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ESPN: College football predictions, awards and storylines for every conference
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WesternBlazer Offline
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Exclamation ESPN: College football predictions, awards and storylines for every conference

2020 Conference USA East

1. Western Kentucky
2. FAU
3. Marshall
4. FIU
5. Charlotte
6. Middle Tennessee

2020 Conference USA West

1. UAB
2. Louisiana Tech
3. Rice
4. Southern Miss
5. North Texas

Conference USA champion: UAB
Offensive player of the year: Brenden Knox, RB, Marshall
Defensive player of the year: DeAngelo Malone, DE, Western Kentucky
Offensive freshman of the year: Grant Wells, QB, Marshall
Defensive freshman of the year: Daj'eun Gibson, CB, Charlotte
Comeback player of the year: Brontae Harris, CB, UAB
Best offensive transfer: Tyrrell Pigrome, QB, Western Kentucky (via Maryland)
Best defensive transfer: Tyson Maeva, LB, FIU (via Boise State)
Coach of the year: Mike Bloomgren, Rice
Coach on the hot seat: Dana Dimel, UTEP
Coordinator on the rise: Clayton White, defensive coordinator, Western Kentucky
Game of the year: Western Kentucky at UAB, Oct. 17
Nonconference game of the year: UAB at Miami, Sept. 10
Upset of the year: Charlotte over Duke, Oct. 31

Three predictions for Conference USA

1. UAB wins the league: The Blazers didn't look great in their opening 45-35 victory over Central Arkansas on Thursday night, but a lot of teams aren't going to look good coming out of the gates after most missed spring practice because of the pandemic. The Blazers turned the ball over three times and committed eight penalties, which are mistakes that coaches can correct. The Blazers rarely lose at home, winning 19 games in a row at Legion Field, a Conference USA record, and that is where they'll play Western Kentucky on Oct. 17.

2. Rice makes a bowl game: The Owls haven't had a winning season since 2014 and combined to win only nine games over the past four seasons. After losing their first nine games last season, however, they closed by winning three in a row under Bloomgren. The former Stanford assistant has upgraded the talent and built a solid defense, and now it's time to fix an offense that averaged only 294.2 yards and fewer than 18 points per game. TCU transfer Mike Collins might be the answer at quarterback.

3. A Hilltopper leads the FBS in sacks: With Ohio State's Chase Young moving on and Miami's Gregory Rousseau opting out, Western Kentucky's DeAngelo Malone might be the best returning pass-rusher in the FBS. The reigning Conference USA defensive player of the year had 11½ sacks and 21 tackles for loss last season; the Atlanta native had 17½ sacks the previous two seasons combined.
(This post was last modified: 09-08-2020 08:22 PM by WesternBlazer.)
09-08-2020 08:20 PM
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