UFL Week 9 power rankings: Stallions still No. 1 despite loss, Brahmas surge


by RJ Young | FOXSports.com

UFL Week 9 power rankings: Stallions still No. 1 despite loss, Brahmas surge

With one week left in the UFL regular season and the four playoff participants set, we’re going to be treated to not one but two matchups featuring the USFL and XFL title game contenders playing each other in back-to-back weeks.

In a rare opportunity to play a game that does not affect winning the title but does allow for scouting and game-planning, gamesmanship will be at an all-time high for the Birmingham Stallions, Michigan Panthers, San Antonio Brahmas and St. Louis Battlehawks.

That said, let's get to the penultimate edition of the 2024 UFL power rankings.

1. Birmingham Stallions (8-1)

After 379 days, the Stallions' undefeated streak came to an end in their 18-9 loss to the Brahmas on Saturday. MVP favorite Adrian Martinez looked good once again on the stat line — 267 total yards — but came up short in the game's final minute, throwing just his third interception of the season.

Before their loss in Week 9, the Stallions featured one of the league’s most explosive offenses, scoring at least 30 points in each of their past four games and at least 20 points in every game this season. Birmingham's defense kept to its average too, allowing just 17.9 points per game before giving up 18 in Saturday's stunning loss.

Birmingham’s two losses in two years have come against Texas teams: San Antonio and Houston (2023 in the USFL).

Still, the Stallions have shown themselves to be a cut above the rest and will look to reset in Week 10 with a tilt against the Michigan Panthers to win the USFL Conference regular-season title outright. Birmingham will face Michigan twice in two weeks, with both teams clinching spots in the upcoming USFL title game on Saturday, June 8.

2. San Antonio Brahmas (7-2)

The Brahmas became the first team to defeat the Stallions in the UFL this season. With the return of QB Chase Garbers, the run game (219 yards) took the lead in Saturday's win. Five Brahmas players rushed for 25 yards or more.

An injury to star tight end Cody Latimer took away Garbers' and Quinten Dormady’s favorite receiving target for the game, but head coach Wade Phillips’ No. 1-ranked scoring defense picked up the slack by stifling a Birmingham offense that was averaging 25.5 points per game this season.

In what could function as a preview of the UFL Championship Game, the Brahmas took over the No. 1 seed in the XFL Conference with the win — and potentially picked up a psychological advantage over the Stallions if they meet again at The Dome at America’s Center.

If San Antonio defeats St. Louis in Week 10 (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app), the Brahmas will secure home-field advantage for the XFL title game and avoid playing in the postseason's most intimidatin

3. Michigan Panthers (7-2)

The Panthers pulled out a win against the Houston Roughnecks with 200 total yards from backup QB Bryce Perkins in a 26-22 comeback victory on the road. After giving up 19 points in the third quarter, Michigan outscored Houston 14-0 at Rice Stadium to stay within one game of the league-leading Stallions.

Because of a scheduling conflict at Ford Field, the Panthers must play the USFL title game at Protective Field in Birmingham, Alabama — even if they defeat the Stallions in Week 10 to win the regular-season title.

4. St. Louis Battlehawks (6-3)

The Battlehawks gave up an uncharacteristic 36 points on the road and lost to one of the league’s worst teams in Week 9, throwing into question whether or not they will secure the UFL's most impressive home-field advantage for the playoffs.

While QB Manny Wilkins played well — 230 total yards and three touchdowns — for most of the game in relief of starter AJ McCarron, he threw three interceptions. Two came in the game's final two minutes, including a pick-six that put the game out of reach for the Battlehawks.

St. Louis receiver Hakeem Butler, the best wideout in the league, was held to just two catches for 12 yards in the loss.

The success the Battlehawks enjoyed on the ground was admirable, though, with Jacob Saylors rushing for 100-plus yards for the second time this season (14 rushes for 104 yards).

5. Arlington Renegades (2-7)

The Renegades pulled off the biggest upset of the season with a 36-22 win over the Battlehawks. Arlington's defense sealed the victory with a pick-six with under two minutes to play.

QB Luis Perez completed 24 of 36 passes for 259 yards with three touchdowns, and Arlington's offense scored 30 points against a St. Louis defense that had given up an average of just 17.3 points per game — the third lowest in the league — through eight games. While the season has not been one to remember, Saturday's game represented exactly what head coach Bob Stoops’ team is capable of when the offense and defense are playing at their highest.

6. DC Defenders (4-5)

The Defenders followed star QB Jordan Ta’amu’s lead to pick up the 36-21 win against the Memphis Showboats on the road. The Ole Miss standout completed 20 of 24 passes for 237 yards with two interceptions.

The Defenders outgained the Showboats by more than 200 yards and converted 8 of 13 third-down attempts. With the win, the Defenders gave themselves an opportunity in Week 10 to finish the season at .500.

7. Houston Roughnecks (1-8)

The Roughnecks have seemed snake-bitten in close games for most of the year. Six of their eight losses have come by single digits. Week 10 for head coach C.J. Johnson’s club will be about taking stock of the roster they have and focusing on what they can look forward to in 2025.

8. Memphis Showboats (1-8)

Head coach John DeFilippo’s Showboats suffered their seventh consecutive loss of the season and their sixth consecutive loss by double digits. The only positive to take from the loss was the reemergence of former USFL Offensive Player of the Year Darius Victor, who rushed for 98 yards on 14 carries.

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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