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2013 Conference USA: NCAA Football Gambling Predictions | Futures

2013 Conference USA Season Football Preview

Conference USA is getting bigger. The conference picked up some new teams and has now gone to an East and West division format. There are 14 teams in the conference as a whole, and each division will have seven teams.

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Most of the newcomers come from the Sun Belt Conference. It will be interesting to see how well they can hang with the top teams in this conference. I do believe that Conference USA has made itself a better conference over the course of the past year.

Let’s take a closer look at the 2013 Conference USA breakdown. There are six teams that stand out above the rest as having a chance in this conference, so we’ll take a look at each of those teams.

All odds listed are from BetOnline.

The Favorite:

Tulsa (+215)

Tulsa has a long history of success, and they are the oddsmakers favorite to win Conference USA this year. Bill Blankenship is 19-8 in his first two seasons with the Golden Hurricane, and they are setup very well for a good season in 2013. Their backfield is easily the best in the conference.

Trey Watts and Ja’Terian Douglas form one of the best tailback tandems in the entire nation. Cody Green is a good senior leader at quarterback. Green started his career at Nebraska before transferring to Tulsa. Tulsa has three of the best receivers in the conference as well.

Simply put, this offense is absolutely stacked. The secondary will be a big question mark on defense, but the front seven should be solid. Tulsa loaded up the non-conference schedule, which should make them very ready for Conference USA play. Tulsa is by far the best team on paper in this conference. Grab them at +135 to win the Conference USA West Division if you want a good futures value play.


Marshall (+375)

Rakeem Cato is probably the best player in Conference USA, and he’ll be the focal point for this Marshall Thundering Herd offense. Cato can do it all, and he racked up 4,201 yards through the air last season. Those are video game type numbers, and he’ll probably best that mark this season.

Kevin Grooms, Steward Butler, and Remi Watson are underrated at the tailback spot.

Tight end Gator Hoskins is a terrific pass receiver. Marshall’s biggest weakness is in the secondary. The Thundering Herd allowed 30 touchdown passes last year, while only intercepting nine passes. The defense has to be a bit better this year.

East Carolina (+375)

East Carolina won back-to-back Conference USA titles in 2008 and 2009, but the team has turned for the worse since then. The Pirates have lost seven games in each of their last two seasons. They’ll have to replace star quarterback Dominique Davis this season. In the past this was a team that outscored the opposition with its high flying offense.

The Pirates have gotten better defensively, but they no longer have a great offense. This team is bound for mediocrity. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

Rice (+650)

Rice is a program quickly on the rise. The Owls won their last five games a year ago to close out the 2012 season. That included a rout of Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl. They only lost nine lettermen from last year, so this team has a ton of returning talent. Rice has long had a terrible defense, but the secondary is one of the best in the conference this year.

The Owls will still give up yards on the ground. The Owls offense has several stars at the play makers spots, and it starts with senior quarterback Taylor McHargue. Rice has the potential to surprise people this year.

Louisiana Tech (+850)

Louisiana Tech was a very good team last year, but they lost a ton of talent. 10 of their 11 starters on offense won’t be back this season. Sonny Dykes engineered the turnaround at Louisiana Tech, and he’s no longer the head coach here.

While there is still some quality talent mismatched on this roster, I don’t see this team contending in 2013.

Middle Tennessee State (+875)

MTSU won eight games last year, but for some reason they weren’t invited to a bowl game. The team was ticked off about that, and they’ll use that as motivation this year. Logan Kilgore is the leader of a very good offense. The Blue Raiders should have one of the best running games in the conference.

The defense is a huge liability, and I don’t think they’ll be able to overcome that to contend in this conference.

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