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2021 Power Rankings: Week 7

Yes, boys and girls, children of all ages, and sports fans across the world: the league is a’ changin’. News broke this week that the American Athletic conference has extended invitations to six of the Conference USA members and they are expected to join up within two years. The second most interesting story is that UTSA is ranked 24th/25th in the nation on the strength of their 7-0 start.

CUSA Report will not continue in its current form after the break up of the league. We wrote in this space previously that the league as constituted was unstable and only a major shakeup would “save” it. It appears that at least six of the programs are moving to add $1MM to their coffers and more, going forward. That was a large reason for the jump from the WAC/Sun Belt to CUSA previously, and that did not continue, creating this situation in the first place.

When it ends, this site will end. Until then, we rank these teams on our proprietary POWER formula.

The contenders:

1. UTSA 3-0, 7-0 RANKED 24th/25th

The Roadrunners are ranked for the first time in school history, and having beat up Rice 45-0 they were mighty impressive. Head coach Traylor called it the most complete game they’ve played. It was. Whereas in the beginning of the season we might have seen UTSA struggle to put away a tough Rice, in this one they left no doubt in any aspect of the game. A thorough, complete domination. Physical brutality, if you will. Next up is Tech, a good program and one with a lot of pride. This matchup would have been even more compelling if Tech had shown up in El Paso. In any case, this is a big time game.

Next up: at La Tech on Stadium at 6pm
Last week: 2nd

2. UAB 3-0, 5-2

Lost in the weekend’s stories was that the Blazers beat up on Southern Miss, one time CUSA darling in the pre-2013 era, and current left-behind program. It was a complete beatdown in a similar fashion as the UTSA-Rice game. The Blazers get a chance to perform an encore in more ways than one against the Owls in Protective this weekend.

Next up: vs Rice on ESPN+ at 2:30pm
Last week: 1st

3. Charlotte 2-0, 4-2

The 49ers are also a future AAC program, if reports hold, and that is a boost during the idle week. We like the 49ers because they control their fate in a weak East division. A mid-week showdown against a division stumbling block, and future AAC compatriot FAU awaits and will be telling.

Next up: vs FAU on CBSSN 6:30pm
Last week: 3rd

4. FAU 1-1, 3-3

The Owls have an opportunity to start the campaign to get a possible rematch vs UAB in the title game this week against Charlotte. The Owls are a good squad, but have some glaring flaws. N’Kosi Perry looked phenomenal at times … and also terrible.

Next up: See above!
Last week: 5th

5. Marshall 1-1, 2-4

The Herd were struggling but a pitstop in the refreshing waters of Denton County to beat up a terrible team did wonders. The Herd looked in complete control throughout even though we saw an interception from Grant Wells. The offense was popping, and the defense was good … except for a couple of 50+ yard TD runs allowed.

Next up: Idle , vs FIU on 10/30
Last week: 6th

6. WKU 1-1, 2-4

Bailey Zappe is the story in Bowling Green, along with Jerreth Sterns, who have thrown the ball all over the place. The prize is still returning to the top of the division in a week division. It is do-able and the defense needs to play better.

Next up: at FIU on ESPN+ at 6pm
Last week: 7th

7. UTEP 3-0, 6-1

Hey! Why aren’t the Miners up at the top of this power ranking? Well, for a couple of reasons: we have watched all of the games they have played and the games that Tech has played. We said all season long that Tech will play up or down to their opponent and thus it was not a surprise that they played right into UTEP’s hands. Full credit to the Miners, as we have written. Consider that the offense only managed two TDs. The defense did dominate against a good offense. It is very possible that we simply cannot properly rate this squad and will be wrong about them all the way to a league title game held at the Sun Bowl. Imagine that.

Next up: Idle, then at FAU on 10/30
Last week: 8th

8. La Tech 1-1, 2-4

This team has the talent to win the division but took a huge hit by losing to UTEP. My gut tells me the Miners can still drop a couple of conference games and that would mean Tech needs to win out the rest of the way. Not likely, or probable, and so that tells you how bad that loss was. A step in the right direction is against one of the nation’s darlings in UTSA. I would normally say the Runners are beatable, but they looked as good as Tech was bad last week. Which means Tech probably wins this one going away. Ha.

Next up: vs UTSA on Stadium 6pm
Last week: 3rd

This is The Junk Drawer

These programs are not really contenders and probably only a couple have a real shot of even upsetting anyone.

9. Rice 1-1, 2-4

The promising team we saw at the end of 2020 is nowhere to be found. The thorough beatdown from UTSA was the kind of loss that tells you how far these programs are. Time was that it took a future NFL-er to separate these two in a game, but now the Runners looked like they could have beat this team down with the backups. Bloomgren should get a little heat. They do not drop any further simply because the rest of the league is that bad. It is awful out here. Next week will be a test.

Next up: at UAB on eSPN+ 2:30pm
Last week: 9th

10. Middle 1-2, 2-4

I do not think the Blue Raiders are any good. They have enough to jump up occasionally and bite a team. That is about the extent of it all.

Next up: at UCONN on CBSSN 5pm
Last week: 11th

11. North Texas 0-3, 1-5

The two pieces of good news this week were the AAC announcement, and the start of college basketball season. Seth Littrell needs to turn it around or freshen up his resume. Next up is Liberty, which is coming off an upset loss, hungry, and featuring Malik Williams, star.

Next up: vs Liberty on ESPN+ at 3pm
Last week: 10th

12. ODU 0-2, 1-5

There was a good second-half showing. Beyond that, it is an open question where ODU lands in the future. That is concerning for the long-term health of this program. Are they destined to be UCONN of Virginia?

Next up: Idle, then vs Tech on 10/30
Last week: 12th

13. USM 0-3, 1-6

Southern Miss was a perennial contender in CUSA pre-2013, and then has fallen so far to be dominated with nary a blink. The Golden Eagles fit culturally with the Sun Belt and that is likely the future for this program. Meanwhile, the program stinks right now.

Next up: Idle, then at Middle on 10/30
Last week: 13th

14. FIU 0-2, 1-5

I used to think FIU and FAU were a package deal. I was wrong. FAU was offered an invite to the AAC (essentially) and FIU is left … looking at maybe a return to the Sun Belt (where they had success) or some CUSA version. In any case it looks like the big Butch Davis move was a swing-and-a-miss.

Next up: vs WKU on ESPN+ at 6pm
Last week: 14th

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