UFL Week 7 power rankings: Panthers climbing, Showboats losing steam


by RJ Young | FOXSports.com

With three weeks left in the regular season, the USFL Conference title game is set with Birmingham facing Michigan

With three weeks left in the regular season, the USFL Conference title game is set with Birmingham facing Michigan for the right to represent their former league in the inaugural UFL championship at The Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis.

The Stallions, winners of the past two USFL titles, and the Panthers will also meet in Week 10 in what will be back-to-back games to end the regular season and begin the postseason.

The Panthers have not beaten the Stallions since the league returned in 2022, losing by double digits that year (33-17), in 2023 (27-13) and narrowly in Week 1 of this season, 20-13.

1. Birmingham Stallions (7-0)

With their 30-26 win against the Battlehawks in Week 7, Skip Holtz’s squad has extended its winning streak to 14 in a row and hasn't lost a game in more than a calendar year.

The matchup, pitting the UFL’s best two teams against each other, left no doubt as to which of the two sides has the edge and who the current frontrunner for MVP is: Adrian Martinez. The breakout signal-caller threw for 230 yards (21 of 33) and three touchdowns while leading his team in rushing with seven carries for 60 yards.

2. Michigan Panthers (5-2)

The Panthers are the only team other than the undefeated Stallions to beat the Battlehawks this season, and they've been able to get to 5-2 with three different starters at quarterback — including four who have played significant snaps.

Against the Defenders, former Virginia QB Bryce Perkins and Michigan State QB Brian Lewerke went to work at Audi Field, securing a 22-9 win on the road. The Panthers rushed for more than 100 yards in the first half, with Wake Forest standout Matt Colburn coming up with a season-long 53-yard sprint in the first quarter. Wes Hills scored the second touchdown of the game — his fifth in three games.

Standout kicker Jake Bates made one field goal from 51 yards — his first on a natural grass surface. He has made three field goals of 60 yards or further this season.

3. St. Louis Battlehawks (5-2)

The Battlehawks came out strong in the first professional start in the state of Alabama for QB AJ McCarron — a two-time national champion with the Alabama Crimson Tide — but they came up just short against the Stallions.

McCarron played the closing seven minutes of the loss with an injured ankle, which he told his coaches he thought to be broken. If the Battlehawks have to move forward without McCarron, one of the two best players in the UFL this season, they will likely turn to backup Manny Wilkins.

Twenty QBs have played snaps in the UFL so far this season. In fact, every team except the Battlehawks and the Defenders have started at least two different QBs, with the Panthers having played four QBs in seven weeks. McCarron has played the most snaps of any QB this season.

Stallions defensive coordinator John Chavis, who lost three out of four against McCarron's Crimson Tide as a play-caller in the SEC, allowed just 19 of 32 completions for 161 yards — just five yards per completion. The Battlehawks found it hard to move the ball at all, amassing just 214 total yards in their loss to the best team of the new spring era of pro football.

A bright spot for St. Louis was Andre Szmyt, who made his first field goal over 60 yards this season — and of his career — to end the first half.

4. DC Defenders (3-4)

The Defenders were forced to play three different QBs in three quarters in their loss to Michigan after starter Jordan Ta’amu went into concussion protocol at halftime. Backup Deondre Francois went down with a lower leg injury and former Baylor QB Jalan McClendon entered the game without headset-to-helmet communication — and it showed.

The Defenders, which lacked an identity without Ta’amu, gave up three sacks and seven for a loss in the second half.

5. San Antonio Brahmas (5-2)

The Brahmas turned the ball over twice in the red zone in the first half, while QB Quinten Dormady completed 10 of 19 passes for 142 yards in the 15-12 win.

In the second half, backup Kevin Hogan was forced to enter the game to help inch San Antonio one game closer to securing a spot in the XFL Conference title game with a 12-0 scoring run in the fourth quarter.

6. Houston Roughnecks (1-6)

The Roughnecks couldn’t take advantage of an outstanding defensive performance that stopped the Brahmas on three of four attempts in the red zone and held San Antonio to just three points through three quarters before the dam broke.

With three games left, the Roughnecks join the Showboats in playing for pride for the remainder of the season.

7. Arlington Renegades (1-6)

The Renegades not only won their first game of the year, but they scored the most points by any team this season in their 47-23 rout of Memphis. The win, which snapped an eight-game regular-season losing streak for Arlington, is the team's first victory since winning the legacy XFL Championship in 2023.

QB Luis Perez threw for 296 yards (27 of 32) and three touchdowns, while running back De’Veon Smith led the ground game with 101 rushing yards on 14 carries.

8. Memphis Showboats (1-6)

The Showboats are sinking. Memphis has given up at least 32 points in each of their past five games, and the anchor falling through the deck looks like this: the Showboats scored a season-high 23 points in a game they lost by 24 points.

Neither QB Troy Williams, who got the start, nor Case Cookus looked comfortable against the Renegades defense, completing a combined 65.8% of their passes (25 of 38) for 230 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

RJ Young is a national college football writer and analyst for FOX Sports and the host of the podcast "The Number One College Football Show." Follow him at @RJ_Young and subscribe to "The RJ Young Show" on YouTube.


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