Friday, July 24, 2009

Breaking Down the NCAA Part 8 of 12

Conference USA Order of Finish:

East Division

1. Southern Miss-Brett Favre U has a dynamic offense and an all conference RB in Damion Fletcher. This could be the most solid team in C-USA. The defense is lacking (a running theme in smaller conference football) but the offense could be good enough to propel them to a second consecutive bowl win. QB Austin Davis is a rising star, probably the best Southern Miss QB since, well you know.

2. East Carolina- Head Coach Skip Holtz got this team up in the beginning of the season. After huge upsets against Va Tech and West Virginia. Although a lot of people downed the Pirates, they went on to win the C-USA and narrowly lose to Kentucky in the Liberty Bowl. QB Patrick Pinkney returns to leads the offense with a solid team around him. Holtz will skip town sometime soon, so the time is now for the ECU Pirates.

3. Central Florida- UCF has a pretty good defense, but the offense is awful. We are learned how vital Kevin Smith was to the UCF attack a year after he left for the NFL. QB Rob Calabrese leads a young offense (one SR starter) with no where to go but up. Head Coach George O'Leary will need the offense to jump start a bowl trip this winter.

4. Memphis- The Tigers have some pieces to build around, but will still be a work in progress. RB Curtis Steele will be the workhorse, and WR Carlos Singleton is 6'8''. They have made 5 out 6 bowl games in the last six seasons, but with a tough non conference and tough C-USA road contests, Memphis could just miss out.

5. Marshall- I just saw We Are Marshall. Awesome. I just thought about the Thundering Herd this year. Not so Awesome. Ever since the move ("upgrade?") to the C-USA from the MAC, Marshall is 16-31. This year, probation problems devastated the lineup with the best players on the team, RB Darius Marshall and CB DeQuan Bembry are in hot water. This could be the beginning of more tough times for Marshall.

6. UAB- QB Joe Webb is an all star. Sadly, a lot of the other Blazers aren't. The 6'4'' SR threw for 2,367 yards and ran for 1,021. The offensive line and running back returns, but the WR is a little under talented for the possible NFL Prospect. The won 2 out of 3 games to end of the year, and must build on that success to have a chance at a bowl game.

West Division

1. Houston-The best C-USA offense and team are the Houston Cougars. QB Casey Keenum leads a dynamic passing attack and RB Bryce Beall balances the attack. The number 2 passing attack plays Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Mississippi State to display how good they can be. The defense should be decent enough to win the C-USA and possibly go undefeated, earning Houston the BCS Buster label.

2. Tulsa-Only lost by 3 in the C-USA Championship game, and crushed an unmotivated Ball State in the GMAC Bowl. The offense is always good, so the losses do not affect the Golden Hurricanes as much as you would expect. They are too far behind Houston to challenge for the West Division Crown, but should go bowling. Expect lots of passing and scoring.

3. UTEP- After Jordan Palmer left school, the Miners found his replacement quickly. QB Trevor Vittatoe leads an awesome offense that should propel them to a bowl bid. The defense leaves something to be desired, but the offense is explosive. They are a fun, growing team. Play with them in NCAA Football 2010, they are more fun digital.

4. Rice- When they weren't scoring points or destroying my WMU Broncos in the Texas Bowl, Rice was playing with reckless abandon. They ran and threw the ball well. Sadly for Rice, they need to rebuild and find a starter at QB. They lost a lot, and for a program that is not as strong as other C-USA schools, reloading could prove difficult.

5. SMU- June Jones work your magic. When he was not shattering NCAA passing records or producing 3rd string NFL QB talent, June Jones was building a WAC Dynasty in Hawaii. Although the Mustangs went 1-11 last year, Jones has another year of work and recruits to run his system. They should win more than 1 game, even more is QB Bo Levi Mitchell learns the offense quicker.

6. Tulane-The offense struggled and the returning secondary did not return anybody with an interception. This could be a tough hole for the Green Wave to dig out of, after tough years with Hurricane Katrina. They have a tough road C-USA schedule, but a lighter non conference schedule should help the team gel. They could compete, and maybe go bowling in 2010.

C-USA Championship: Houston over Southern Miss

Corbitt Gutsy Guarantee: Houston will not make a BCS Bowl. The Cougars do not have enough overall talent to play an Alabama or West Virginia in January. They are explosive and paired with Southern Miss, SMU, UTEP and Tulsa, could make the C-USA into the next bowl busting, pass happy WAC 2.0. The Cougars might be a year away. Casey Keenum needs to play 2 more years to see the Cougars potential.

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