C-USA Week Four Power Rankings

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After three previous weeks of progressions, Conference USA took two steps backwards this past weekend.  This week presents several opportunities to make a statement.

Underdog Dynasty releases their weekly power ratings every Monday.  I have a vote and here is their week four composite rankings.

Underdog Dynasty Week 4 Power Rankings

  1. Marshall (4-0, 0-0)
  2. UTSA (1-2, 0-0)
  3. Middle Tennessee (2-2, 1-0)
  4. Western Kentucky (1-2, 0-1)
  5. Old Dominion (3-1, 1-0)
  6. UAB (2-1, 0-0)
  7. North Texas (2-2, 0-1)
  8. UTEP (2-1, 0-0)
  9. La Tech (2-2, 1-0)
  10. Rice (0-3, 0-1)
  11. Florida Atlantic (1-3, 0-0)
  12. Southern Mississippi (2-2, 0-0)
  13. Florida International (1-3, 0-0)

The eighteen member voting panel seemed to wildly react to the results of this past week.  La Tech went from second to ninth, which is a little harsh and ODU vaulted all the way to fifth while Rice is down to tenth.

Here are my Week 4 C-USA Power Rankings:

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ODU controls its C-USA East destiny at home

NCAA Football: Old Dominion at Rice

Bobby Wilder wants his team to have something to say about who plays in the Conference USA Championship game on December 6th.  He may have already knocked the defending champs out of the discussion with a 45-42 win at Rice.

ODU is eligible to play and host this game and has an opportunity to turn what looked like an unreasonable start to the C-USA season into a commanding lead.

Marshall and Middle Tennessee were the teams picked atop the seven team East portion of C-USA.  Middle Tennessee is 1-0 in conference play, knocking off another competitor in Western Kentucky 50-47 at home in triple overtime.

The Monarchs are favored by 3.5 over Middle Tennessee which promises to be as good of a challenge that ODU has faced this season.  “If” the Monarchs can defeat the Blue Raiders on Friday Night, they will already be 1.5 games clear of Middle Tennessee, owning the precious head to head tiebreaker.

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ESPN projection has ODU in the Hawaii Bowl

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ESPN’s latest bowl projection’s are out and Mark Schlabach has ODU playing Utah State in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.

Hawaii Bowl
(C-USA vs. MWC)
Middle Tennessee vs. San Diego State Old Dominion vs. Utah State

Brett McMurphy has Middle Tennessee vs San Diego State.  The Monarchs host Middle Tennessee Friday Evening on Fox Sports 1 in a potential Hawaii Bowl elimination game of sorts.

The Hawaii Bowl will be played on Christmas Eve in Honolulu and feature a school from Conference USA and a school from the Mountain West.  An ODU-Utah State matchup would generate a lot of buzz with two of the best QBs in the nation in Taylor Heinicke and Chuckie Keeton.

ODU does not have full bowl eligibility in 2014 as they are still transitioning to FBS.  They do have an outside shot if they win at least three more games and less than 76 schools qualify for a bowl.

Here is the criteria for ODU:

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ODU is an early favorite over Middle Tennessee

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ODU (3-1, 1-0) surprisingly opened as a slight favorite over Middle Tennessee (2-2, 1-0) today.  The line has since been bet in ODU’s favor this afternoon, pushing the Monarchs to 3.5-4 point favorites for a prime time Friday evening kickoff.

Middle Tennessee State at Old Dominion – Friday, September 26, 2014 8:00 PM
109   Middle Tennessee State +3½ -110
110   Old Dominion -3½ -110

Middle Tennessee is good.  The Blue Raiders went 8-5 last season with a win over Marshall and a bowl appearance against Navy.  They will be a more difficult challenge than the version of Rice that ODU just defeated 45-42.

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Upon Further Review: Rice

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The Monarchs pulled off the unexpected and shocked the defending champs on their field in ODU’s first ever C-USA game.  All is well in Monarch Nation.

What else can be said that hasn’t already been said?  We are about to find out.  This will be a shorter than usual “Upon Further Review” because just like the team, we also have a short week and need start dialing down on Middle Tennessee.

Here are some thoughts after a cooling off period…

The ODU receiving corps dictated the way the game was played-Have you ever seen ODU’s receivers be that physical in a game?  Have you ever seen any team be that physical?  The Monarchs have some big receivers (Zach Pascal, David Washington, Melvin Vaughn) and they brought the wood.  It took its toll on the smaller Rice corners.  If a route was impeded an ODU receiver was going to get through coverage.  Down the field blocking paved the way for several explosive plays.

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Vote Taylor Heinicke for Capital One Cup Impact Performance

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Taylor Heinicke is a nominee for the Capital One Cup Impact Performance this week.  The senior quarterback was responsible for all six of ODU’s touchdowns in a 45-42 win at Rice and then led the Monarchs rapidly down the field for the game winning field goal as time expired.

In all Heinicke finished going 27-43, 430 yards and 5 TD’s.  He then rushed for another 36 net yards and a score.  He also punted the ball three times for a net 44.3 yard average including a 63 yard punt that was not returned.

He was the story and the reason ODU upset the defending C-USA champs in ODU’s initial C-USA game and he merits this honor.

The other candidates are Ameer Abdullah (Nebraska), Tevin Coleman (Indiana) and Eddie Goldman (Florida State).  It’s going to be difficult to edge out three power conference candidates so start voting!  Then spread the word!

Here’s the link