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  1. With a 7-0 record against the other conferences in the Group of 5, Conference USA is surprisingly making a strong case as the best league outside of the Power 5. On the opening weekend, Texas-San Antonio stunned Houston, 27-7, in the opener of the Cougars' new stadium. That same night, Western Kentucky thumped Bowling Green, the defending MAC champ, by a score of 59-31. The trend continued last week as North Texas dominated SMU, 43-6, and Louisiana Tech shocked Louisiana-Lafayette, 48-20, on the Cajuns' home field. ULL and Bowling Green were expected to contend for Sun Belt and MAC titles this season. While the verdict is still out on how good SMU and Houston are this year, it was a major boost for Conference USA to watch two of its former teams get trounced by the programs brought in to replace them. North Texas was invited to keep a presence in the Dallas-Forth Worth market following SMU's departure and Texas-San Antonio was intended to offset the loss of a large market program like Houston. Read more: http://www.sunherald.com/2014/09/08/5788083/c-usa-earns-early-right-to-be.html
  2. Marshall (10-4, 7-1): Marshall is not only the overall favorite, it has a chance to run the table. The Thunder Herd will be favored to win all of their regular-season games. They have the league's top player in senior quarterback Rakeem Cato and the league's top recruiting class. Marshall should cruise into the CUSA championship game West Division This is a little more muddled. North Texas (9-4, 6-2) was a slight favorite in the preseason poll over defending overall champion Rice (10-4, 7-1).UTSA (7-5, 6-2), picked third, has 19 returning starters. Flip a coin. Read more: http://www.courier-journal.com/story/sports/college/kentuckiana/2014/08/23/conference-usa-scouting-report/14500403/
  3. MURFREESBORO – MTSU coach Rick Stocktstill says he’s in no hurry to pick a starting quarterback. Some Conference USA coaches have similar patience. Some do not, opting to make a decision sooner rather than later. MTSU is among six C-USA teams that will pick a new starting quarterback this season. Sophomore Austin Grammer, redshirt freshman AJ Erdely and true freshman Brent Stockstill are vying for the Blue Raiders’ No. 1 job. Before preseason camps kicked off, a few C-USA coaches facing quarterback competitions weighed in on the different approaches. Some said you must name a starter to give stability to the other offensive players. Rick Stockstill said that notion is a little overblown. North Texas coach Dan McCarney has a four-man competition. He puts a value on his players identifying their starting quarterback as early as possible. “We’ve got to sift through this thing quickly because we go on national TV on Aug. 30 to play Texas, and we have to find who our best guy is,” McCarney said. “We have experience around those guys. The sooner you get them in there the better for chemistry, communication and getting on the same page.” Read more: http://www.tennessean.com/story/sports/college/mtsu/2014/08/06/c-usa-coaches-differ-picking-qb/13694843/
  4. After banging out a few stories for the tomorrow’s papers, I’m back with some follow-up thoughts from Conference USA media day. I wrote a main story and a notebook for tomorrow’s DRC (buy the newspaper), so there isn’t much I didn’t get in, but here’s one tidbit I omitted. Dan McCarney talked a little about opening against Texas and facing SMU early in the season … “North Texas has never beaten Texas and is 4-28 against SMU [actually, it's 4-28-1, but who's counting?],” McCarney said. “Rivalry? Rivalry at 4-28? We had better establish one where we have a chance and they have a chance. Do the math, there is no rivalry.” read more: http://meangreenblog.dentonrc.com/2014/07/c-usa-media-days-wrap-up-thoughts-and-tidbits.html/
  5. IRVING, Texas — For every problem there is a solution. This is how Charlie Partridge operates. When the Plantation native was hired to take over the FAU football program in December, there was a need to embrace what could be. The assistants he hired led to high-end recruits such as St. Thomas Aquinas running back Jordan Scarlett committing to the program. His quick imprint built upon the Owls' four-game winning streak to end what was a hellish season filled with departures and rumor. Some of that momentum, or so it seemed, disappeared. Scarlett and another high-end recruit, Miramar's Herb Miller, decommitted in July, and the realization of playing at Nebraska and Alabama to open the season seems intimidating. Partridge, speaking Wednesday at the Conference USA Media Day, said he didn't feel that the optimism at FAU has changed at all. "We can't talk specifically about certain recruits, but that's recruiting," he said. "There are times you play defense and times you play offense." Read more: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/fau-owls/fl-fau-conference-usa-0724-20140723,0,3358345.story
  6. UNT was a narrow pick to win Conference USA’s West Division in the league’s preseason coaches’ poll that was released this morning. UNT received 66 points in the poll, just edging out Rice and UTSA, which received 65 and 62 points, respectively. The Mean Green had two players named to the preseason all-conference team in senior guards Cyril Lemon and Mason Y’Barbo. The honors come after a breakout season that saw the Mean Green finish 9-4 and beat UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. Read more: http://meangreenblog.dentonrc.com/2014/07/unt-picked-to-win-the-c-usa-west-in-preseason-coaches-poll.html/
  7. Phil Steele released his returning starter info recently. UTSA (returns 19 starters) FIU (18 ) ODU (17) UTEP (16) Southern Miss (15) UAB (14) Marshall (13) La Tech (13) Rice (12) MTSU (11) WKU (11) UNT (9) Yikes!
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