UFL Week 8 power rankings: Brahmas, Renegades rising; Stallions stay No. 1


Eight weeks.

That’s all the time it took for the UFL to find out which of its teams are the four best. The Birmingham Stallions, Michigan Panthers, St. Louis Battlehawks and San Antonio Brahmas each secured their spot in the inaugural UFL playoffs with home-field advantage for the conference championships yet to be decided.

The Battlehawks must feel good, as they’re not only the top team in the XFL Conference, but also the only XFL team yet to suffer a loss to a conference foe. Still, no team — including St. Louis — has defeated the Stallions in over a year.

With two weeks left in the regular season, getting healthy for the postseason will be top of mind for the playoff participants, with just one team — Birmingham — forced to play at least one game without their preferred starter at QB.

That said, here’s my eighth edition of the 2024 UFL power rankings.

1. Birmingham Stallions (8-0)

The Stallions have won all eight games this season and 15-straight dating back to last year. With a 35-28 win against USFL Conference foe Houston, Birmingham moved one step closer to securing home-field advantage for the USFL Conference title game against Michigan next month.

MVP candidate Adrian Martinez accounted for 217 yards, including 44 on the ground, five touchdowns and one interception. The Stallions rushed for 149 yards and have scored 30 points or more in each of their past four wins.

The Stallions turn their attention to the Brahmas next week — a team that could play against them again in the UFL championship matchup in just a month’s time.

2. Michigan Panthers (6-2)

That’s four consecutive wins for the team that has played four different quarterbacks through eight weeks. Mike Nolan’s club has been built on running the football and playing stifling defense, but both of those units were stressed against Memphis in their 24-18 win at Ford Field.

The Panthers lost tailback Wes Hills to a first-half injury and were down to just one tailback in the second half in Matt Colburn, as offensive coordinator Marcel Bellfuile continued to swap QBs Brian Lewerke and Bryce Perkins on each series.

Colburn rushed for 93 yards on 23 rushes with two touchdowns, while the Panthers defense recorded four sacks and an interception. The Panthers allowed the Showboats to tie the game at 18-all in the fourth quarter, but they ultimately sealed a victory that still has them in the hunt to host the USFL Conference title game with the Stallions.

3. St. Louis Battlehawks (6-2)

Manny Wilkins, checking in for injured starter AJ McCarron, made his first start in six years in Week 8 — and he ain’t afraid to wiggle. He had 52 passing yards and 47 rushing yards in the first half. Wilkins finished with 205 total yards, including 79 on the ground, in the Battlehawks’ 26-21 win at The Dome at America’s Center.

Former Clemson running back Wayne Gallman finished with two scores and a tackle. Those two rushing touchdowns made Sunday’s game his first to score multiple times since 2020 with the New York Giants.

The Battlehawks defense came up with two interceptions and a crucial fourth-down stop to secure the third spot in the UFL playoffs and the first spot in the XFL Conference Championship Game.

For head coach Anthony Becht, this game served as a proving ground for Wilkins, who had steadfastly waited for the opportunity to lead the St. Louis on the field and show himself capable as a starter if and when McCarron can’t go.

4. San Antonio Brahmas (6-2)

The Brahmas amassed 300 yards in the first half in Sunday’s win. QB Quinten Dormady completed 10 of 13 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns. He finished with over 300 yards passing, while former Maryland running back Anthony McFarland enjoyed a breakout game that made him the league’s first 100-yard receiver at running back.

Former Denver Broncos tight end Cody Latimer added six catches for 116 yards in the 20-15 win. The Brahmas defense continued to stifle its opposition, putting together a fourth consecutive outing of allowing 18 points or fewer.

Safety Jordan Mosley, a shoo-in for the All-UFL team, has recorded 63 tackles through eight games.

5. DC Defenders (3-5)

The Defenders didn’t have their best player on the field for the single most important play of their entire season — a fourth-and-24 with a chance to stay in the playoff hunt on the line — after QB Jordan Ta’amu had been knocked out on the previous play. 

In the previous series, Ta’amu led the Defenders to a 21-20 advantage before the Battlehawks regained the lead for good.

The Defenders, who finished 9-1 in 2023 in the legacy XFL, will finish 2024 with a losing season.

6. Arlington Renegades (1-7)

The Renegades failed to find the rhythm they played with in Week 7 when they secured their first win of the season. Following a league-high 47 points last week, Arlington managed just 15 against San Antonio.

Despite their poor performance through three quarters, the Renegades pulled to within a score late in the game and gave themselves a chance to make a comeback following a touchdown with just over a minute left.

The Renegades couldn’t get their rushing and passing game to synchronize, however. While QB Luis Perez completed 22 of 33 for 209 with two touchdowns, the run game yielded just 63 yards on 15 rushes because Arlington found itself behind the chains and off-schedule for the majority of the game. 

Couple that with zero scores once it reached the red zone, and it’s easier to see how an otherwise talented team has won just once this season.

7. Houston Roughnecks (1-7)

The Roughnecks scored a season-high 28 points against the best team in the league in a seven-point loss, falling just short of tying the game with seconds left to play despite fielding three different quarterbacks.

At times, Houston looked like the team that last beat the Stallions on May 13, 2023. However, after scoring 14 points in the first half, the Roughnecks allowed a touchdown with mere seconds left in the second quarter, robbing them of the chance to enter halftime tied. Instead, they trailed the Stallions on the road 21-14 and couldn’t close the gap.

They haven’t lacked talent this season, just the discipline to finish. Like the Renegades, the Roughnecks will look back on this season and see how good they can be — and hopefully will be — in 2025.

8. Memphis Showboats (1-7)

The Showboats came up just short on the road to suffer their seventh loss in a row after bringing in former Michigan QB Josh Love in relief of Case Cookus after he suffered a hard hit that knocked him out.

Love completed 9 of 12 for 56 yards with a touchdown in the loss, while receiver Daewood Davis continued to make a strong case to be an All-UFL selection with three catches for 86 yards and both of the Showboats’ scores.

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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