Tuesday, August 10, 2010


For the past two years, a Conference USA team has given some hope that it could crash the BCS party. In 2008, it was East Carolina's wins over Virginia Tech and West Virginia that got people thinking. After ECU lost, Tulsa cruised to an 8-0 record before losses to Arkansas and Houston killed those dreams. In 2009, Houston stepped up to the plate with an upset over then-No. 5 Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, and hung in the top 25, the first time the Cougars were ranked since 1991.

1. Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles (9-3, 7-1)
-The pride of Southern Miss is out to win a title (no, not that guy). The Golden Eagles have made it to a bowl game seven straight years and have had 16 straight winning seasons. I think this team has just enough to win the East, especially a talented receiver in DeAndre Brown, who caught nine touchdowns last year.

2. UCF Knights (10-2, 6-2)
-Since joining the C-USA, UCF has never had consecutive winning seasons, but that could change this year, as they have a good team coming back. The key for them winning the division and the conference is junior quarterback Rob Calabrese. Last year, he was inconsistent and benched because of it. If he does well, the team can try to make a run for the BCS.

3. East Carolina Pirates (7-5, 6-2)
-I guess a Mike Leach influent took being a Pirate to heart. But for Ruffin McNeil, he was always a Pirate, and now he gets to coach his alma mater. East Carolina has won the last two C-USA titles, but it will be very hard for a repeat effort as they only have eight starters back.

4. Marshall Thundering Herd (7-5, 5-3)
-Back in the late 90s and early 2000s, Marshall was a force to be reckoned with in the MAC, with players like Randy Moss, Chad Pennington, and Byron Leftwich. However, the team struggled in its first few years in C-USA until last year and finally making a bowl. They will make another bowl this season with first-year head coach Doc Holliday, a former recruiter for West Virginia.

5. UAB Blazers (4-8, 3-5)
-With QB Joe Webb in the NFL and a tough road schedule, UAB will continue to be close, yet so far away from a another bowl appearance. The Blazers have to travel to SMU, Tennessee, Mississippi State, UCF, and Southern Miss. Ouch, good luck.

6. Memphis Tigers (0-12, 0-8)
-I really hate doing this, but given the team and the competition the team has to face, Memphis will finish winless this year. The team went 2-10 last season, but we blown out in every loss except an overtime heartbreaker to Tulsa. If they are lucky, however, they can win 1-2 games, thanks to an average offense, which is their strength.

1. Houston Cougars (11-1, 7-1)
-Houston is poised to make another BCS push, and with good reason. Last year, they beat three BCS teams en route to a 10-4 record. Now, Heisman candidate Case Keenum is back with four explosive receivers, led by James Cleveland, as he continues to flourish with a program with a deep QB history. Now if only they can play defense too...but they are clearly the best team in the conference.

2. SMU Mustangs (6-6, 5-3)
-Once upon a time, SMU was a dominating team that made numerous Cotton Bowls and won the Southwest Conference regularly. But then came the Death Penalty. Last year, SMU won the Hawaii Bowl in the school's first bowl game since that incident. This also showed that coach June Jones can turn a team around, much like he did at Hawaii. SMU will have a tough year this year, but they can still make a bowl game thanks to their offense.

3. Tulsa Golden Hurricane (6-6, 4-4)
-Last year had to be an aberration, as Tulsa failed to make it to a bowl game for the first time since 2004. This year, they will barely make a return thanks to a strong offense led by quarterback G.J. Kinne and receiver Damaris Johnson, who caught 78 passes for 1131 yards last season.

4. UTEP Miners (7-5, 4-4)
-It's been a long while since UTEP made a bowl game, but they could get out of the drought this year. The schedule is favorable, because they have Rice, Tulane, and Memphis on it and at home even. The player to watch for is Donald Buckram who ran for 1594 yards and 18 touchdowns last year.

5. Rice Owls (2-10, 1-7)
-As one Houston school flourishes, the other is stuck in the doldrums. Rice was 2-10 last year, and I really do not see any reason that they will top that mark. There's hope for the future though, as they have a two-headed monster at running back with Sam McGuffie and Charles Ross.

6. Tulane Green Wave (1-11, 0-8)
-Times have been hard for a Green Wave fan recently. Once the original "fly in the ointment" to the BCS in 1998, Tulane has not had a winning record since 2002. There is no signal for a change this year, as they do not have any big time players to compete in the conference.

Houston d. Southern Miss


Houston- Liberty
ECU- Hawai'i
UTEP- Armed Forces
Southern Miss- New Orleans
UCF- Beef 'O' Brady's
Marshall- EagleBank
SMU & Tulsa- TBA

Case Keenum (QB for Houston)
-Who else would it be? He's the reigning C-USA offensive player of the year, the reigning winner of the Sammy Baugh award, and threw for 5000 yards in each of the last two years, only the second QB to do so.

1. Conference USA Championship Game (Dec. 4)
2. Southern Miss @ UCF (Nov. 13)
3. Houston @ Texas Tech (Nov. 27)
4. Mississippi State @ Houston (Oct. 9)
5. Houston @ SMU (Oct. 23)

No comments:

Post a Comment