The 2020 Conference USA Preview with the top players, biggest games, most important transfers, and thoughts on each team.
5. Conference USA 2020 Preview: The League Has Found Its Niche
We know what Conference USA is in the college football world.
It’s certainly not going to be like the American Athletic Conference and start inviting itself into a club without the password, and it’s not quite as strong as the Mountain West, but it’s ahead of the MAC and Sun Belt.
And that’s just fine. The league is going to be plenty fun where it is, especially this season.
It proved itself here and there last year – WKU whacked around Arkansas, and Louisiana Tech stunned Miami in the Independence Bowl – but assuming it’ll be a self-contained conference in this craziest of seasons, it’s equipped to stand out from the pack even without all the dates against the Power Fivers.
It’s set up for a good season with the potential for two terrific division races.
The power is mostly in the East with Florida Atlantic, WKU and Marshall all good enough to win it, and with Middle Tennessee and FIU right there with a shot to knocking off the Owls for the top spot. The West has killers up top in UAB, Louisiana Tech and Southern Miss in what should be a whale of a three-way battle.
As always, though, Conference USA has it’s issues with the bottom teams. To get into the discussion to be better than the Mountain West, the league needs UTEP, UTSA and Rice to be more than roadkill for the top teams. It would help if Old Dominion bounced back from a rough year.
There should be around nine, maybe ten teams all good enough play with everyone else. Plenty of teams have a shot, several young and new coaches are joining the fun to go along with the elder statesmen, and most of all, this will be among the competitive and unpredictable leagues going.