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2023 Conference USA Football Preview




Predicted Order of Finish


1. Western Kentucky- prolific passer senior QB Austin Reed (4,744 yards, 40 TD’s) is back along with his top target in junior WR Malachi Corley (101 catches, 11 TD’s), the Hilltoppers’ defense allowed 30 plus points in 6 games last season and with only 3 returning starters will be depending on transfers to fill holes at key position OVER/UNDER Total Wins 8.5


2. Middle Tennessee- sophomore QB Nick Vattiato played only 2 games last year but earned Bahamas Bowl MVP honors in 2021 and the defense returns plenty of talent up front and in the secondary, the Blue Raiders lack depth at receiver and the schedule is a bear with road games against Alabama, Missouri, WKU, and Liberty OVER/UNDER Total Wins 6.5


3. Liberty- the Flames’ offense returns a veteran O-line and added depth at running back with senior Wake Forest transfer RB Quinton Cooley while on defense senior DT Kendy Charles (5.5 sacks, 10 TFL) anchors the line, the QB spot remains undecided and outside of Charles the defensive front is unproven OVER/UNDER Total Wins 8.5


4. Jacksonville State- QB Zion Webb was given a seventh year of eligibility to once again lead the Gamecocks up tempo offense that averaged 36.2 points last year and special teams should be a major strength, the schedule will be a major step in competition making the transition from FCS to C-USA OVER/UNDER Total Wins 4.5


5. New Mexico State- the Aggies exceeded expectations winning a bowl game under first year HC Jerry Kill and have 9 starters back on offense led by senior QB Diego Pavia, the defense was gutted by graduations, especially at LB, and the schedule toughens up this season with the move from Independent to C-USA OVER/UNDER Total Wins 6.5


6. Louisiana Tech- Boise State senior transfer QB Hank Bachmeier (29 career starts, 41 TD’s) has a talented group of receivers along with an experienced O-line, the defense, which ranked 127th in points allowed per game in 2022, will be relying heavily on transfers to right the ship in HC Sonny Cumbie’s second season OVER/UNDER Total Wins 6.5


7. Florida International- junior QB Grayson James has an experienced receiving corps led by senior Jalen Bracey (39 catches, 294 yards) and senior Donovan Mitchell, who registered a team high 8.5 TFL, is back at linebacker, the Panthers lost RB Lexington Joseph to injury and the defense must replace leading tackler Gaethan Bernadel OVER/UNDER Total Wins 3.5


8. UTEP- the O-line returns 5 veteran starters, 4 who were all-conference honorable mention last year and the backfield has a solid 1-2 punch in junior Deion Hankins (701 yards, 3 TD’s) and JUCO transfer Mike Franklin, 1,000-yard WR Tyler Smith transferred and the secondary must replace 4 starters from last season OVER/UNDER Total Wins 5.5


9. Sam Houston State- the Bearkats will have plenty of playmakers back on both sides of the ball after opting to redshirt key players during last season’s transition from FCS to FBS, the QB spot remains up for grabs and the schedule is daunting with road games against BYU, Houston, Liberty, and WKU OVER/UNDER Total Wins 3.5



Buy- Buy- Jacksonville State- with talent returning on both sides of the ball the Gamecocks will make a run at bowl eligibility in their FBS debut


Sell- Liberty- if the Flames can’t settle on a starting QB matching last year’s 8 wins appears to be the ceiling in 2023


Best Bet- Liberty UNDER total wins




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