Preview 2018: Conference USA Team Rankings

Preview 2018: Conference USA Team Rankings

2018 Preview

Preview 2018: Conference USA Team Rankings


Preview 2018: Previewing and looking ahead to the Conference USA season with the team rankings.


Preview 2018: Conference USA Team Rankings

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This is NOT a prediction of how the teams will finish. They’re the rankings of how good the teams are going into the season.

Please scroll down for the Conference USA rankings done by total conference, ranking 1 through 14.

Conference USA Rankings: East

1. Florida Atlantic Owls

2018 FAU Preview

Should be ranked higher because … the team is far better and there’s far more to work with than when Lane Kiffin took over last season. RB Devin Singletary gets all the love, but the defense will be the star with a loaded group of eventual all-stars.

Should be ranked lower because … the quarterback situation still has to be fine after Jason Driskel retires. There’s talent, but De’Andre Johnson now has to do it.  The offensive front has some reworking to do, and the receiving corps needs a few new stars.

2. Marshall Thundering Herd

2018 Marshall Preview

Should be ranked higher because … the talent is there on both sides of the ball to win in a variety of ways. Once the quarterback situation is settled, the offense should explode behind one of the league’s best lines.

Should be ranked lower because … the secondary is questionable. Safety Malik Grant is a good one, but this group  could get bombed on in shootouts. The special teams are shaky.

3. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

2018 Middle Tennessee Preview

Should be ranked higher because … the passing game will be among the league’s best. QB Brent Stockstill is back for his final year, and he’s got the weapons around him to work with. There’s just enough talent on the defensive front to anchor the front seven.

Should be ranked lower because … the defense isn’t going to be quite strong enough compared to the big boys in the East. It won’t be a negative, but it’s not going to be special. Stockstill and the offense have to carry the team.

4. WKU Hilltoppers

2018 WKU Preview

Should be ranked higher because … Year Two under head coach Mike Sanford should be stronger. The secondary is good enough to hold up against the division’s good-passing teams, and the skill players are strong.

Should be ranked lower because … the offensive line isn’t quite good enough. There wasn’t any running game last season, and there won’t be this year, either.

5. Old Dominion Monarchs

2018 Old Dominion Preview

Should be ranked higher because … the experience is there to be solid across the board, but especially on defense. The defensive front has two excellent players in end Oshane Ximines and tackles Miles Fox to work around, and the secondary is strong at safety.

Should be ranked lower because … the offense still has to prove it can produce, especially from the backfield. The playmakers have to emerge early on; the team needs stars on offense.

6. FIU Golden Panthers

2018 FIU Preview

Should be ranked higher because … the defensive front is good enough to win close games with. hybrid Fermin Silva and tackle Anthony Johnson are two of the league’s better linemen. On the other side, the running backs are strong.

Should be ranked lower because … the offense isn’t going to keep up if it gets down early. The passing game is going to be just okay – at best – without the depth at receiver to make a lot of noise.

7. Charlotte 49ers

2018 Charlotte Preview

Should be ranked higher because … all it might take is just a little bit of offensive production to turn this around in a hurry. The defensive back seven – especially the linebacking corps – will be solid. The 49ers will be far more competitive.

Should be ranked here because … the offense is still a giant question mark. There are quarterbacks, but can Hasaan Klugh and Chris Reynolds jumpstart this thing? The skill players aren’t in place to keep up the pace, and the D isn’t good enough to pick up the slack.

Conference USA Rankings: West

This is NOT a prediction of how the teams will finish. They’re the rankings of how good the teams are going into the season.

Please scroll down for the Conference USA rankings done by total conference, ranking 1 through 14.

1. UTSA Roadrunners

2018 UTSA Preview

Should be ranked here because … the defense and special teams are still going to be among the best in the league, especially at defensive end. If the Roadrunners can get any sort of help on the offensive side, they’re in the Conference USA championship.

Should be ranked lower because … the offensive production isn’t a given. The line isn’t good enough to consistently pound out big yards, and the quarterback situation – if Bryce Rivers isn’t great – is mediocre.

2. North Texas Mean Green

2018 North Texas Preview

Should be ranked higher because … there’s a TON of experience and talent back from last year’s team that got to the Conference USA championship. The passing game will be the best in the league, the coaching is great, and they’ll rock in shootouts.

Should be ranked lower because … the defense is still going to be mediocre, especially on the front line. If the Mean Green aren’t putting up points in bunches, they’re not going to get the help from the other side.

3. Southern Miss Golden Eagles

2018 Southern Miss Preview

Should be ranked higher because … the lines are among the best in the conference. The quarterback situation is outstanding, and the linebackers are great, but the Golden Eagles will win games because they’ll be better up front.

Should be ranked lower because … they lose so much talent at running back and receiver. The secondary is going to be an issue against the high-powered passing teams on the slate.

4. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs

2018 Louisiana Tech Preview

Should be ranked higher because … the defense will be among the best in the West. Amik Robertson and the secondary are terrific and the line is one of the league’s best thanks to end Jaylon Ferguson and tackle Jordan Bradford.

Should be ranked lower because … the running game won’t be anything special, and the special teams will be mediocre, and that will matter. It’s a tight league and a good division up top. The difference between first and fifth is going to be razor-thin.

5. UAB Blazers

2018 UAB Preview

Should be ranked higher because … the team might really be better – it’s obviously more experienced – than the one that shocked the world last year. The secondary is great, A.J. Erdely is a strong quarterback, and now the players know what they’re doing.

Should be ranked lower because … the receiving corps is just okay, and the lines aren’t anything great. The defensive tackles will be a plus as the season goes on, but it won’t be too hard to run on this group. The mediocre special teams will be costly.

6. UTEP Miners

2018 UTEP Preview

Should be ranked higher because … Dana Dimel is a great get for the program. It might take a little while, but the Miners landed a guy who might have been the new Kansas State head man whenever Bill Snyder retires. Expect a bit more of a running attack.

Should be ranked lower because … the defensive front isn’t there yet. Chris Richardson is a good tackle, but there’s no a lot to work with around him. The offense needs help from an O line that should be a problem.

7. Rice Owls

2018 Rice Preview

Should be ranked higher because … there’s a new coach who might just be able to turn this around soon. Mike Bloomgren has a whole lot of work to do, but there’s a new direction now.

Should be ranked here because … the coach might be in place, but the players aren’t. Losing a star tackle in Calvin Anderson to Texas is just the start of the issues. The lines aren’t there, and the playmakers are missing on both sides.

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