1. One Honest Thought On Each Conference USA Team
Click on each team for the preview, 5 things to know
Conference USA East
Charlotte – How much fun was that first season under Will Healy? After going to a bowl game and coming up with a winning season, depth might be an issue, but this is a young, energetic team with the offensive parts to do even more.
Florida Atlantic – Ohhhhh no. There’s no grace period for Willie Taggart. Lane Kiffin left a loaded cupboard, and for the first time, Taggart is taking over a program he doesn’t have to rebuild. FAU has the talent to win the title again.
FIU – It stinks when the FAU team up the road is doing so much, but the Golden Panthers should be able to win their share of slugfests. The offense, though, is going to be an early concern.
Marshall – Lost in all the fun FAU had was how the Herd had the East there for the taking, but lost to Charlotte late in the year. It’s another terrific Doc Holliday team starting with the league’s best O line.
Middle Tennessee – Who wasn’t banged up for the Blue Raiders? Expect a huge bounce-back season with some of the best high-end talents in the conference. QB Asher O’Hara should be a statistical superstar.
Old Dominion – Former Penn State assistant Ricky Rahne might be able to do some damage right away. The new head man has to rework the parts, but with a few key transfers and some stars in place, this might grow into the proverbial team that no one wants to face.
WKU – FAU is going to be great, Marshall is going to be Marshall, and there won’t be a week off in the division. Even so, with the momentum of last year to build on, Tyson Helton has something great brewing. The O has to start to go.
Conference USA West
Louisiana Tech – Yeah, it would’ve been nice to have seen what last year’s team could’ve done if there weren’t the late season suspensions, but that was 2019. This year’s version is good enough to make up for it and win the West, starting with a special receiving corps.
North Texas – After two straight nine-win seasons, Seth Littrell needs a huge year coming off a 4-8 clunker. He’s a young talent who won’t get fired unless there’s a disaster, but he was a hot star who be back in the mix for bigger gigs if the Mean Green start winning again.
Rice – As stated earlier, this is a team that could surprise with TCU transfer QB Michael Collins getting a strong receiving corps to throw to. However, this team is built around running the ball, even if the parts for the passing game are better.
Southern Miss – A bit overlooked with so many other interesting storylines in the league, USM doesn’t have any major weakness, but it also doesn’t have a whole lot of wow factor. Whatever – don’t be shocked if it’s playing for the Conference USA title.
UAB – Enough with the cute story angle – this is a Conference USA powerhouse under Bill Clark. As good as things have been after the reboot, this year’s team should be the strongest yet. This is the year everything was supposed to come together, but the timetable got moved up a wee bit.
UTEP – No program in America is more overdue to have a little bit of fun. After so much misery and so many losses, the Miners are still building things up under Dana Dimel. The passing game might be okay, but overall, get excited if there are two wins.
UTSA – New head man Jeff Traylor has to find an offense. The secondary is good, the offensive backfield should be okay, but the Miners aren’t going to do much too fast unless the line play is a whole lot better.