(Logs on to write preview blog, starts with last fun C-USA team)
Hmm. This could be a problem.
Who’s Hot – UAB
Ok but seriously, there’s some fun here, largely due to the miracle of a program still existing in Birmingham. Bill Clark is working wonders and got the Blazers to 11(!!!) wins last season. The lack of strength in the league and the return of up-and-coming quarterback Tyler Johnston III means they’ll have shot to do so again.
Who’s Not – Rice
It’s so bad, can we please move on?
Purgatory – Middle Tennessee
They won the East division but only won game outside of conference play. They might do it again barring the breakout of Marshall or Florida International, or perhaps a return to the excitement Lane Kiffin generated at FAU in 2017.
Best Defensive Player, Best Future Pro – Reed Blankenship, Middle Tennessee
107 tackles, 7 pass breakups and 4 interceptions as a sophomore. He’s leaner and a little taller, but we might be looking at another Harrison Smith or Andrew Sendejo (Google him and then see what I did there).
Best Offensive Player, Player of the Year- Spencer Brown, UAB
A combined 2,556 yards and 26 touchdowns in his first 2 years set the stage for a monster junior campaign for the Blazer running back. He’s probably lost a little tread off the tires after a total 522(!!!) carries in his college career, but, again, who’s stopping him in league play?
West Division Champion – UAB
North Texas made a good push last year after winning the division in ’17, but the Dragons have really figured this thing out.
East Division – Florida International
Butch Davis ran the actual most consistent program in the division last year. This time around the Panthers don’t drop the most important conference games and get the job done.
Conference USA Champion – UAB
If Johnston is better full-time than he was splitting reps at QB and linebacker Kristopher Moll breaks out to help replace lineman Anthony Rush and Jamell Garcia-Williams, the Blazers are going to be just fine.