Week 11 Conference USA Power Rankings

Pony Stampede Managing Editor Billy Embody breaks down Conference USA and takes a look at how each team fared this weekend. Where does SMU stand? Come inside to find out!

1. Tulsa (7-2, 5-0; LW: 1): Tulsa went down to visit the Arkansas Razorbacks this past weekend and weren't able to get it done on the road by falling 19-15. The Razorbacks were able to do something few teams had, which was limit the Tulsa rushing attack to just 106 yards. While neither team had a great day offensively, Tulsa has to be pleased with the way its defense played against Arkansas, but one of the better QB-WR combinations in the country in Tyler Wilson and Cobi Hamilton were able to make the big plays to win. While Tulsa did not really produce offensively against the Razorbacks, this was an SEC defense and a talented one that was chosen as a top five team to start the season. Tulsa heads to Houston in a game that can all but wrap up their West division title.

2. UCF (7-2, 5-0; LW: 2): UCF beat the heck out of SMU this weekend 42-17 in the second half behind a big day rushing by Latavius Murray. UCF showed why it is the team to beat in the East and just out-coached SMU and made the adjustments at the half to put the game away in the second half. UCF's Blake Bortles was not a huge threat to SMU, but with the success of the running game, Bortles was efficient even while just passing for 110 yards and two touchdowns. UCF heads to UTEP next week, which should be an easy victory for the Knights.

3. East Carolina (6-4, 5-1; LW: 4): East Carolina put a whipping on Houston 48-28 by racking up 550 yards of total offense and limiting the Cougars to just 369 yards. The Cougars, usually can rack up some yardage, but even with 341 yards passing, the Cougars were limited to just 28 rushing yards. East Carolina's Shane Carden threw for 305 yards and four touchdowns to lead the way to a 28-0 lead before Houston scored its first touchdown. The Pirates held the ball for over 44 minutes compared to Houston's 15:52, which is the reason why the Pirates were able to gash the Cougars' defense for a big day. The Pirates head to Tulane next for another C-USA matchup.

4. Marshall (4-5, 3-2; LW: 6): Marshall beat Memphis 38-28 this past weekend in a battle of East division teams. Marshall opened up the lead to 31-7 at one point before Memphis battled back, but Marshall dominated this game for the most part behind Rakeem Cato's 341 yards passing and four touchdowns. While Cato's big day led the way, Marshall has to develop their rushing game, which gained just 92 yards, to help control the clock a little better as the Thundering Herd held the ball for just over 22 minutes. Marshall heads to UAB this weekend to take on the high-flying Blazers attack.

5. SMU (4-5, 3-2; LW: 3): SMU looked pretty bad this past weekend against UCF, falling 42-17 and could not stop Latavius Murray. SMU was C-USA's number one rushing defense going into the game, but instead was shredded for 241 rushing yards. Quarterback Garrett Gilbert also took a step back for the Mustangs especially in the second half when the team couldn't get anything going. Gilbert passed for just 133 yards and even though Zach Line started out well, he was limited in the second half by the UCF defense. You could tell out on the field the difference in talent out there and SMU struggled to do anything right. The Mustangs are all but out of the West division race with two losses as they host Southern Miss this weekend.

6. Houston (4-5, 3-2; LW: 5): Houston got beat up on early and often by East Carolina en route to being routed 48-28. The Cougars' Charles Sims was held to just 33 yards on five carries, but the Cougars could not get into a rhythm anywhere on offense until they were already down 28-0. The Cougars have to be down on themselves since they have been so inconsistent against the top teams in the conference. David Piland has not played well recently as he just had 22 completions in this game and tossed an interception as well. The Cougars host Tulsa this weekend and if they lose, Houston will be out of the West race.

7. UTEP (2-7, 1-4; LW: 7): UTEP benefitted from a bye week this past week as it hosts UCF this weekend. UTEP ranks 57th in passing and will have to have more success in that regard than SMU did against the Knights to have a shot at upsetting the Knights. One problem UTEP has had is scoring. The Miners rank just 114th in the country at 19.1 points per game and haven't been able to put more than 26 points on the board 3 times this season. After UCF, the Miners face Southern Miss and Rice and could end up .500 in the conference if they beat UCF this weekend.

8. Rice (4-6, 2-4; LW: 8): Rice beat Tulane in a shootout 49-47 in New Orleans behind an extremely balanced attack that rushed and passed for over 200 yards, but also relied on Tulane's five turnovers to score some points. Rice held the ball for over 40 minutes and that had to tire out the Tulane defense in the end. Rice gave up 476 yards to Ryan Griffin passing, which is troubling for the Rice defense, but has a bye week to prepare to stop Garret Gilbert and the SMU Mustangs on November 17th.

9. Tulane (2-7, 2-3; LW: 9):Tulane has been trying desperately to right the ship this season in C-USA play, but has come up short on a few occasions. Their 47-49 loss to Rice this past weekend was another example. Even with 476 yards passing and four touchdowns from Ryan Griffin, the Green Wave could not put together a complete game against the Owls. The Green Wave turned the ball over five times and rushed for zero yards on the day. The Green Wave must lose their one-dimensional offense when they head to Memphis this weekend if they don't want to be upset by the Tigers.

10. UAB (2-7, 1-4; LW: 10): UAB came back from being down 16-0 at the half to beat the winless Southern Miss Eagles this past weekend 27-19 on the road. UAB held the Eagles to just 295 total yards while attacking Southern Miss with a balanced offense that racked up 435 yards. UAB racked up 25 first downs against Southern Miss this past weekend and while both teams committed three turnovers, UAB was able to settle down in the second half and dominate. UAB will have to score a heck of a lot more points this next weekend against the high-octane attack of Marshall.

11. Memphis (1-8, 1-4; LW: 11): Even though Memphis held the ball for over 37 minutes, the Tigers could not contain the passing attack of Marshall this past weekend as they fell 38-28 on the road. What held Memphis back was its 16 penalties for 131 yards, but those are correctable mistakes for the most part. Memphis has been struggling all year in almost every way possible, but has a chance to get another C-USA win against Tulane this weekend.

12. Southern Miss (0-9, 0-5; LW: 12): Southern Miss had everything going this weekend against UAB for the first half. The Eagles blocked a punt and were able to build a 16-0 halftime lead before giving it up and losing 27-19 at home. The Eagles have been a bottom feeder this entire year, but had the chance to earn their first win of the season this weekend and couldn't keep it together. Southern Miss will have to go on the road this weekend against SMU for another opportunity to get its first win of the season.

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