This weekend did not have many overly compelling matchups so it is unsurprising that there were a couple of upsets. Even then, they were not so amazing which is partly a testament to the parity in this league. Mostly, we saw the two division leaders display why they are leading the charge even if they did not oerly impress.
Let us see where the league’s beat writers rank the teams. There were eight submissions this week.
First place votes in ‘()’.
## 1. UAB 5-0, 7-1 — Last week 1st
The Blazers won 19-0, which would be impressive in perhaps 1977 and especially so if the Miners were good. Still, the shutout was the third on the season and the second in the conference — including the division! The fact is that the Blazers’ defense is really good and racked up the second saftey in two games. Having beaten the best offense in the league two weeks ago, who can stand in their way? AJ Erdely and company simply need to put enough points on the board to win things.
2. FIU 4-0, 6-2 — Last week 2nd
I can foresee a scenario wherein the Panthers can conjur enough offense to topple the Blazers — especially if UAB is kind of stuck in neutral like they were against the Miners. James Morgan is a good QB and FIU have enough weapons to make it tough on any team. Right now, the big rivalry game is coming up. FAU is out of contention, but Middle, Marshall are waiting.
3. Louisiana Tech 4-1, 6-2 — Last week 3rd
Tech had an ugly victory on the road against a turnover-prone FAU. Tech allowed Motor Singletary to run wild but still managed to win thanks to some amazing plays from the WRs — again. When Vegas (and this site) picked Tech to win the division, the talent on the roster is what they were thinking of. Execution is valuable but there is little answer for talent. Tech has enough that can carry it through some relatively poor performances. As it stands, the Bulldogs need UAB to lose two of the following: UTSA, Southern Miss, MTSU
4. North Texas 3-2, 7-2 — Last week 5th.
There is a school of thought that says North Texas having played nine straight weeks of football is some of the cause of the (slight) malaise. The offensive line cannot keep Mason Fine upright — even on successful plays — and that is taking a toll. DeAndre Torrey exploded for big yards and four TDs. That’s a bright spot. North Texas is playing for a program-first 10 wins these next few weeks.
5. MTSU 4-1, 5-3 — Last week 6th
Middle dominated Old Dominion, and looked much better than last week. Now we know that Charlotte is to be taken more seriously. If FIU slips in the final game against Marshall, we could see a three-way tie. Right now, an easy game against WKU (should be) before a trip to El Paso. That one could be tricky.
6. Marshall 3-1, 5-2 — Last week 4th.
A bye week and the Herd fall two spots? What is this? Well, I would complain further on behalf of the Green but I voted them sixth, also. The thinking (for me at least) is that Marshall needs some help and they have to play in Miami. Middle beat them, and these are Power Rankings.
7. Charlotte 3-2, 4-4 — Last week 9th
Count me among the surprised to see Southern Miss handled relatively easily. Then again, Jack Abraham’s interception propensity was noted here previously. Juwon Fogie grabbed two picks as Charlotte beat USM. The 49ers have beaten ODU and WKU, two bad teams, and USM, a team in a rebuild. That is certainly enough to call Charlotte “not bad” but not necessarily “good”. The 9ers play at Tennessee and then at Marshall. Then we’ll know.
8. Southern Miss 2-2, 3-4 — Last week 7th
We were not on the Golden Eagle bandwagon but we had to tweet the reality: USM was good enough to steal a game and make things interesting. Unfortunately that is out of the realm of probablity now after a bad loss on the road. As usual, there will be a game for every team in which the worst tendencies are highly present: in this case it was interceptions.
9. FAU 1-3, 3-5 — Last week 8th
Whatever you think of Mike Sanford at WKU, he predicted this Owl downfall accurately. Well, to be clear he said that there were a load of changes so he thought it was not going to be as easy in year two. From the looks of things, FAU is a QB away from being good again. The last two losses can be clearly pinned on QB play. Still, there are some discipline issues that can be chalked up to coaching.
10. UTSA 2-2, 3-5 — Last week 10th
The Roadrunners were on a bye. Now they get to go to Birmingham.
11. Old Dominion 1-5, 2-7 — Last week 11th
The Monarchs were rolled at home. This blog thought we’d see something like a team playing Spoiler. Welp. A bye week this week before hosting North Texas
12. Rice 0-5, 1-8 — Last week 13th
The Owls went toe-to-toe with the Mean Green in Denton on Homecoming for a while. It was 17-17 into the third quarter before Mason Fine and company exploded for points. There is a lot of work to do in Houston, still.
13. WKU 0-4, 1-7 — Last week 13th
Methinks that when the Miners win a game, they will leap frog this Hilltopper team. WKU has the second-most last-place votes (3).
14. UTEP 0-4, 0-8 — Last week 14th
Despite all the mentions of how improved the Miners look, they still were scoreless in front of an empty stadium. Wins will change things and at least one looks like it will come soon, but until it does the Miners are setting bad records. Next week, UTEP travels to Rice for a winnable game.