Keeping Score

C-USA Top 5: Southern Miss, WKU, MTSU vie for No. 1

Southern Miss junior Ito Smith is one of Conference USA’s top running backs.
Southern Miss junior Ito Smith is one of Conference USA’s top running backs. ttisbell@sunherald.com

The college football season is five weeks old and there's no clear dominant team in Conference USA.

Southern Miss, WKU and Middle Tennessee are likely the best teams in the conference. There's a huddled mass of mediocrity behind that group.

Here's a look at C-USA Top 5 for week six:

1. Southern Miss (4-1, 2-0): The Golden Eagles are in this position because they went on the road and beat an SEC team, Kentucky. WKU and MTSU both had chances to take down a poor Vanderbilt team, but fell short. The Hilltoppers had Vandy in Bowling Green last week and still failed to get the win. The USM offense set a school record with 702 yards in a 44-28 win at Rice on Saturday. The Golden Eagles are beginning to get hot on offense and that should worry the rest of the conference.

2. WKU (3-2, 1-0): The Hilltoppers travel to Louisiana Tech on Thursday in a game crucial for both squads. WKU has plenty of talent on offense, but has yet to really hit its stride as a team.

3. Middle Tennessee (4-1, 1-0): The Blue Raiders' 38-34 win over Louisiana Tech two weeks ago was a big one and they took care of business at North Texas, 30-13, last week. MTSU is off this Saturday before hosting WKU on Oct. 15 in a game that may decide the C-USA East.

4. Old Dominion (3-2, 2-0): The Monarchs make their first appearance of the season thanks to a 2-0 start against C-USA competition. ODU was unimpressive in non-conference play, but has rebounded with wins over UTSA and Charlotte in consecutive weeks. The schedule only gets tougher with WKU, Marshall, Southern Miss and a long trip to UTEP remaining. A win Friday night over UMass may be vital to ODU's bowl chances.

5. Louisiana Tech (2-3, 1-1): The Bulldogs get the edge over Marshall (1-3). If they can win Thursday against WKU, they have a a shot at a seven-game winning streak headed into the season finale at USM.

C-USA schedule

Thursday's game

WKU at Louisiana Tech, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)

Friday's game

UMass at Old Dominion, 6 p.m. (C-USA TV)

Saturday's games

Southern Miss at UTSA, 11 a.m. (ASN)

Charlotte at FAU, 2:30 p.m.

Marshall at North Texas, 6 p.m. (ASN)

FIU at UTEP, 7 p.m. (C-USA TV)

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