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Conference USA Football Power Rankings: Week 5

Four weeks down, and not much has changed in Conference USA. Top rated ECU was off last week, and second in line Marshall fell at Virginia Tech. Others came up with some much needed wins, but we'll see if it was enough to shake up our Week 5 Power Rankings.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

14. [6 pts] FIU Golden Panthers (0-4) Last: (L) @ #7 Louisville 72-0, Up Next: BYE

In case you didn't know. That isn't a typo in the line above. FIU went on the road last week and lost to #7 Louisville 72-0. The Panthers managed just 2 first downs, and only 30 total yards in Saturday's contest. Granted, the Cardinals are one of the nation's best teams, and statistically one of the best defenses as well, but 30 yards against anyone is just flat out dreadful. Things have gone from bad to worst in Ron Turner's first year, and there's nothing to show that anything will change anytime soon. They'll have the week off before heading to Hattiesburg to take on Southern Miss.

PaydirtRenzo says: "It's hard to find another team in division 1 that is off to a worse start than FIU. I'd be really surprised by this point if they didn't finish 0-12."

13. [13 pts] Southern Miss. Golden Eagles (0-3) Last: BYE, Up Next: @ Boise State

The Golden Eagles enjoyed the week off last week, and because we've seen absolutely no improvement from FIU, they maintain their 13th spot in these rankings. This week they'll head to Boise to take on the on the Broncos, and then they'll return home for a likely "battle of the winless" against FIU.

JaredKalmus says: "638 days since Southern Miss won a football game."

12. [23 pts] Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (1-3, 0-1) Last: (L) @ Kansas 13-10, Up Next: vs. Army

The Bulldogs had a prime opportunity to pick up a huge road win against the Big 12's Kansas Jayhawks. But, it wasn't meant to be as running back Kenneth Dixon coughed up the ball at the KU five yard line with only a minute and a half to play. Instead of La Tech lining up for a game winning field goal, Kansas took the ball 60 yards on 8 plays and knocked through a game winner of their own. The loss has to be a deflating one, but they did show improvement on both sides of the ball. We'll see if they can carry that over into this week's contest against Army.

Ze Martino says: "They have fallen off since Sonny Dykes dipped out. Kansas got its first FBS win in two years against them. I think Sonny Dykes-coached-LaTech would have throttled KU. Only win vs an FCS team."

T-10. [28 pts] Florida Atlantic Owls (1-3, 0-2) Last: (L) vs. MTSU 42-35 OT, Up Next: @ Rice

The Owls continued to impress, relatively speaking, as they gave Middle Tennessee all the could handle Saturday, and once again showed they won't be an easy out for anyone in this league. FAU stood toe to toe with one of the better teams in the conference, and even outdid them on the stat sheet, 503 yards to 446 and 28 first down to 21, but the most glaring statistic was the Owls' five turnovers, to just two for the Blue Raiders. Still though they hung tough, and could possibly use that as a confidence builder moving forward. Tough thing for them is they've got three of their next four on the road. This week, they're at Rice.

JaredKalmus says: "While the Owls' record is just 1-3, they have improved with each game. FAU could put themselves on the C-USA map with an upset of Rice this week."

T-10. [28 pts] UAB Blazers (1-2) Last: (W) vs. Northwestern State 52-28, Up Next: @ Vanderbilt

The Blazers picked up a much needed win over the weekend, their first on the season, at home against Northwestern State. They racked up better than 450 yards of total offense, and really had this one in hand by the half. But, while getting that win is great, the've got to find a way to get those W's against more formidable opponents. They'll have an opportunity to get one of those this week at Vanderbilt, but the true test will come in the weeks that follow as they'll open up C-USA play with FAU and FIU. The Blazers may have struggled to now, but we can't count them out in this conference just yet.

MinerLeagueAROD says: "Darrin Reaves finally got going, but a W against a FCS will keep you put. Will see if Reaves and QB Austin Brown can hang against Vandy."

9. [32 pts] UTEP Miners (1-2, 0-1) Last: (L) vs. UTSA 32-13, Up Next: @ Colorado State

The Miners opened up Conference USA with a tough home loss to rising UTSA. Truth be told, it was an awful performance by the Miners, and it leaves them hanging in the top 10 of these rankings by a thread. Entering the game, they were one of the nation's top rushing offenses, and one of the better overall offenses in the league. They showed none of that against the Roadrunners, managing just 218 yards of total offense, only 13 first downs, and just six offensive points. Bottom line, the Miners were flat, and just had no answer for anything UTSA brought. Everyone is entitled to an off game, but any more of those, and this season could be in serious jeopardy. Up next, they're at Colorado State.

PaydirtRenzo says: "Man, oh man."

8. [42 pts] Tulane Green Wave (2-2, 1-0) Last: (L) @ Syracuse 52-17, Up Next: @ Louisiana-Monroe

It seems the Green Wave's two early wins were more a product of their weak opposition, more than just how much the team has improved. After all, those wins came against a non-Division I opponent, and a struggling La Tech. Saturday, against a middle of the road AAC team in Syracuse, they were absolutely blown out of the water. Tulane gave up 42 first half points to the Orangemen, and were shut out in the second half. Things won't be getting any easier for this team as they continue a tough five game stretch. Up next they're at ULM, before returning home to take on UNT, ECU, and Tulsa.

Ze Martino says: "That win over LaTech doesn't look so impressive. Loss vs USA, win vs Jackson St aren't either. Syracuse loss was bad."

7. [47 pts] Tulsa Golden Hurricane (1-2) Last: BYE, Up Next: vs. Iowa State

The Golden Hurricane enter week 5 off a bye, and despite staying in the top half of these rankings, they still hold just a 1-2 record. Their last time out they were outmatched by nationally ranked Oklahoma, but their lone win against Colorado State is looking a little better after the Rams' showing against #1 Alabama. Tulsa will have an opportunity to step forward as a contender in C-USA in the coming weeks, as they take on Iowa State and Rice at home in the next two.

PaydirtRenzo says: "I'm keeping Tulsa in the middle of the pack after a bye week. They've got a big Thursday night game at home against Iowa State."

6. [57 pts] UTSA Roadrunners (2-2, 1-0) Last: (W) @ UTEP 32-13, Up Next: vs. Houston

The Roadrunners came through with an impressive win at UTEP in their first ever Conference USA game. Despite being down 10-7 after the first quarter, UTSA stuck to the game plan and simply outclassed a flat UTEP squad. They racked up better than 300 total yards in the first half, and despite the Miners having their chances to close the gap in the second half, the win was never really in doubt in the second thirty minutes. The victory was a nice start to the C-USA slate, but they'll have to continue to play at a high level if they have any aspirations of truly being a contender in the west. This week, they wrap up their non-conference slate with a tough home game against former C-USA power Houston.

JaredKalmus says: "The Runners traveled to El Paso to begin their foray into Conference USA. It only took a quarter and a half for UTSA to prove that they belong. UTSA held UTEP to zero offensive touchdowns and set a new school record for total yards at halftime."

5. [61 pts] North Texas Mean Green (2-2) Last: (L) @ #9 Georgia 45-21, Up Next: BYE

The Mean Green put up a good showing on the road, in SEC country over the weekend, hanging with nationally ranked Georgia for about three quarters. In fact, the game was knotted at 21 early in third, before the Bulldogs finally ran away with it. It wasn't an overly impressive performance statistically, but the North Texas defense played well for the majority of the game, and the offense was able to make the most of its opportunities. If they put up efforts like that in C-USA play, they'll definitely be a team that competes in the west. This week they've got a bye, before heading to New Orleans for what many will consider a must win.

Ze Martino says: "Beat a bad Idaho team, nearly knocked off Ohio after shooting selves in the foot. Comeback win vs Ball St and scrappy showing vs #9 Georgia. Offense is methodical, defense is aggressive but/and gives up big plays"

4. [65 pts] Rice Owls (1-2) Last: (L) vs. Houston* 31-26, Up Next: vs. FAU

The Owls drop back a spot in the rankings after their narrow loss to crosstown rival Houston. Rice was able to control the time of possession, and put up 463 total yards, but they were actually trailing 31-13 early in the fourth, before making a run to make the score a bit more respectable. They also had two opportunities late in the game to put together a drive for the go ahead score, but they failed to do so. Houston is a good ball club, so the loss isn't a terrible one, but the problem is they're about to hit a tough stretch with four of five on the road. Considering that, they can ill afford to give away any more close ones. This week they'll take on a pesky FAU squad before entering that road stretch.

JaredKalmus says: "It's getting tough to gauge this Rice team. The Owls looked salty against A&M before struggling against Kansas and losing to Houston. Preseason rust or overrated?"

3. [70 pts] Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (3-1, 1-0) Last: (W) @ FAU 42-35, Up Next: @ BYU

The Blue Raiders came up with a much needed win on the road, against an FAU squad that is starting to seem like a fairly tough out. It did take overtime to get that win, but in the end, a win is a win, especially in conference on the road. The Raiders gave up more than 500 yards to the FAU offense, but luckily they also came away with five turnovers. The defense can't always expect to come away with so many takeaways, nor can they expect their offense to put 42 points on a weekly basis. They've got to sure that unit up, but either way, at this point this is one of the better teams in the league. This week they'll be tested with a trip to Provo to take on BYU.

PaydirtRenzo says: "I'm still not convinced MTSU is talented enough to win C-USA, but they have been catching some breaks with a 3-1 early start AND they host Marshall and ECU later this season. If they could win one of those games, they could be a darkhorse contender in the East."

2. [77 pts - 1 FPV] Marshall Thundering Herd (2-2) Last: (L) @ Virginia Tech, Up Next: BYE

The Thundering Herd took a tough triple overtime loss on the road to Virginia Tech on Saturday. They actually took the lead 21-14 with 9:00 to go in the second quarter, and nearly held that lead for the rest of the contest. However, the Hokies converted a 4th and 9 from the 12, and a 4th and goal from the 2 (on a tipped pass), and tied the game late in the fourth to send it to overtime. The two teams played two scoreless extra frames, but it was Va Tech who would score in the third to seal the win. It can't be understated just how poor the playing conditions were for nearly the entirety of the game as it was pouring rain. Still though, at some point, the Herd just have to start learning how to win the close game. That's what good teams do. In no way is time to panic in Huntington, but they've got to get back on track next week against UTSA. This week they're off.

GoHerd says: "Really hard to say how our overall game went against VT because it was POURING the rain for the entire second half and all 3 OT's so I'm unfairly comparing our first half vs ECU's game against VT to determine these top 2. We were up 21-14 at the half on the road and ECU lost at home 15-10. Unfair, I admit, but still not a ton to go on to clarify this conference as a whole."

1. [83 pts - 5 FPV] East Carolina Pirates (2-1, 1-0) Last: BYE, Up Next: @ North Carolina

For the fourth straight week, the Pirates maintain the top spot in Conference USA. They enjoyed a bye over the weekend, but will be put right to the test this week with a tough matchup against North Carolina. This week also marks the start of a stretch of three straight road games. At this point, its virtually unanimous that the Pirates are the top team in this conference. But there's no question they've got their work cut out for them if they want to stay there.

MinerLeagueAROD says: "Big road test, Carden gets the offense going again 44-35 ECU"

Once again, here's a look at some of the statistical bests and worsts in Conference USA.

Top Scoring Offense: Marshall - 29th - 39.8 ppg

Worst Scoring Offense: FIU - 125th - 5.8 ppg

Top Rushing Offense: UTEP & Rice - 32nd - 224 ypg

Worst Rushing Offense: FIU - 125th - 48.75 ypg

Top Passing Offense: Marshall - 27th - 291.5 ypg

Worst Passing Offense: FIU - 122nd - 101.3 ypg

Top Total Offense: Marshall - 28th- 485.8 ypg

Worst Total Offense: FIU - 124th - 150 ypg

Top Scoring Defense: Marshall - 33rd - 19.3 ppg

Worst Scoring Defense: FIU - 124th - 46.8 ppg

Top Rushing Defense: ECU - 10th - 82.33 ypg

Worst Rushing Defense: FIU - 114th - 234.25 ypg

Top Passing Defense: Southern Miss - 4th - 132.3 ypg

Worst Passing Defense: Middle Tennessee - 106th - 281.3 ypg

Top Total Defense: Marshall - 15th - 285 ypg

Worst Total Defense: North Texas - 114th - 487 ypg