Tuesday, November 8, 2016
Bilo's College Football PASS/FAIL Conference Title Chase Reports: Conference USA
East: Western Kentucky, Old Dominion, Middle Tennessee, Charlotte
Western Kentucky is in prime position in the East as we are heading through November. If the Hilltoppers win out, they are in the CUSA title game. WKU has already beaten Old Dominion and Charlotte, and does not play Charlotte this season. With only two games left against North Texas and Marshall, WKU has a very clear and manageable path to that goal.
Old Dominion has had a big year in 2016, and are ahead of schedule as far as development of the program was scheduled to be. ODU will not play Middle Tennessee this season, and they have already fallen to WKU. ODU has, however, beaten Charlotte, which helps to some degree. What can happen, is that WKU could lose one of their final games, and ODU could win out, and the Monarchs could shockingly steal the East and play for a CUSA title.
Middle Tennessee’s path just got much harder when QB Brent Stockstill went down with a broken collarbone for the season last week. After a winnable game against Marshall, the Blue Raiders get Charlotte, and then finish with FAU, but that Charlotte game could be a trap door. That one point loss to WKU looks worse all the time, and the Raiders need two WKU losses to advance.
Charlotte has gotten stronger as the season progressed, and they are still in the mix, but consider the 49ers a severe long shot. The 49ers still have a huge game upcoming with MT, but they had already lost to ODU. They need two losses each by WKU and ODU, and they need to beat MT, and then the tiebreakers would have to work out.
West: Louisiana Tech, UTSA, Southern Mississippi
Louisiana Tech completely controls their own destiny as we speak. They have a solid one game lead over rising UTSA now, but the path is loaded with traps. Louisiana Tech has two games remaining. UTSA, and Southern Miss. If they beat UTSA, the Roadrunners are out, which would lead to a divisional title game against Southern Miss.
UTSA has been a surprising team this season under Frank Wilson, and has gotten stronger as the season has progressed. If the Roadrunners beat Louisiana Tech this week, they control the CUSA West by virtue of already having beaten Southern Miss soundly. The key for UTSA is win out against Louisiana Tech and Charlotte. That Texas A&M game that is sandwiched in between is virtually meaningless here.
Southern Mississippi has been a strong letdown team this season, but they still have some control over what can happen in this West race. A loss by UTSA to Louisiana Tech or Charlotte, followed by winning out over Old Dominion, North Texas, and Louisiana Tech, and Southern Miss can win the West themselves. There is a ton of action left in this conference race. If UTSA wins out, however, the Eagles are done.
Bowl Eligible: Western Kentucky, Old Dominion, Middle Tennessee, Louisiana Tech
Bowl Ineligible: FIU, FAU, Marshall. Rice