Once again this week we have a few top-10 teams that were beaten and some new teams stepped in to replace them. So, just how do the FBS conferences stack up after the week #4 games…let’s take a look.
OK, here are my week #4 conference power rankings [last week's rankings will be in (), ↑ = trending upward, ↓ = trending downward, -- = no movement]:
#11 – WAC [Western Athletic Conference] (11, –):
No conference games have been played yet. U Texas – San Antonio and Louisiana Tech remain the conferences only undefeated team. My shout-out goes to the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs for their absolute demolishing of the Fighting Illini in Champaign. With wins like this over an AQ school, the WAC conference could be moving up.
#10 – Conference USA (10, ↓):
Once again this conference fails to inspire any confidence. While some of the conference members played AQ schools like UAB at Ohio State, UTEP at Wisconsin, and Ole Miss at Tulane and were able to keep the scores close, at the end of the day the Conference USA schools came out with losses. Conference USA schools were 0-5 against AQ schools Saturday. Only Tulsa was able to win a game outside of the conference as they beat Fresno State 27-26. The only game between conference members was Marshall outlasting Rice 54-51 in OT. The Sun Belt Conference’s Western Kentucky dismantled Southern Mississippi of Conference USA. Its tough to find the ray of light in this conference other than someone has to win it don’t they?
#9 – Sun Belt Conference (9, –):
The members of the Sun Belt Conference had good showings this weekend, starting with Louisiana-Monroe hosting Baylor Friday night. While the Warhawks came up just short, they had the Golden Bears on the ropes for most of the evening. Also, Florida International was just outlasted by #21 Louisville. Some other members were outclassed like Florida Atlantic getting beaten at Alabama and South Alabama get shellacked at Mississippi State. There was one game between members as Troy beat North Texas. Currently Louisiana-Lafayette and Middle Tennessee lead the conference with 1-0 marks. No team is undefeated overall.
#8 – MWC [Mountain West Conference] (8, ↑):
One of the games of the week was BYU at Boise State. BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall put on his big boy pants and had his Cougars go for a game-winning 2-pt conversion at the end of the game rather than kicking the tying extra point. The attempt failed and the Cougars lost to MWC’s Boise State Broncos on the “Smurf Turf” by the score of 7-6. Watch out for Nevada, they are an up-and-coming team. They went to Hawaii and beat up on the Rainbows 69-24 in one conference match-up, while the Runnin Rebels of UNLV were able to outlast the Falcons of the Air Force Academy in another. No teams remain undefeated but, due to their conference wins this weeken,d UNLV and Nevada sit atop the conference standings.
#7 – MAC [Mid-American Conference] (7, ↑):
Once again, the class of the league, Ohio University, is looking to break into the top-25 rankings. They soundly defeated Norfolk State on Saturday. I’m just not sure that they play a challenging enough schedule to be able to get to a BCS game even if they go undefeated and win their conference title game. Wednesday night ESPNU featured Kent State at Buffalo as the MAC spotlight game. It wasn’t very close as Golden Flashes beat up the Buffaloes (Where is Turner Gill when you need him?).
On Saturday, MAC schools had some impressive wins over AQ schools. Central Michigan went to Iowa and beat the Hawkeyes 32-31, Western Michigan beat Connecticut 30-24, Northern Illinois beat Kansas 30-23, and Ball State beat South Florida 31-27. The Kent State win at Buffalo and Miami (OH) win over Massachusetts were the only conference games played. I’m telling you now, I see this conference finishing in the top-6 before the years end! They have too many good schools to sit behind the Big East and potentially the Big Ten.
#6 – Big East (6, ↓):
The Big East was not very good this weekend. What saved them from dropping below the MAC was the quality wins of Rutgers at Arkansas and Louisville at Florida International. I’m not interested in hearing about how good or how bad Arkansas and FIU are; playing a game on the road is still tough to do and these wins by Big East teams represents quality in my book. On the other hand, losses by South Florida, Syracuse, Temple, and Connecticut were not very good. They were playing teams that they could have beaten and lost. Two of the games (South Florida and Connecticut) were against MAC schools. Pittsburgh finally found and FCS school they could beat in Garner-Webb. Rutgers and Cincinnati are both 1-0 in the Big East while those two plus Louisville are undefeated overall. My charity has almost run out…another week like this and the MAC blows past you Big East!