CUSA East: A Whole Lotta Stompin' Goin' On
Marshall's powerful football program will look to add another title to its illustrious collection this season, as they'll be favorites in the Conference USA's Eastern Division.
But first, they need to avenge a loss in the title game last year.
The Thundering Herd will be led by all-everything quarterback Rakeem Cato, who will be entering his senior season. With Cato at the helm and a strong roster on both sides of the ball, Marshall has the schedule to go undefeated if they show up for every game. That's something they didn't do last year in losses to Ohio, Middle Tennessee, and of course, Rice in the championship game. The Herd did, however, rebound to win their bowl game against Maryland.
Middle Tennessee State and Western Kentucky should fight it out for second place in the division. The Blue Raiders finished 8-5 last year and are looking for a quarterback to go with their outstanding running game. Western Kentucky welcomes coach Jeff Brohm as their new head coach after Bobby Petrino went back to Louisville. Their is rebuilding to be done here but the Hilltoppers are banking on Brohm to to it.
Florida Atlantic was 6-6 overall and 4-4 in the conference last year, finishing with four consecutive wins. That winning streak will end on opening day when they travel to Nebraska and the Owls will be 0-2 the next week when they play at Alabama. Once the conference season starts, quarterback Jaquez Johnson will hopefully lead the Owls to a bowl game. One of the teams they will have to beat is UAB, with new head coach Bill Clark. The Blazers are looking to improve on last season's 2-10 record and Clark will start rebuilding with a good running attack as his defense must be rebuilt.
Florida International won one game last season and they could acutally lose them all this season. Coach Ron Turner still has a lot of work to do as he looks for a quarterback and hopes to rebuild a horrible defense. The Panthers defeated Southern Mississippi last year by one point, which kept them from being winless. This year, Old Dominion enters the league and FIU is hoping to get a win here. It will not be easy, however as the Monarchs return quarterback Taylor Heinicke as they look to cause havoc after playing an independent schedule last year.
Well, where it's really happening is in Huntington, West Virginia, because no matter what, this division is Marshall's to lose. If they're not playing for the championship again in early December, it will be a shocker.