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Conference USA Football 2021 Predictions

Sincere McCormick, UTSA Roadrunners Football

Sincere McCormick, UTSA Roadrunners Football

Conference USA’s 2021 college football season features many unknowns, but it's no secret the balance of power for predictions resides in the West Division. UAB is Athlon’s pick to win the West and claim the conference title for the second year in a row, but UTSA is inching closer under second-year coach Jeff Traylor. The East features a wide-open battle between Marshall, FAU and WKU. New coach Charles Huff should keep the Thundering Herd on track this fall. However, the Owls and Hilltoppers have the pieces to make a run at the top.

Louisiana Tech headlines the next tier of teams after UAB and UTSA in the West Division. The Bulldogs are followed by a tight battle between Rice, Southern Miss and North Texas for the next three spots. UTEP is improving but still projects seventh in the West. Charlotte should push for a bowl spot and could threaten the top three in the East with improvement on defense. Middle Tennessee, FIU and Old Dominion round out the pecking order in the East.

Athlon Sports has released its preseason magazine for 2021, and now it's time to preview and predict the conferences. Below are Athlon's picks and projections for Conference USA in '21:

Conference USA Football 2021 Predictions

East Division

1. Marshall

New coach Charles Huff steps into a good situation for 2021. Marshall finished 7-3 and earned a trip to the C-USA title game last fall and returns the best collection of talent in the East this season.

Previewing the Offense

Strength: The quarterback position is unsettled across Conference USA this year, but there’s a good chance Marshall has the best one in Grant Wells. The West Virginia native had a strong debut last season but needs to rebound after an uneven close to 2020. Wells returns three out of his top five receivers, while three starters are back along the offensive line.

Concern: Can Wells rebound after a disappointing close to the 2020 season? Standout guard Cain Madden transferred to Notre Dame this summer, leaving a significant void on the right side of the offensive line. Leading rusher Brenden Knox (887 yards in 2020) also must be replaced.

Incoming Transfers: OL Steven Faucheux; OL TyQaze Leggs; WR Jayden Harrison; OL Billy Ross

Previewing the Defense

Strength: Marshall paced Conference USA by limiting teams to 13 points a game and just 4.4 yards per snap. New coordinator Lance Guidry won’t have linebacker Tavante Beckett or end Darius Hodge, but eight returning starters provide a strong foundation.

Concern: Beckett and Hodge were two of Conference USA’s top defenders last season. Their production and presence aren’t going to be easy to replace. Is there any drop-off due to the shift in coaching staff or scheme tweaks?

Incoming Transfers: DL Shane Simmons; CB LeAnthony Williams; DL Charles Moore; DB Cory McCoy

Related: Athlon Sports' College Football Top 25 for 2021

2. Florida Atlantic

The Owls finished 5-4 in coach Willie Taggart’s debut in Boca Raton last year. With the bulk of the two-deep on both sides of the ball returning for 2021, FAU should push Marshall for the C-USA East crown.

Previewing the Offense

Strength: This unit wasn’t overly productive last season, but Taggart addressed the biggest need on offense by dipping into the transfer portal for quarterbacks N’Kosi Perry and Michael Johnson Jr. Better quarterback play should help this unit overall, especially with a deep stable of backs and a solid offensive line already in place. The Owls also don’t lack for talent at receiver.

Concern: FAU averaged only 18.9 points a game and 4.9 yards per play last season. Finding an answer at quarterback is a must for Taggart to help this offense take a big step forward on the stat sheet this fall.

Incoming Transfers: QB N’Kosi Perry; RB Johnny Ford; WR BJ Alexander; OL Andrew Boselli; OL Kamaar Bell; QB Michael Johnson Jr.

Previewing the Defense

Strength: FAU finished second in Conference USA in scoring defense (17.4 ppg) and fourth in yards per play allowed (5.1). New coordinator Mike Stoops won’t lack for experience or depth at all three levels, so improving on those totals (or maintaining) is within reach. The linebacker unit could get even deeper and better if Akileis Leroy returns after missing 2020.

Concern: FAU doesn’t have a ton of concerns on this side of the ball. A new coordinator always creates some transition or uncertainty, so Stoops has big shoes to fill in replacing Jim Leavitt. The only departure from the starting lineup was a big one in Leighton McCarthy (eight sacks).

Incoming Transfers: DB D’Marcus Adams; DL Malcolm Lamar

3. WKU

The Hilltoppers were one of college football’s most active programs in the transfer portal this offseason. If all of the talent falls into place right away, WKU can challenge Marshall and FAU for the C-USA East title.  

Previewing the Offense

Strength: An infusion of transfers and the arrival of new play-caller Zach Kittley provides a spark for an offense that averaged only 19 points a game and 4.6 yards per snap in 2020. Houston Baptist transfer quarterback Bailey Zappe posted huge numbers at the FCS level under Kittley and a couple of receivers followed him to Bowling Green. Also, the arrival of Boe Wilson and Cameron Stage should stabilize a line that lost three starters.

Concern: Blending the new system and transfers won’t be an easy task for Kittley. Can he get this offense up and running before conference play begins? The line allowed 28 sacks last year, so there’s room to improve in the trenches.

Incoming Transfers: WR Ben Ratzlaff; OL Cameron Stage; WR Daewood Davis; TE Dane Saltarelli; TE Zac Lefebvre; OL Boe Wilson; WR Josh Sterns; WR Jerreth Sterns; RB Adam Cofield; WR Kyle McNamara; QB Bailey Zappe; WR Kendall Abdur-Rahman

Previewing the Defense

Strength: New coordinator Maurice Crum inherits one of the top defensive lines in C-USA. End DeAngelo Malone is capable of wreaking havoc off the edge, while Juwuan Jones and Jeremy Darvin join the senior as returning starters on a defense that limited teams to 25.3 points a game in 2020. Antwon Kincade is one of the top returning defensive backs in Conference USA and anchors a secondary that finished third in pass efficiency defense last fall.

Concern: The transition from Clayton White to Crum as coordinator should be seamless, but any change among the coaching staff adds some uncertainty. The linebacker unit and secondary units need to be revamped. The defense has to get better versus the run after finishing seventh in the conference last year.

Incoming Transfers: LB Niko Cooper; DL Michael Allen; CB Davion Williams; DE Michael Pitts; CB Tre Shaw; LB Matthew Flint; DL Brodric Martin

Order a Copy of Athlon Sports' 2021 College Football National and SEC Preview Editions

4. Charlotte

Similar to other C-USA programs, Charlotte never seemed to find its rhythm in the abbreviated season. After making a bowl in coach Will Healy’s debut (2019), the 49ers slipped to 2-4 last fall. With a handful of transfers joining an experienced roster, Charlotte should rebound back into postseason contention.

Previewing the Offense

Strength: Quarterback Chris Reynolds should push for all-conference honors, with Texas A&M transfer James Foster adding competition. Led by senior Victor Tucker, the 49ers should have one of the top receiving corps in the conference. Also, four starters are back in the trenches.

Concern: Top running backs Tre Harbison III and Aaron McAllister departed after 2020. Who steps up to handle the workload on the ground? Although the 49ers have four starters back in the trenches, improvement in pass protection is a must after giving up 16 sacks in six games.

Incoming Transfers: QB James Foster; RB Shadrick Byrd; TE Ricky Kofoed; WR Keith Pearson; OL T.J. Moore; OL Chibueze Nwanna

Previewing the Defense

Strength: Healy dipped into the transfer portal to provide instant help on a defense that allowed 32.5 points a game and surrendered 6.6 yards a snap last fall. A healthy season from end Markees Watts is a big deal to a pass rush that registered only five sacks in 2020.

Concern: The defensive line and secondary lost key pieces from last year’s unit. How fast can the defense blend the transfers with the returning pieces to generate improvement? Charlotte has to get tougher versus the run after allowing 214 yards a game last fall.

Incoming Transfers: LB Justin Whisenhunt; DL Kofi Wardlow; S Davondre Robinson; DL Joshua Bailey; S Jon Alexander; DL Mikel Horton; LB Derek Boykins; DB Geovonte Howard

5. Middle Tennessee

After four consecutive years with bowl appearances and winning records (2015-18), coach Rick Stockstill’s team is only 7-14 over the last two seasons. The Blue Raiders need to show progress in ’21 for Stockstill to avoid hot seat talk.

Previewing the Offense

Strength: NC State transfer Bailey Hockman should provide stability and a solid option under center. Most of the skill talent at running back and receiver is set to return for new coordinator Brent Dearmon this fall.

Concern: Big improvement is needed on this side of the ball. The Blue Raiders averaged only 5.2 yards per play and 22.9 points a game last season. Additionally, the ground game was sluggish (3.8 per play), and the line gave up 23 sacks in nine contests.

Incoming Transfers: QB Bailey Hockman; OL Jamari Williams; OL Netori Johnson; WR Ja’Shawn Sheffield; WR Izaiah Gathings

Previewing the Defense

Strength: The news isn’t all bad for Middle Tennessee after giving up 6.1 yards per play and 35.4 points a game in 2020. Coordinator Scott Shafer brings back 10 starters and plenty of experience here, so improvement with a normal offseason seems within reach. The safety pairing of Gregory Grate and Reed Blankenship is one of the best at the Group of 5 level.

Concern: As mentioned above, last year’s numbers and overall performance – even with a ton of experience back – are a major concern going into 2021. Additionally, the Blue Raiders struggled mightily on third downs, gave up too many big plays, and had issues stopping the run (221.9 ypg allowed).

Incoming Transfers: DB Tra Fluellen

Related: Conference USA 2021 All-Conference Team

6. FIU

The Panthers’ streak of three consecutive bowl appearances under Butch Davis was snapped due to an 0-5 mark last fall. COVID-19 disruptions hit FIU hard last year, so a normal offseason should help this program get back on track in 2021.

Previewing the Offense

Strength: The Panthers have a talented collection of skill players. Running back D’vonte Price returns after rushing for 581 yards in the abbreviated season, while the receiving corps features a couple of options at tight end (Rivaldo Fairweather and Sterling Palmer) and receivers Bryce Singleton, Tyrese Chambers and Shemar Thornton (combined for 51 receptions in 2019).

Concern: FIU averaged only 22.4 points a game and 4.6 yards per play last fall. Everything on offense needs to show significant improvement for the Panthers to go bowling in 2021. New play-caller Andrew Breiner needs to find a quarterback and solidify the offensive line.

Incoming Transfers: WR Tyrese Chambers; OL Api Mane; OL JD Gomez; WR Randall St. Felix; OL Rey Burnett

Previewing the Defense

Strength: FIU should be one of the better secondary groups in Conference USA with the return of cornerbacks Josh Turner and Rishard Dames and safeties Dorian Hall and Richard Dames. Jamal Gates is back at linebacker, and the Panthers have plenty of experience returning among starters in the trenches.

Concern: The Panthers have to get better versus the run after giving up 235.6 yards a game last season. A better pass rush is also needed (10 sacks in 2020). FIU generated only three turnovers and allowed 32.4 points a contest last year.

Incoming Transfers: DL Jeramy Passmore; DL Hal Vinson; LB Eric Mitchell

7. Old Dominion

The Monarchs did not play due to COVID-19 last season, so the 2021 campaign marks the first official year for coach Ricky Rahne. The former Penn State offensive coordinator was a good hire for Old Dominion, but all signs point to a rebuilding project with just seven starters back after the program went 1-11 in ’19.

Previewing the Offense

Strength: Rahne’s background on this side of the ball should pay dividends after Old Dominion averaged 16.3 points a game in 2019. A couple of transfers add talent and instant help at a couple of spots, including quarterback (D.J. Mack from UCF). Center Isaac Weaver is solid, and running back Elijah Davis is back after running for 337 yards in ’19.

Concern: How big of a jump in production can Rahne generate in his first year? The Monarchs need better play up front and have to settle the quarterback battle for the offense to take off in ’21.

Incoming Transfers: TE Zack Kuntz; WR Ali Jennings; WR Trey Blount; QB D.J. Mack; OL Tyran Hunt

Previewing the Defense

Strength: Only three starters are back on this side of the ball, but linebacker Jordan Young and defensive backs Geronda Hall and Harrell Blackmon are a good starting point for coordinator Blake Seiler.

Concern: The Monarchs are thin on proven options up front from a defense that allowed 29.8 points a game in 2019. Overall depth on this side of the ball could be an issue.

Incoming Transfers: DL Deeve Harris; S Robert Kennedy

West Division

1. UAB

The path to a Conference USA title in 2021 runs through Birmingham. Coach Bill Clark has guided UAB to two league championships over the last three years and has claimed the West Division title in three consecutive seasons. 

Previewing the Offense

Strength: The Blazers have some question marks here, but it’s safe to assume Clark will find the right answers. DeWayne McBride is poised for a huge year as Spencer Brown’s replacement at running back, while the line should be among the best in the conference. After dealing with a shoulder injury in 2020, a healthy Tyler Johnston III at quarterback should give the offense a boost through the air.

Concern: Who steps up at receiver? Austin Watkins and Myron Mitchell combined for 63 of the team’s 136 receptions last year but departed after 2020. The offense also needs more efficiency from Johnston III or backup Bryson Lucero. Decreasing turnovers lost (16 in 2020) is a must.

Incoming Transfers: WR TJ Jones; RB Lee Witherspoon

Previewing the Defense

Strength: This group is consistently one of the top defenses at the Group of 5 level. Even with a few personnel losses, don’t expect a major drop in production in 2021. The line is deep and arguably the best in C-USA. Standout Kristopher Moll is sliding from linebacker to safety, but concerns about either unit are minimal.

Concern: It’s hard to find a major concern. Linebacker Jordan Smith and cornerback Brontae Harris are significant departures, but UAB has the personnel and talent to plug the gaps and maintain a high level of performance here.

Incoming Transfers: DL Jalen Mayala; LB Charlie Benton; LB Justin Thomas; CB Troy Young; LB Tyrece Mickens

Related: Athlon Sports' College Football Top 25 for 2021

2. UTSA

Jeff Traylor nearly guided UTSA to a C-USA West Division title in his first year at the helm. And with the bulk of the roster back for 2021, the Roadrunners have a good shot to unseat UAB atop the division.

Previewing the Offense

Strength: Sincere McCormick is one of the top running backs in college football. He’s supported by one of the best lines in the conference, and the Roadrunners return their top two receivers in Zakhari Franklin and Joshua Cephus. Quarterback Frank Harris seems poised to build off a solid 2020 season.

Concern: This group took a step forward on the stat sheet last year but more is needed. A healthy and complete season from Harris would certainly help, but the Roadrunners could use more consistency from the offense after averaging 5.6 yards per play against conference opponents last year.

Incoming Transfers: WR Kennedy Lewis; WR Tre’Von Bradley

Previewing the Defense

Strength: UTSA improved on this side of the ball last year, holding teams to 5.6 yards a snap – down from 6.5 in 2019. Every major contributor is back for ’21, and the addition of a couple of players through the transfer portal only adds to the depth and talent Traylor can deploy this fall. This is one of the top defenses in C-USA.

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Concern: There’s not a glaring issue with this defense, but UTSA can get better in all areas after ranking sixth in the league versus the run and allowing 25.7 points a contest in 2020.

Incoming Transfers: LB Dru Prox; LB Denzel Feaster; DL Brandon Brown; DL Ronald Triplette; DB Clifford Chatman

3. Louisiana Tech

The Bulldogs are on solid ground going into 2021. Coach Skip Holtz has guided the program to seven consecutive bowl trips and another is within reach. Louisiana Tech gave C-USA champion UAB its only loss in conference play last year, but Holtz’s team will need marked improvement on both sides of the ball to jump into title consideration.

Previewing the Offense

Strength: The Bulldogs averaged only 26.7 points a game and 4.5 yards per snap last year, but the news isn’t all bad for Holtz here. Better depth up front should allow the line to stabilize, which will help running back Marcus Williams push for 1,000 yards after transferring in from Appalachian State. Smoke Harris, Griffin Hebert and Isaiah Graham provide a strong trio at receiver. Quarterback Luke Anthony suffered a serious leg injury in December but is on track to return for 2021.

Concern: Can Anthony return to full strength? Louisiana Tech needs marked improvement out of its line for the offense to take off this fall.

Incoming Transfers: RB Marcus Williams; WR Jerrod Means; OL Samuel Williams; OL Kelton Hollins; OL Christopher Fournier; WR Samuel Emilus

Previewing the Defense

Strength: The Bulldogs return 10 starters, including 2020 breakout star linebacker Tyler Grubbs and safety BeeJay Williamson. Also, the return of end Willie Baker after missing last year due to injury will bolster the pass rush. Having an experienced group should allow Louisiana Tech to take a step forward on the stat sheet after allowing 34.7 points a game last fall.

Concern: Were last year’s struggles a sign of things to come or just a one-year blip? In 2019, Louisiana Tech held teams to 21.8 points a game. With 10 starters back, the expectation should be a performance similar to the ’19 level. However, after ranking near the bottom of the conference in rush and pass defense, the rebuilding effort might take a little longer.

Incoming Transfers: LB Kody Fulp; DB Elijah Hamilton; S Myles Mason; CB Baylen Buchanan

Order a Copy of Athlon Sports' 2021 College Football National and SEC Preview Editions

4. Southern Miss

Southern Miss made one of the offseason’s top hires by landing Mississippi native Will Hall as the program’s new coach. Hall arrives after successful stints as a head coach at West Alabama and West Georgia, along with a strong two-year run at Tulane as offensive coordinator (2019-20). A quick fix could be in order for a program that went 3-7 in 2020.

Previewing the Offense

Strength: Running back Frank Gore (708 yards in 2020) is one of the top offensive players in Conference USA. The Golden Eagles bring back three players that caught at least 23 passes last year and plenty of experience to deploy on the offensive line.

Concern: Can Hall find a quarterback to direct his offense? Trey Lowe and Louisville transfer Tee Webb finished spring practice atop the depth chart, but freshman Ty Keyes is a name to watch. The Golden Eagles need more consistency from the line after allowing 24 sacks last year.

Incoming Transfers: OL Briason Mays; QB Tee Webb

Previewing the Defense

Strength: New coordinator Austin Armstrong won’t lack for experience to form a two-deep this offseason. Southern Miss has good experience at all three levels, and this unit should benefit from having linebacker Racheem Boothe and cornerback Rachaun Mitchell back in the mix after missing 2020.

Concern: Will the experience translate into improvement? Southern Miss ranked near the bottom of the conference in pass efficiency defense and eighth versus the run. Also, this group gave up 5.8 yards a play and 32.3 points a game in 2020.

Incoming Transfers: DL Dashawn Crawford; DB Lakevias Daniel; S Jay Stanley; DL Everitt Cunningham

5. North Texas

After winning 18 games from 2017-18, the Mean Green have slipped to an 8-14 record over the last two years. Scoring points won’t be a problem for coach Seth Littrell’s team in ’21. However, the defense has to show marked improvement to get back to a bowl.

Previewing the Offense

Strength: The Mean Green led Conference USA in scoring (34.4 ppg), yards per play (6.6), and most gains of 40-plus yards (19) last season. Littrell has to sort out an intriguing quarterback battle between Austin Aune and former North Carolina signal-caller Jace Ruder, but this unit should be explosive once again. DeAndre Torrey and Oscar Adaway III lead a strong backfield, and four starters return from one of the top lines in the league. A healthy Jyaire Shorter at receiver will help replace the production left behind by Jaelon Darden.

Concern: Can Aune or Ruder claim the job and play with enough consistency to keep the offense on track all year? Shorter’s return is huge, but North Texas needs a couple of other playmakers to emerge at receiver. The offense has to do a better job at managing turnovers after losing 15 in 2020.

Incoming Transfers: QB Jace Ruder; WR Tommy Bush

Previewing the Defense

Strength: Littrell’s hire of veteran coordinator Phil Bennett was a strong move to get a struggling defense pointed in the right direction. Tackle Dion Novil and linebackers Tyreke Davis and KD Davis are three key players among nine returning defensive starters for North Texas in 2021.

Concern: This unit allowed a whopping 42.8 points a game and surrendered 6.94 yards per play last season. Even with a new play-caller and help through the transfer portal, major improvement might be a year away.

Incoming Transfers: DB Logan Wilson; DB John Davis; DB TyRae Thornton; DL Kameron Hill; LB Carson Kropp; CB Ridge Texada; LB Sean-Thomas Faulkner; DL Enoch Jackson; DB Greg Francis

6. Rice

Coach Mike Bloomgren has Rice on the right path entering 2020. Even though the Owls played only five games last season, the program managed to build off a solid finish to the ’19 season. Rice went 2-3 during the abbreviated slate and lost its three games each by 10 points or less. Another step forward is likely in ’21.

Previewing the Offense

Strength: Considering Bloomgren’s background at Stanford, it’s no surprise the offensive line has emerged as a strength. With four starters back, this could be one of the better groups in the conference. Receiver Bradley Rozner is back after opting out of 2020, and tight end Jordan Myers is a versatile all-around playmaker. The additions of transfer quarterbacks Luke McCaffrey and Jake Constantine are key for an offense that averaged only 23.4 points a game last year.

Concern: Quarterback play. Can the Owls find an answer out of McCaffrey, Constantine, JoVoni Johnson or Wiley Green? This offense needs to find some punch for the ground attack after managing only 2.8 yards per carry last fall.

Incoming Transfers: QB Luke McCaffrey; QB Jake Constantine; WR Cedric Patterson

Previewing the Defense

Strength: Rice held its five opponents to just 18.8 points a game last season. With the bulk of the two-deep intact, coordinator Brian Smith has the players to develop this defense to another level in 2021. The Owls finished fifth in the conference in pass efficiency defense and fourth versus the run.

Concern: Last season was a step in the right direction – but will it hold over a full slate? The defense isn’t losing much, but the departure of linebacker Blaze Alldredge to Missouri is a big blow. Rice also has to generate more of a pass rush (just seven sacks in 2020).

Incoming Transfers: None

Related: Conference USA 2021 All-Conference Team

7. UTEP

Dana Dimel enters his fourth year in El Paso with a 5-27 record, but the Miners showed some on-field progress last season. Can that progression continue into 2021 with a winning record?

Previewing the Offense

Strength: The Miners have the pieces to take a step forward on offense. Quarterback Gavin Hardison has room to improve but showed some promise at times last fall. UTEP is set at running back with Deion Hankins (592 yards) and Quardraiz Wadley leading the way. Receiver Jacob Cowing (41 catches) is one of Conference USA’s most underrated players. The Miners have a veteran line in place.

Concern: On paper, this unit appears poised for a jump in production. However, Dimel needs Hardison to take a big a step forward for the offense to improve. UTEP has to do a better job at generating big plays and limiting turnovers.

Incoming Transfers: WR Nick Ast

Previewing the Defense

Strength: Similar to the offense, UTEP’s defense has some intriguing pieces to lean on for improvement. End Praise Amaewhule (seven sacks), linebacker Tyrice Knight, tackle Keenan Stewart, and safety Justin Prince give coordinator Bradley Dale Peveto talent to build around at every level. UTEP ranked third in Conference USA versus the run and ranked third in third-down defense.

Concern: How big of a jump can Peveto deliver in his first year as the play-caller after this group gave up 31 points a game in 2020? UTEP ranked last in the conference in pass efficiency defense last season. Generating more sacks (13 in ‘20) is a must.

Incoming Transfers: DB Walter Neil

C-USA Championship: UAB over Marshall

C-USA 2021 SUPERLATIVES AND SEASON PREDICTIONS

Offensive POY

Pick by Steven Lassan: Sincere McCormick, RB, UTSA

Pick by Ben Weinrib: Sincere McCormick, RB, UTSA

Pick by Mark Ross: Sincere McCormick, RB, UTSA

Defensive POY

Pick by Steven Lassan: DeAngelo Malone, DL, WKU

Pick by Ben Weinrib: DeAngelo Malone, DL, WKU

Pick by Mark Ross: DeAngelo Malone, DL, WKU

Coach of the Year

Pick by Steven Lassan: Bill Clark, UAB

Pick by Ben Weinrib: Willie Taggart, FAU

Pick by Mark Ross: Charles Huff, Marshall

Top Newcomer

Pick by Steven Lassan: Bailey Zappe, QB, WKU

Pick by Ben Weinrib: Justin Thomas, LB, UAB

Pick by Mark Ross: Bailey Zappe, QB, WKU

Sleeper Team

Pick by Steven Lassan: Rice

Pick by Ben Weinrib: Charlotte

Pick by Mark Ross: Charlotte

Key Position to Watch

Pick by Steven Lassan: FAU QBs

Pick by Ben Weinrib: UAB QBs

Pick by Mark Ross: UAB WRs

Best Coordinator Hire

Pick by Steven Lassan: Zach Kittley, OC, WKU

Pick by Ben Weinrib: Phil Bennett, DC, North Texas

Pick by Mark Ross: Zach Kittley, OC, WKU

Hardest Team to Evaluate

Pick by Steven Lassan: WKU

Pick by Ben Weinrib: Old Dominion

Pick by Mark Ross: Old Dominion

Coach on the Rise

Pick by Steven Lassan: Jeff Traylor, HC, UTSA

Pick by Ben Weinrib: Will Healy, HC, Charlotte

Pick by Mark Ross: Jeff Traylor, HC, UTSA

Must-See Game

Pick by Steven Lassan: UAB at UTSA

Pick by Ben Weinrib: UAB at Marshall

Pick by Mark Ross: UAB at Marshall

Breakout Player

Pick by Steven Lassan: DeWayne McBride, RB, UAB 

Pick by Ben Weinrib: Frank Gore Jr., RB, Southern Miss

Pick by Mark Ross: DeWayne McBride, RB, UAB 

Comeback Player

Pick by Steven Lassan: Shemar Thornton, WR, FIU

Pick by Ben Weinrib: Antonio Montero, LB, Rice

Pick by Mark Ross: Jyaire Shorter, WR, North Texas

Podcast: C-USA Preview and Predictions

(Sincere McCormick photo by Jeff Huehn/UTSA Athletics)