After 2 weeks of football, only 3 C-USA teams have a record that's not 1-1 (Marshall is the lone undefeated, and FAU and Rice are still winless). The conference is as even as it can be after preseason favorite Marshall, and it's not just because of the records. More than half the league played teams from "bigger" name conferences and almost all of them held their own. Here's how the Rush stacks them up after Week 2:
|RushRank||Team||Record||Last Week||This Week||Last Week's Ranking|
|1||Marshall Thundering Herd||2-0||Won, 48-7 vs Rhode Island||vs Ohio, Saturday||#1|
|2||UTSA Roadrunners||1-1||Lost, 26-23 vs Arizona||at Oklahoma State, Saturday||#3 (up 1)|
|3||Western Kentucky Hilltoppers||1-1||Lost, 42-34 at Illinois||at Middle Tennessee, Saturday||#4 (up 1)|
|4||North Texas Mean Green||1-1||Won, 43-6 vs SMU||vs Louisiana Tech, Thursday||#6 (up 2)|
|5||UTEP Miners||1-1||Lost, 30-26 vs Texas Tech||vs New Mexico State, Saturday||#7 (up 2)|
|6||Rice Owls||0-1||BYE||at Texas A&M, Saturday||#5 (down 1)|
|7||Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders||1-1||Lost, 35-24 at Minnesota||vs Western Kentucky, Saturday||#2 (down 5)|
|8||Louisiana Tech Bulldogs||1-1||Won, 48-20 at UL Lafayette||at North Texas, Thursday||#10 (up 2)|
|9||UAB Blazers||1-1||Lost, 47-34 at Mississippi State||vs Alabama A&M, Saturday||#9|
|10||Old Dominion Monarchs||1-1||Lost, 34-46 at NC State||vs Eastern Michigan, Saturday||#11 (up 1)|
|11||Southern Miss Golden Eagles||1-1||Won, 26-20 vs Alcorn State||at #3 Alabama, Saturday||#12 (up 1)|
|12||Florida Atlantic Owls||0-2||Lost, 41-0 at Alabama||vs Tulsa, Saturday||#8 (down 4)|
|13||FIU Golden Panthers||1-1||Won, 34-3 vs Wagner||vs Pittsburgh, Saturday||#13|
The team with big expectations in C-USA, Marshall scored 40+ points for the second straight week as they pounded FCS team Rhode Island at home. They gear up for former MAC rivals Ohio next week. The Bobcats can be pesky, but Marshall looks like the class of the conference even through the weak opening schedule. The Herd makes up Tier 1 in C-USA football all by themselves, for now.
Tier 2 in C-USA is crowded with teams #2-10. UTSA, Western Kentucky, UTEP, MTSU, UAB, and Old Dominion all played big conference schools and all gave their opponents more than they expected. Perhaps most impressive was UTSA, losing by only a field goal to an Arizona team some people were expecting to make a jump this year. We'll include Rice in this second tier as well, even though their winless because their only chance on the field so far has come to what now looks like a really good Notre Dame team. The early going doesn't get easier for the Owls as they face Texas A&M this week. They may be battle-tested entering C-USA play. North Texas and Louisiana Tech are the only "tier 2" teams that won this past weekend, bouncing back after opening week losses. How good did C-USA feel as a whole watching UNT smack SMU? The Mean Green was a direct replacement for the Mustangs in terms of market and at least on Saturday that looked like a favorable exchange for C-USA. Tier 2 will get much clearer in Week 3 as Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee rekindle their heated rivalry to open up conference play and North Texas hosts La Tech on a Thursday night.
Tier 3 is comprised of Southern Miss, Florida Atlantic and FIU. Southern Miss and FIU are 1-1 as well, but can't be placed in tier 2 because Southern Miss eeked by Alcorn State of the SWAC at home and because that week 1 FIU loss to Bethune-Cookman can't completely be washed away by a drubbing of Wagner. FAU might still be a solid team and could likely bump into tier 2 as the season progresses, but as of now they've been outscored 96-7 after two games. Yes, they've had BY FAR the hardest schedule so far (at Nebraska, at Alabama), but 96-7 after 8 quarters can't get you anywhere but the bottom in a power ranking.
Offensive Player of the Week: Rakeem Cato, QB Marshall
A week after throwing for 3 tds and rushing for 1, Cato goes 15 of 29 for 267 and 2 TDs and rushed for 143 yards and 1 TD. On the season that's 5 passing touchdowns and 2 rushing. If C-USA had a fantasy draft, he'd be a lock as the top pick.
Defensive Player of the Week: Richard Leonard, CB FIU
This might be the only chance we get all season to name an FIU Panther as the defensive player of the week. Richard Leonard had a sweet pick 6 for 60 yards and returned 3 kicks for 36 yards. Let's give it to him.
Special Teams Player of the Week: Trevor Moore, K North Texas
Lots of electric kick returners in C-USA, but a kicker gets this week's nod for special teams. Not because of a game-winner. The UNT-SMU beatdown had none of those. Moore simply gets tabbed for volume. Accounted for 17 of UNT's 43 points on 5 of 5 field goals, two of which were longer than 40 yards.