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Conference USA Football Power Rankings: Week 6

Week 6 marks the first time all year there are seven conference games on the Saturday slate, including four first time match-ups. Its finally time to see some C-USA squads square off and settle the talk. Lets see how the C-USA stacks up this week.

Chris Graythen

14. FIU Golden Panthers (0-4) Last: BYE, Up Next: @ So Miss

The young Panthers enjoyed a week off after one of the worst starts in NCAA history. 22 players have made their first career starts this season. There might be some relief with a "winnable" game against So Miss. Jake Medlock suffered a concusion and sophmore E.J. Hillard made his first career start, and accounted for all of FIU's 27 yards of offense. The Panthers did win the time of possession vs Louisville, though the Cards had 10 scoring drives to the Panthers 11 punts. Ron Turner has his hands full, someone has to get a W in Hattiesburg.

13. Southern Miss. Golden Eagles (0-4) Last: (L) 60-7 @ Boise State, Up Next: Vs. FIU

The only good news last week for the Golden Eagles was being able to hang with Boise into the 2nd quarter. Their only close game was a 22-15 L to Texas State (UTSA fan enter jab here). This week is the "Toilet Bowl" of the Power Rankings one of these teams has to show life, its only going to get harder as conference heats up. Is Brett Farve coming off that tractor to save the program?

AROD' Sharp Pick: So. Miss 24 FIU 13

12. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (1-4, 0-1) Last: (L) 35-16 Vs. Army, Up Next: at UTEP

The Bulldogs were gashed and trashed for 414 yards on the ground against the triple-action run by Army last week. I.K. Enemkpali leads a defense against a potentially potent running attack this week in the Sun Bowl. Skip Holtz is 3-0 all time vs UTEP, a W against an old LA Tech WAC rival will give him three wins with different schools against the Miners. LA Tech is young and raw and will probably live here at the bottom of the rankings the rest of the season. Do not count Holtz out Tech fans you guy will be back in a couple of years, hopefully.

11. UTEP Miners (1-3, 0-1) Last: (L) Vs. 59-42 @ Colorado State, Up Next: Vs. LA Tech

Sean Kugler said at his weekly presser that the Miners need to win one for the home folks on homecoming. Look for the Miners to finally, and possibly put together a complete game against a struggling LA Tech. If Nathan Jeffery and L.A. Dowell do come back 100%, the Miners should put up a lot of points, but at the same time this has been a hard team to figure out with all the struggles defensively. Jameill Showers set career highs in passing yards, and TD's. The added confidence from that and the hot two game start, mixed with his alpha-dog winning attitude, look for Showers to take this team over.

AROD's Sharp Pick: UTEP 40 LA TECH 27

10. Florida Atlantic Owls (1-4, 0-3) Last: (L) 18-14 @ Rice , Up Next: @ UAB

Ahough they have a terrible record, they have been getting better each week. If it weren't for a late pick, FAU would have pulled off a huge upset against Rice. They've had a tough schedule so far this season and it will not get easier. When William Dukes gets going watch out, the Owls are not going to easy to beat going forward, even though they will not be bowling or close to it this year.

9. UAB Blazers (1-3) Last: (L) 52-24 @ Vanderbilt, Up Next: Vs. Florida Atlantic

The Blazer D was gashed for over 500 yards and big play after big play versus Vandy. Senior Jonathan Perry came off the bench, meaning a possible QB switch this week. The schedule will ease up to begin conference play in the first two weeks, then we can really measure up UAB when they meet UTSA. But for now UAB will need to take care of business, and without Austin Brown I don't like their chances.

AROD's Sharp Pick: FAU 31 UAB 27

8. Tulsa Golden Hurricane (1-3) Last: (L) 38-21 Vs. Iowa State, Up Next: Vs. Rice.

Bill Blakenship lost to a Big 12 team for the 2nd week in a row. The Hurricane just need to find more ways to get Trey Watts the ball, they have played their best when they utilize him. Cody Green has struggled and to me has been an issue, this week will really be a test of heart for our pre-season beauty. A loss this week against Rice would be ugly for a program that had high hopes coming into 2013. The rest of the schedule is nothing but C-USA play, so don't be surprised to see a run by them, but so far its not looking good.

7. Tulane Green Wave (3-2, 1-0) Last: (L) 31-14 @ Louisana-Monroe, Up Next: Vs. North Texas

The Wave ran for a season-high 253 yards vs Louisana-Monore lead by Orleans Darkwa with 118 of those yards. The defense has also improved, forcing five turnovers. The real test will be this week against a very good North Texas. Look for Darkwa to get a lot more touches this week in hopes of slowing the game down, should be a good game at the Superdome.

6. UTSA Roadrunners (2-3, 1-0) Last: (L) 59-28 Vs. Houston, Up Next: @ Marshall

The Runners played Houston tough, trailing 31-28 heading into the 4th. Then Houston began picking apart the secondary putting up 21 points in the fourth, and the defense put it away with a pick 6. Eric Soza hit 14 different receivers, and UTSA now has a streak of 9 straight TD drives of 70 yards. UTSA will be a contender in the west, this week they face a huge road test vs Marshall.

5. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (3-2, 1-0) Last: (L) 37-10 @ BYU, Up Next: Vs. East Carolina

The Blue Raiders were dominated in the 2nd half on national TV vs BYU. The lone bright spot was what they did on defense, forcing 5 BYU turnovers. Logan Kilgore who had a decent start, and was flat out horrible versus a very physical BYU squad. That defense will be tested this week against ECU's video game offense. Kilgore will have to put up numbers if the Blue Raiders want to have a chance. They will definitely need more than the 200 yards they had last week to keep it close.

4. North Texas Mean Green (2-2) Last: Bye, Up Next: @ Tulane

North Texas will play their ever first C-USA game on the road versus Tulane. After getting a week of looking at the good and bad film of their good effort against the Georgia Bulldogs, they have to be eager to get back out and open conference play. Brelan Chancellor is really a difference maker, but the defense has given up a lot of points and yards. Another measuring stick game for a C-USA West contender, can they stop the Tulane run game?

AROD's Sharp Pick: North Texas 34 Tulane 20

3. Rice Owls (2-2) Last: (W) 18-14 Vs. FAU, Up Next: @ Tulsa

The next three games, all on the road will tell how this good this Rice team really is. Taylor McHargue had a terrible last game last week and they will tested against Tulsa in the C-USA West game of the week. The offense has not lived up to what was believed to be one of the last typical C-USA offensive machines. Two struggling offenses meet in a game that could get either team going in the right direction heading into a streak of conference games.

AROD's Sharp Pick: Rice 31 Tulsa 24

2. Marshall Thundering Herd (2-2) Last: Bye, Up Next: Vs. UTSA

Rakeem Cato comes into this game having thrown a TD pass in 22 straight games and can the tie longest streak ever in NCAA history versus UTSA. He also leds an offense that leads C-USA in total offense, and is looking like the MVP he was from a year ago. Their defense will be tested by the crafty Roadrunner offense. Very good game this week might be a lot of points put in a high flying shoot out or a Marshall blowout win.

AROD's Sharp Pick. Marshall 45 UTSA 35

1. East Carolina Pirates (3-1, 1-0) Last: (W) 55-31 @ North Carolina, Up Next: @ Middle Tennessee State

Shane Carden was in all conference form and Vintavious Cooper ran for a career-high 186 yards for the Pirates, who had lost to the Tar Heels in each of the past four seasons, coming all by at 14 points or more. The will have to continue to stay hot as their next two are on the road. If Carden can stay hot, and Ruffin McNeil's defense can keep them in games, the Pirates could run that record up to at least 7-1.

AROD's Sharp Pick: ECU 42 MTSU 28