Just as most of us thought LA Tech would be a contender in the West, Northwestern State showed their best C-USA audition to replace FIU with a 30-27 upset in the Dogs' house.
Marshall is starting to look like a number one team, but so is Old Dominion, at least offensively the Monarchs are.
Was very impressed with the Monarchs offense, though the defense needs some work on disrupting rhythms if they want to knock off Middle Tennessee this Friday. ODU also sported some clean white and blue helmets that were All-American material.
As for the Blue Raiders, I had them upsetting Memphis, though only nine of their drives on offense resulted in 20 yards or less. Receiver Demetrius Fraizer had a breakout game against Memphis, though I can see Middle Tennessee improve on their rushing numbers once conference play starts with Reggie Whatley.
Is Rice really that bad, or just beat up from a tough early schedule? We will find out this week as the Owls should beat Southern Miss. Old Dominion exposed the Owls' secondary, hard to see that happening the rest of the conference schedule. The Owls health is a huge question going forward IMO.
I think this week is a huge contender test for a battle tested UTSA squad. Not the start most Runner fans visioned, though I think FAU will give them all they can handle, field position and turnovers will decide this interesting conference opener.
Here are my games to keep an eye on this week:
Middle Tennessee at Old Dominion, Fri, 7 p.m. Central, Fox Sports 1
UTSA at FAU, Saturday, 4 p.m. Central
Western Kentucky at Navy, Saturday, 2:30 pm Central, CBS Sports Network
Upset Alert: UTSA, Navy,
MinerRush C-USA Players of The Week:
Offense: Taylor Heinicke, Old Dominion
Defense: Dasman McCullum, So. Miss
Special Teams: Greg Joseph, FAU
|RushRank (Points)||Team||Record||Last Week||This Week||Last Week's Ranking|
|1. (39)||Marshall Thundering Herd||4-0||Won, 48-17 vs Akron||Bye||#1|
|2. (34)||UTSA Roadrunners||1-2||Bye||@ FAU, Saturday||#5|
|3. (33)||Old Dominion Monarchs||3-1, (1-0)||Won, 45-42 @ Rice||vs. MTSU, Saturday||#10|
|4. (28)||Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders||2-2, (1-0)||Lost, 36-17 @ Memphis||@ Old Dominion, Friday||#3|
|5. (27)||UTEP Miners||2-1||Bye||@ #25 Kansas State, Saturday||#6|
|6. (25)||Western Kentucky Hilltoppers||1-2, (0-1)||Bye||@ Navy, Saturday||#4|
|7. (23)||UAB Blazers||2-1||Bye||vs. FIU, Saturday||#7|
|8. (17)||North Texas Mean Green||2-2, (0-1)||Won, 77-3 vs Nicholls State||Bye||#9|
|9. (16)||Louisiana Tech Bulldogs||2-2, (1-0)||Lost, 30-27 vs Northwestern State||@ Auburn, Saturday||#2|
|10. (12)||Florida Atlantic Owls||1-3||Lost, 20-19 @ Wyoming||vs. UTSA, Saturday||#8|
|11. (9)||Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles||2-2||Won, 21-20, vs. Appalachian State||vs. Rice, Saturday||#12|
|12. (7)||Rice Owls||0-3||Lost, 45-42, vs. Old Dominion||@ Southern Miss. Saturday||#11|
|13. (3)||Florida International Golden Panthers||1-3||Lost, 34-3, vs. Louisville||@ UAB, Saturday||#13|
|Dropped Out: Louisiana Tech, Utah State, San Diego State, Bowling Green | Others Receiving Votes: UTEP (33), Houston (26), San Diego State (22), Louisiana-Monroe (17), Arkansas State (17), Georgia Southern (13), Air Force (11), Utah state (10), Bowling Green (10), Middle Tennessee (7), Toledo (6), WMU (3), North Texas (2), Texas State (2), Louisiana Tech (1)|