good they'll be in Conference USA. But, they now take on UAB and Rice, which are two of the worst teams in conference, so they could easily find themselves at 4-3 and 3-0. In fact, they should definitely find themselves with that record, and from there we'll find out how they fare against SMU, UCF, Marshall, UTEP, and Houston.
6. Marshall Thundering Herd (2-3, 1-0) Last Week: (W) @ Louisville, This Week: @ UCF
Marshall continued their up and down season on Saturday with a great win on the road over Louisville. Now, Louisville is only 2-2 with a 21-9 win over Murray St., and a 24-17 win over Kentucky, but still it was a good win for the Herd. They now head to Orlando to take on a slumping UCF team in a game that could give them a leg up on the top two teams in the East division of C-USA.
7. UTEP Miners (2-3, 0-2) Last Week: (L) vs. Houston, This Week: Bye
I'm not budging on my Miners. They may have lost to Houston, but they gave the Cougars all they could handle. The Miners have also past arguably the hardest part of their schedule, and get a chance to heal up and rest, before taking on Tulane and Colorado St. Those two games are very winnable, and could get the Miners to 4-3 while giving them some confidence before taking on Southern Miss and Rice.
8. East Carolina Pirates (1-3, 1-0) Last Week: (L) vs. North Carolina, This Week: @ Houston
My surprise team this year has certainly been a surprise. The Pirate are now 1-3 on the season, and really are lucky to even have that one. ECU lost to a good North Carolina team on Saturday in a game that in ways the Pirates really needed. They now travel Houston, Memphis, and Navy in the next three weeks, and could very easily find themselves at 2-5 with five games to play, and Southern Miss, UTEP, UCF, and Marshall still to come. Good luck with that.
9. Rice Owls (1-3, 0-1) Last Week: (L) @ Southern Miss, This Week: vs. Memphis
This may sound a little harsh, but if I could put the Owls any lower I would. The other three teams just make an amazing case for worst in C-USA. The Owls lost to Southern Miss on Saturday in a game where they were absolutely dominated. Sure they were in it for a while, but just look at this: Total Yards- 654 to 229, First Downs- 33 to 15, Rushing Yards- 370 to 33. Do I really need to go on? They're just lucky the Golden Eagles were so sloppy with 4 turnovers, or this game really might have gotten out of control. I'm sure Rice fans everywhere are just happy to see Memphis on the schedule this week.
10. Tulane Green Wave (2-3, 1-1) Last Week: (L) @ Army, This Week: vs. Syracuse
The Green Wave are another team that if I could, I would put lower. They absolutely got dominated by Army, and even though normally it wouldn't be the worst thing, this is definitely a down year for Army. Tulane was held to 74 yards passing, and 199 total yards. Up next are home games against Syracuse and UTEP, so this team may find themselves at 2-5 in a hurry. Things aren't looking so good in New Orleans.
11A. UAB Blazers (0-4, 0-2) Last Week: (L) @ Troy, This Week: vs. Mississippi St.
Ok its time. I've held off putting the Blazers in last position, but they leave me with no choice. Saturday they lost to Troy, dropping them to 0-4 on the season. Troy is actually a decent team, but at some point you've gotta come up with a win. The bad thing for the Blazers is that their next three games are vs. Mississippi St., at Tulsa, and vs. UCF. This team will likely be 0-7, and at that point, they will longer be 11a, they'll be all alone in 12th.
11B. Memphis Tigers (1-4, 0-1) Last Week: (L) @ Middle Tennessee, This Week: @ Rice
The Tigers did a good job of staying competitive at Middle Tennessee. That brought them from 12th, up a bit to 11B. Up next is a trip to Houston to take on the Rice Owls. Although I think it'll likely be a loss for the Tigers, they should stay competitive, and at the least give themselves a shot. But, their chances at wins are wearing thin now. Really, its down to Rice, Tulane, and UAB. Other than that, its looking like certain losses for the Tigers.