You know that it’s getting closer to football season when all of the watch lists come out. With those come predictions. Conference USA polled it’s coaches to predict the order of finish in the conference this season, without “professional” assistance, and here are the results:
CUSA east division:
Middle Tennessee State
CUSA west division:
Of course, there are a couple of surprises here. The coaches seem to have faith in Carl Pelini turning around the FAU Owls. They showed signs of improvement last year, but was there enough to warrant putting them over Western Kentucky? I wouldn’t go that far yet.
Old Dominion offsets the conference now, putting seven teams in the east. Charlotte will join next year to put the conference back up to 14 teams. Tulane left to join the American Conference after last season.
The newcomers are not predicted to finish last, presumably on the strength of O’Brien watch list QB Taylor Heinicke.
Southern Mississippi lost 23 games in a row after Larry Fedora left before beating UAB last November. The coaches seem to expect better of them this year, and rightfully so.
These predictions mean that if the coaches are right, North Texas would play Marshall in the CUSA championship game.
Conference USA does not hold their championship at a neutral site. The team with the best record plays host to the game. If there is a tie, they go to the head-to-head meeting.