Well we’re back for year 2 of the NJAggie season preview.
We’re going to reveal the conferences in order of how they are in the power rankings. So we’re going to start off with:
#11 CONFERENCE USA
CUSA raided the best out of the SunBelt, and some of those have really struggled (MTSU), others have done very well (WKU). However the SBC got some schools which have made a fast transition from FCS to FBS play in Appalachian State and Georgia Southern. That has led to CUSA falling behind the conference about half their members came from. So now on to the CUSA picks for 2016. I don’t see CUSA getting out of the cellar unless 3 or 4 teams win 1 or 2 games they weren’t supposed to ooc.
CUSA – East
1. Western Kentucky University – Hilltoppers – 11-1 / 8-0
The Hilltoppers are ready to roll again, coming off a 12-2 year, they are going to pick right back up where they left off. This team could run the table IF they can beat Alabama in week 2. Rice and Vanderbilt should lose to them.
2. Marshall University – Thundering Herd – 8-4 / 5-3
Marshall was poised to run the table last year, but wound up 10-4. So we’ll see a little more slippage this year. Their big opportunity will be when Louisville comes to Huntington on Sept 24.
2. Middle Tennessee – Blue Raiders – 6-6 / 5-3
MTSU is going to take a hit as they are travelling to Vanderbilt, Bowling Green, and Missouri. But, they’ll still do well in conference.
4. Florida International University – Panthers – 8-4 / 4-4
The Panthers have a dream out of conference schedule. Indiana, Maryland, and UCF will come to Miami to face them, and go home with losses most likely. Their other opponent is UMass, and even in Lowell, that should be no problem for FIU.
5. Old Dominion University – Monarchs – 5-7 / 3-5
ODU is in just their 3rd year in FCS, and they are doing OK, but they are still experiencing growing pains. So they’ll have mixed results.
6. Florida Atlantic University – Owls – 4-8 / 2-6
The Owls struggled last year, and will do the same this year. Their schedule isn’t helpful as they get most of the teams they might beat on the road.
7. University of North Carolina – Charlotte – 49ers – 2-10 / 0-8
This is a great example of what happens when you basically start up and immediately jump into FBS play. Luckily the 49ers have Elon and Eastern Michigan visiting Charlotte or an 0-12 season would be likely.
CUSA – West
1. University of Southern Mississippi – Golden Eagles – 10-2 / 7-1
The Golden Eagles are flying again, and even with a new head coach they should continue their ascent. Trips to LSU and ODU are the ones they are likely to lose.
2. Rice University – Owls – 6-6 / 4-4
Rice will again be competitive in league, and they have a schedule that helps them get in the range to be bowl eligible.
3. Louisiana Tech – Bulldogs – 5-7 / 3-5
The Bulldogs are just not good enough to bull through the schedule and get over .500. Not enough weak teams at home, and too many that they just are not going to be in the same league with.
4. University of Texas – El Paso – Miners – 5-7 / 2-6
Having New Mexico St, Army, and Houston Baptist on the schedule give the Miners a chance to have a respectable record, but this is a team that needs a lot of work to be competitive in league.
5. University of Texas – San Antonio – Roadrunners – 3-9 / 2-6
The roadrunners could be headed for a long season, but getting the 2 worst teams in CUSA, plus an FCS school in the Alamo Dome means they probably win 3 games.
6. University of North Texas – Mean Green – 1-11 / 0-8
Time to get back to calling the team from Denton the Eagles. Last years team was equally bad, and there’s not much here to build on. Getting 2 wins, and beating an FBS team would be a start.