A note on the new format: Instead of harassing 15-20 writers over the weekend and people still thinking the resulting ranking was all CR, we have dispensed with the votes and will be doing a poll of one.
First, some superlatives:
Highest Scoring Team of the Week: Marshall 56 vs VMI
Lowest Scoring Team of the Week: Rice 7 vs Army
Best Scoring Defense of the Week: UTSA 7 vs UIW
Worst Scoring Defense of the Week: 45 – FAU (OSU) / LaTech (Texas)
Most Total Yards: Marshall 620 vs VMI
Lowest Total Yards: FAU 228 vs OSU
Least Yards Allowed: 2019 – UTSA vs UIW
Most Yards Allowed: 545 – FIU vs Tulane
Most Rush Yards: Gaej Walker, WKU 152 on 19 carries
Most Pass Yards: Mason Fine, UNT 383 on 28/37 4 TDs 1 INT
Most Receiving Yards: Rico Bussey, UNT with 156 on 4 grabs
CR’s OPOTW: Jason Pirtle, UNT with 3 TD grabs in 4 catches for 88 yards.
CR’s DPOTW: Anthony Montero, 11 tackles vs Army.
CR’s STPOTW: Jaylond Adams , 1 KR TD 1 PR TD
Now then, let us rank the squads in this league based on Power. That is an ancient formula that is akin to the “juice”, the “quan”, the “it” factor and other things meaning that a team is on everyone’s minds and also likely to beat the teams below them in the ranking.
1. North Texas
Mason Fine looks good, throwing for 383, 4 TDs, and the offense under Bodie Reeder looks like it has some tricks up its sleeve. There were some hiccups but that can be chalked up to it being the first game of the season. That defense remains a weakness and will be all season. Good thing Fine is the best QB in the league, right?
Next up: at SMU
The Herd impressed and they would have been higher here if they had a better QB than Mason Fine. Tie goes to the better QB, folks. The offense was explosive and the defense did not miss a beat after losing the defensive coordinator. Sure, VMI, but with all the upsets in the first week a win cannot be discounted. An impressive win at that.
Next up: at Boise St
Way high, I know, but again I believe in quarterbacks. UTSA was moribund and quickly losing ground in the hearts and minds of the average San Antonio fan. The UIW Cardinals — also of San Antonio — were ready to stage a coup and make a case for going up Broadway to watch football instead of on Montana St. (Very San Antonio reference, there). In the end it was hometown hero Frank Harris who shone brightly and made a name for himself. Everyone in orange and blue (the UTSA kind, not the UTEP or UT-Arlington, or UTRGV, or UT-Dallas, or UT-Tyler, or UT-Permian Basin kind) is excited about the possibilities. Non-UTSA fans can be hyped that at least one more CUSA game will be entertaining to watch.
Next up: at Baylor
Okay, this is way harsh on the defending champions, but they _did_ only survive Alabama St. Sure it was very Blazer of them to win in the way they did, but as the reigning champs with a good portion of the roster back? Well, you have a higher standard than just “win”.
Next up: at Akron
5. Southern Miss
Again, ESPN forbade me from watching this game beyond some highlights, but Jack Abraham is talented, and the offense looked good. 38 points is good enough, but I would have liked to have seen something in the 40s. Trivensky Mosley went down and that kills the mood.
Next up: Beatable Miss St
Will Healy took his shirt off in celebration of the win over Gardner-Webb. That is good and solid social media vitality there, folks. This Charlotte squad has talent — Benny LeMay — but it is a new regime in town and that means some adjustment pains as things settle. I can see some upsets but also would not be surprised if the 49ers end up in the middle of the pack like last year. Honestly, not a bad outcome.
Next up: Appalachian St.
7. Louisiana Tech
They put up a solid first half if you looked closely, but no casual fan is going to do that. Terry Bradshaw talked a little noise about Sam Ehlinger in the offseason (to a booster club) and that kind of made this event into something slightly bigger.
Next up: Grambling
8. Middle Tennessee
A better showing from Stockstill’s crew in Ann Arbor. Middle briefly held the lead in the first quarter and that kind of thing is good enough to sell to the boosters, especially post-Brent Stockstill. The world remains un-shocked, however, but there remain some notable non-conference opponents. Middle might have a losing record but be a really underrated squad come conference play.
Next up: Tennessee St.
“But we won,” you say. “How are we so low?” Well, by virtue of needing a late comeback and difficult final frame against Houston Baptist. Oof. Still, a win is better than losing.
Next up: at Texas Tech
Losing badly to Ohio State is not a terrible shame. There is something unseemly about watching Lane Kiffin sigh heavily and look forlorn while doing it. FAU rolled over this league two seasons ago and may have a contending team this year, so a little fire would be nice. The Owls looked lost _and_ overmatched physically. One is understandable, the other? Nah.
Next up: UCF in a big showdown
Pretty much everything above applies here. FIU was supposed to make this their year and show that they have been overlooked and “slept on”. The demolition at the hands of Tulane showed that anyone who was not caring too hard about FIU was right to keep sleeping.
Next up: WKU in the first conference game of the year.
This is maybe a tad bit unfair to Rice, who played well against a good Army squad and came up just short. We remain skeptical simply because Rice came out against Houston last year and impressed before bottoming out late. New faces and some experience in the system and culture may help prevent a free-fall but it is hard to get too hyped too early.
Next up: vs Wake Forest
New stadium, old problems. Yes, the Monarchs nearly dropped one to Norfolk State University, one-time co-tenants in the former Forman Field. ODU were big favorites and nearly lost it, which would have been something like karma, after pulling off an upset for the ages against VA Tech last season. Instead, the Monarchs escape but the team does not have the warm and fuzzy feelings an opening day win at a new home should carry.
Next up: at VA Tech
A tough loss at home to Central Arkansas. The good news is that the offense looked good for about a quarter and a half. The bad, is that everyone contributed to allowing UCA to erase the lead and pull ahead in the final quarter. Two straight years of losing to an FCS squad at home is not ideal.
Next up: at FIU