Another week, another poll. So, while I agree on two-loss Boise and Hawai’i teams being lower, we definitely have a bias against West Coast teams in our voters. Also, while I am willing to make tweaks in the voting as compensation, I can’t justify moving a team more than a few spots.
That said, what have we got this week?
- UCF – So it appears that three things are capable of beating UCF – themselves, a good run game, and a torrential downpour. This week involved all three, but the defense bowed up and only allowed the Tigers inside the UCF 40 yard line twice the entire second half. One of those ended in a fumble, while the other involved Memphis running out of time before they could attempt another field goal. Was it pretty? No, but winning 19 in a row involves just as much luck and good breaks as it does skill.
- Appalachian State – My goodness did they flex their muscles against Arkansas State. The competition has maybe not been amazing, but the Mountaineers lost to Penn State on the road in overtime and have since won four in a row by a combined score of 204-32. With how lopsided the divisions are, the Mountaineers are now the slight leader for the conference title now.
- USF – Another win keeps them undefeated, yes. However, another lackluster performance like their last-second win over Tulsa could see them start falling even if they keep winning. Tulsa is flawed and better than their 1-5 record, but a true title contender wouldn’t be taking their first lead of the game as time expired.
- Cincinnati – Dominating win over Bye Week U, who was undefeated coming into this week.They might need it going into their road matchup against Temple considering how much the Owls have improved in the past month.
- Utah State – Folks, I have to officially apologize to our MWC guy Mason Moore for mocking him when he picked Utah State to go 10-2 this preseason. I’m not saying it’s a lock, but with how mortal Boise has looked, and how imbalanced everyone else in the conference has looked, they’re definitely the cream of the MWC crop at the moment.
- San Diego State – Upside is that the Aztecs have won five in a row and on paper are likely the favorite in every game between now and their road matchup with Fresno State. Downside is that the offense is s-t-r-u-g-g-l-i-n-g and while defense wins championships, you can’t afford to continue this streak of one-possession wins and hope it holds up.
- Houston – Another strong performance by the offense, and a 22-point win over ECU that wasn’t even that close. Might not sound like much but it has meaning considering how long it took them to put away an equally bad Rice team earlier this season.
- UAB – My goodness this defense. Three conference games won by a combined 98-14, and this game saw them only allow Rice across midfield three times, with two of those coming on drives that started on the Rice 42-yard line. The defense has pitched a shutout for seven straight quarters, and has only allowed two touchdowns and two missed field goals in their opponents’ last 41 possessions.
- UNT – Oh look, it’s UAB’s next opponent. The offense got back on track against Southern Miss and made the Eagles’ offense look foolish, but it’s not like the Mean Green that struggled against La Tech and UTEP suddenly doesn’t exist. We’ll find out what they’re made of against UAB next week.
- Army – In their last two games, the offense has produced 11 touchdowns and a field goal in 19 possessions, with three of the other seven drives being half-ending grind-the-clock drives. The Pound Your Opponents Into Dust Tour continues next week as Army stays home for more MACtion against Miami.
Others receiving votes: Fresno State, Georgia Southern, Buffalo, Louisiana Tech, Boise State, Troy, FIU, Hawaii, Marshall
I personally would probably have ranked Fresno State and Georgia Southern higher than a tie for 11th, but I’m also not going to quibble with it too much. Memphis may have flirted with a massive upset, but it doesn’t change the fact that they’re 1-3 in conference now.