Marshall: Rakeem Cato returns to lead the potent Thundering Herd but will sure miss Gator Hoskins, the talented TE drafted by the Dolphins. If the Herd can find some D. I don’t see anyone stopping them in the East. Kevin Grooms dismissal will hurt the Herd’s depth at RB.
Florida Atlantic: The Owls,free of the Carl Pellini troubles, are one of my two dark horses. Head Coach Partridge has most of #1 D in the 2013 CUSA returning if they can survive the first two games at Nebraska & Bama.
Middle Tennessee- Blue Raiders will go as the QB merry-go -round spins. Grammerly, Stocksill (coach’s son), orErdely. Some say Stocksill has the edge, The Blue Raiders tempo style may not be enough in the CUSA and will weak O & D lines land them in the basement?
WKU: Jeff Brohm tales the reins from hit and run Petrino and will need to evaluate QB Doughty quickly, then look for RBs to replace Antonio Andrews. Hilltoppers won’t be atop many opponents this season
UAB- Perhaps the best thing going for new HC Phil Clark is the QB-WR connection. Incoming Juco QB Cody Clemens , the likely starter will have the top 3 targets back from last year, including big play threat Jamarcus Nelson, who averaged 20.1 yards per catch last year on 46 receptions and scored 8 TDs
Old Dominion: Coach Wilder’s Monarchs up-tempo O led by Taylor Heinicke will put up some points , but I don’t see them getting to far out of the cellar.
FIU : Can true Freshman QB Alex McGough save Turner’s job?
Rice : If your team is the Owls (FAU) then you must’ve shared a scheduler for a tough first two games, @Notre Dame and @ Texas A&M. Rice had a solid D in 2013 , but have big holes in the D secondary with the departures of Gaines & Porras. Can Dillard & Davis replace Charles Ross @ RB?
UTSA: Coker may finally have the Roadrunners in contention. The transition at QB from Soza to Carter and the emergence of Glasco at RB are the keys on offense. The D will need to be great up front to cover for some of the doubts about the secondary .
North Texas: Pegram & Jimmerson returns to anchor a solid offensive backfield that may miss Byrd a little. Their D should be Ok but they;ll need more special teams heroics to duplicate the solid 2013 season
Southern Miss- If USM can keep Coach Monken for a few seasons and Mullens develops at QB the Golden Eagles may find their way back to the top of the CUSA.
UTEP Showers (QB) and RBs , Jones and Jeffery, will put up the points, but the lack of D will keep the Miners out of contention.
Louisiana Tech- Skip Holtz train continues to derail in 2014. The transition from Dykes up tempo style was miserable in 2013. Who knows why LT ignored its personnel when picking a HC? Tech will rely on Sokol, a JC transfer QB, and a stable of RBs , to pull of a miracle in the fleet style CUSA. They’ve brought in Manny Diaz as DC, (remember him at Texas), and are hoping for one of his great first seasons before sinking. Maybe they’ll beat Old Dominion &UAB in conference.