The College Football News 2021 Conference USA preseason rankings along with a quick take on every team.
This is NOT a ranking of where the teams are going to finish. This is based on how good we think the Conference USA teams are going into the 2021 season.
2021 CFN Conference USA Preseason Rankings: East
1. Marshall Thundering Herd
Quick Take: It’s one of the most interesting Group of Five teams coming into the 2021 season – it’s Conference USA title or bust. New head man Charles Huff has to pull the Herd offense out of the nosedive that screwed up 2020, and he’s got the parts in place to do it – especially for the passing game. If the D isn’t the best in the conference, it’s second.
Marshall Preview | Schedule
2. WKU Hilltoppers
Quick Take: The Hilltoppers will be deep in the hunt for the Conference USA title – at the very least, they’ll be among the top three teams. The pass rush will be a killer, but the real fun comes with an upgraded passing game. WKU took the parts from a big-time Houston Baptist air show to revamp the O.
WKU Preview | Schedule
3. Florida Atlantic Owls
Quick Take: Willie Taggart should have his Owls in the mix for the Conference USA title. The lines are among the best in the league, the special teams should be great, and if the quarterback play is fine, everything is there to come up with a big season.
FAU Preview | Schedule
4. FIU Golden Panthers
Quick Take: After an ugly 2020, Butch Davis should have a whole lot more success in 2021. It starts with one of the league’s most talented secondaries, a good kicking game, and a promising ground game that should take more control of games.
FIU Preview | Schedule
5. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
Quick Take: The Blue Raiders will be in for a weird season. The team isn’t all that great, but it should push for a bowl game with a whole lot of winnable games built into the slate. The secondary is good thanks to the best group of safeties in the league, but can the offense keep up the pace?
MTSU Preview | Schedule
6. Charlotte 49ers
Quick Take: The 49ers should have a decent passing game, but can the defense hold up? There’s experience, and the coaching is solid, but the schedule doesn’t have a lot of breaks – the 49ers miss most of the easier teams from the West.
Charlotte Preview | Schedule
7. Old Dominion Monarchs
Quick Take: Welcome back, ODU football. After taking last year off, and with head coach Ricky Rahne having to wait a season to get his era going, this is Conference USA’s biggest wild-card team. What’s going to work right away? The offense should get going early on.
ODU Preview | Schedule