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Conference USA Week 1 Rankings & Quick Takes


What happened in all the Week 1 Conference USA games? Where are all the teams ranked, and what’s the quick take on each game? Check out the Conference USA rankings and analysis.


Conference USA Week 1 Rankings, Predictions & Quick Takes

Rankings will be done and changed on the fly each weekend after the games are over and the Quick Takes are up.

How are the Conference USA picks so far? SU: 8-2, ATS: 3-4

1. Southern Miss (1-0)

Final Score: Southern Miss 44, Kentucky 35
Prediction: Kentucky 41, Southern Miss 27, Kentucky -6.5
Up Next: Savannah State

Quick Take: How’s that for a rally and comeback? After making a slew of big mistakes and getting down 35-17 at halftime, how did the Eagles come back? With Nick Mullens and the passing game? Nope – it was by holding on to the ball for over 40 minutes on the day with Ito Smith ant George Payne combining for 273 yards and a score. The passing game will be great, and now USM knows it can with the run, too.

2. Western Kentucky (1-0)

Final Score: WKU 46, Rice 14
Prediction: WKU 44, Rice 20, WKU -16, o/u: 63
Up Next: at Alabama

Quick Take: It might have been a rough start with the players rumbling over each other coming out of the tunnel, but they couldn’t wait to get on the field and keep on rolling offensively. Former USF QB Mike White was outstanding throwing for 517 yards and three scores on a 25-of-31 day, and as the offense showed, the fun is going to keep on going. It’s not going to be the case against Alabama up next, but WKU announced that it’s going to be business as usual in Conference USA.

3. Middle Tennessee (1-0)

Final Score: Middle Tennessee 55, Alabama A&M 0
Prediction: Middle Tennessee 50, Alabama A&M 13
Up Next: at Vanderbilt

Quick Take: The Blue Raiders were supposed to win in a walk, and they didn’t disappoint with Brent Stockstill coming up with a razor-sharp performance. He was terrific hitting 30-of-36 passes for 329 yards and five scores with a pick, and backup John Urzua threw for 106 yards and two scores, too. 15 different receivers caught passes.

4. Marshall

Up Next: Morgan State

5. Louisiana Tech (0-1)

Final Score: Arkansas 21, Louisiana Tech 20
Prediction: Arkansas 37, La Tech 17, Arkansas -26, o/u: 53.5
Up Next: South Carolina State

Quick Take: It might have a heartbreaking loss, but the Bulldogs might have found their offensive weapons along the way. J’mar Smith got the passing game going down the field and ran for a score with starter Ryan Higgins out, while Jarred Craft was solid on the ground. Most of all, the defense bent but didn’t break until the very end, struggling on a few fourth down plays with a chance to close things out. For a young team, this has to be a bit of a confidence-booster – the Bulldogs can play with the big boys.

6. UTEP (1-0)

Final Score: UTEP 38, New Mexico State 22
Prediction: UTEP 37, New Mexico State 31, UTEP -9.5, o/u: 60.5
Up Next: at Texas

Quick Take: Zack Greenlee came through. The Miner quarterback threw three touchdown passes to pull the Miners ahead, but it was Aaron Jones who carried the game with 249 yards and two scores on 31 grinding carries. Greenlee took control with a great scoring drive to end the first half, and put the game away in the third quarter to answer an NMSU score to go up 21.

7. FIU (0-1)

Final Score: Indiana 34, FIU 13
Prediction: Indiana 38, FIU 20, Indiana -9.5, o/u: 61
Up Next: Maryland

Quick Take: Really, FIU? The defense is going to bend but not break all that often, but the offense is going to give up two interception returns for a score along with a safety? Alex McGough was able to move the offense and the passing game with 263 yards, but there wasn’t any running game to help enough, and the three picks were killers. FIU was okay, but it can’t make mistakes and stay with a Power 5 team as explosive as IU.

8. Florida Atlantic (1-0)

Final Score: Florida Atlantic 38, Southern Illinois 30
Prediction: Florida Atlantic 41, Southern Illinois 37
Up Next: at Miami

Quick Take: It was supposed to be a fight, and the pass defense was supposed to struggle against a high-octane passing game, but the Owls survived on the running of Gregory Howell, running for 128 yards and two scores. Jason Driskel ran for 41 yards and a score and threw for 287 yards and two touchdowns, and he didn’t throw any picks. The D might have given up 530 yards, and it’ll have problems with Miami, but FAU got out alive.

9. Old Dominion

Final Score: COMING
Prediction: Old Dominion 45, Hampton 16
Up Next: at Appalachian State

Quick Take: COMING

10. Rice (0-1)

Final Score: WKU 46, Rice 14
Prediction: WKU 44, Rice 20, WKU -16, o/u: 63
Up Next: at Army

Quick Take: Uh oh. WKU might just have an amazing enough offense to rock and roll on anyone and everyone in Conference USA, but Rice wasn’t even close to coming up with a meaningful stop against the Hilltopper passing game. QB Tyler Stehling threw two picks, but he led the team with 85 rushing yards and a score, and threw for 183 yards, but there wasn’t enough firepower to keep up. The one big positive was the punting game that kept WKU pinned deep, but as it turned out, that just meant more yards given up by the D.

11. UTSA (1-0)

Final Score: UTSA 26, Alabama State 13
Prediction: UTSA 37, Alabama State 16
Up Next: at Colorado State

Quick Take: It was a battle for four quarters, but UTSA was able to get the win thanks to a good enough day from QB Dalton Sturm to get by. He hit 20-of-25 passes for 274 yards and two scores, and he ran for a 51-yard score, but the Roadrunners had to work to survive. The pass rush was fantastic, coming through time and again to stuff the Alabama State offense, but the four turnovers kept the game close.

12. Charlotte (0-1)

Final Score: Louisville 70, Charlotte 7
Prediction: Louisville 51, Charlotte 17, Louisville -39.5, o/u: 61
Up Next: Elon

Quick Take: Buzzsaw. Charlotte was able to generate a little bit of pressure early on, but the defense didn’t have a prayer against Lamar Jackson and the Louisville offense that scored at will. The big problem was the offense – it didn’t give the D a break. The 49ers failed to convert a third down try on 13 chances, and there were way too many empty drives to allow Jackson to do its thing. Blow this off and move on – Louisville might really just be that good.

13. North Texas (0-1)

Final Score: SMU 34, North Texas 21
Prediction: SMU 37, North Texas 27, SMU -9.5
Up Next: Bethune-Cookman

Quick Take: It’s going to take a while. The defense didn’t do much of anything to slow down SMU, but the offense had its moments to keep the game alive into the second half. Three interceptions became a killer, and there wasn’t any running game to steady the attack, but at least the O moved a bit to keep up for a while.