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Arguably, the best coaching job in the country has happened with Coach Bill Clark in Birmingham. This football program was disbanded and since it has returned in 2017, he las led the Blazers to 3-consecutive C-USA West championships, two C-USA conference championships, and four bowl eligible teams. And, keep in mind UAB wasn’t much when the program was completely scrapped. The talent is there to do it again but they will have to deal with a tough schedule. Don’t count these guys out.
Players to Watch: QB, Tyler Johnston III, RB, DeWayne McBride, T, Sidney Wells, G, Colby Ragland, S, Kristopher Moll, DT, Antonio Moultrie, DE, Justin Thomas
Must Wins: at Jacksonville St., at North Texas, FAU, Rice, at UTSA, UTEP
Toss-Up Games They Need to Win But Could Lose: at Tulane, Liberty, at Southern Miss, Louisiana Tech, at Marshall
Probable Losses: at Georgia
Predicted Finish: 1st Place in the C-USA West Division Overall Record: 8-4
Tech has 17 starters coming back but the most important guy is QB, Luke Anthony who suffered a compound fracture in his right leg. All reports are that he is recovering well but he hasn’t been on the field since the injury occurred. There is talent at most positions and the Bulldogs have a shot at the West title especially considering UAB’s difficult schedule.
Players to Watch: QB, Luke Anthony, RB, Marcus Williams Jr., LB, Troy Baldwin, LB, Tyler Grubbs, CB, Cedric Woods, S, BeeJay Williamson
Must Wins: SE Louisiana, North Texas, at UTEP, at Old Dominion, Charlotte, Southern Miss, at Rice
Toss-Up Games They Need to Win But Could Lose: UTSA, at UAB, SMU
Probable Losses: at Mississippi State, at NC State
Predicted Finish: 2nd Place in the C-USA West Division Overall Record: 8-4
UTSA has virtually everyone back from the 7-5 team in 2020 and will likely post back-to-back winning seasons for the second time in their young program. The offense has playmakers all over the field with all five starters back on the offensive line. Everyone is back on a defense that struggled and needs to make steady improvements. It would be silly to overlook this team and they are a definite contender in the West.
Players to Watch: QB, Frank Harris, RB, Sincere McCormick (1,467 rushing yards in 2020), WR, Zakhari Franklin (694 yards and seven TDs), WR, Joshua Cephus (58 receptions for 547 yards) S, Richard Wisdom, LB, Charles Wiley
Must Wins: Lamar, Rice, at UTEP, Southern Miss, at North Texas
Toss-Up Games They Need to Win But Could Lose: Middle Tennessee, at Western Kentucky, UNLV, UAB
Probable Losses: at Illinois, at Memphis, at Louisiana Tech
Predicted Finish: 3rd Place in C-USA West Division Overall Record: 8-4
There was a lot of chaos on the coaching end after Coach Jay Hopson resigned after the season opener. The Eagles went through two interim head coaches before hiring Will Hall. He has brought some stability at USM and now he has to improve the talent base in order to get back to the upper part of the conference.
Players to Watch: RB, Frank Gore Jr. (708 yards in 2020), WR, Jason Brownlee (34 catches for 610 yards and five touchdowns), LB, Swayze Bozeman, LB, Santrell Lathem
Must Wins: at South Alabama, Grambling State, at Rice, UTEP, North Texas
Toss-Up Games They Need to Win But Could Lose: Troy, at Middle Tennessee, FIU
Probable Losses: at Alabama (duh!!), UAB, at UTSA, at Louisiana Tech
Predicted Finish: 4th Place in C-USA West Division Overall Record: 6-6
North Texas Mean Green:
There was nothing “mean” about the defense that was put on the field in 2020. North Texas finished last in the country in total defense and the entire defensive staff was replaced. Veteran defensive coordinator Phil Bennett was brought in to bring about wholesale changes. The offense did their job and finished in the Top-25 in the national rankings in ten major categories and they have playmakers back. 2021 will depend on what the defense can bring to the table and if they can handle a difficult schedule.
Players to Watch: QB, Austin Aune (1,650 passing yards and 13 TDs), RB, Oscar Adaway III, WR, Jyaire Shorter, OL, Manase Mose, LB, KD Davis
Must Wins: Northwestern State, at Rice, UTEP
Toss-Up Games They Need to Win But Could Lose: at Southern Miss, at FIU, UTSA
Probable Losses: at SMU, UAB, at Louisiana Tech, at Missouri, Marshall, Liberty
Predicted Finish: 6th Place in the C-USA West Overall Record: 3-9
Rice have a lot of players back but are they good enough. They have a demanding non-conference schedule to deal with and could get off to a bad start. The conference schedule isn’t awful and they might be able to win some games and vault up the standings higher than what I have them.
Players to Watch: WR, Jake Bailey, WR, Bradley Rozner, LB, Antonio Montero, DL, De’Braylon Carroll, DB, Naeem Smith
Must Wins: Texas Southern, North Texas, at Charlotte, at UTEP
Toss-Up Games They Need to Win But Could Lose: Southern Miss, Western Kentucky,
Probable Losses: at Arkansas, Houston, at Texas, at UTSA, at UAB, Louisiana Tech
Predicted Finish: 5th Place in the C-USA West Division Overall Record: 4-8
The Miners managed to win three games in 2020 and they are a program that is improving. The first six games at the start of the season have some possible wins and they have a chance to get off to a decent start. They could finish ahead of Rice, North Texas, and possibly Southern Miss if things go their way.
Players to Watch: QB, Gavin Harrison, WR, Jacob Cowing, WR, Justin Garrett, DL, Praise Amaewhule, LB, Tyrice Knight
Must Wins: at New Mexico State, Bethune-Cookman, Old Dominion
Toss-Up Games They Need to Win But Could Lose: New Mexico, at North Texas, Rice
Probable Losses: at Boise State, at Southern Miss, Louisiana Tech, at FAU, at UAB
Predicted Finish: 7th Place in the C-USA West Division Overall Record: 4-8
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