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C-USA Deemed the Tightest Title Race in the Country; FAU Has the Best Odds, But North Texas & FIU Close Behind

Florida Atlantic football team
Can Lane Kiffin lead the Florida Atlantic Owls to the top of Conference USA? Photo by Fliry Vorru [CC License].
  • Florida Atlantic is the favorite to win Conference USA at +350 but there are seven teams at +900 or shorter
  • FAU was 11-3 in 2017 but won just five games in 2018
  • Marshall looks like a good value play to win the conference at +650

Conference USA is one of the toughest to handicap in terms of futures. Florida Atlantic is at +350 odds to win Conference USA, but there are seven teams that are +900 or shorter.

Between FAU, Florida International, North Texas, Marshall, or anyone else for that matter, who is the best bet to win the 2019 C-USA football championship?

Odds to Win 2019 Conference USA Title

Team 2019 Conference USA Odds at BetOnline
Florida Atlantic +350
North Texas +450
Florida International +450
Southern Miss +500
Marshall +650
Middle Tennessee +900
UAB +900
Louisiana Tech +1200
Western Kentucky +3300
Old Dominion +3300
Charlotte +6600
Rice +8000
UTSA +10000
UTEP +10000

Florida Atlantic Looks To Rebound After Disastrous 2018 Campaign

The Owls finished 11-3 in 2017 and were one of the best stories in college football. Lane Kiffin was red-hot in terms of coaching circles and NFL draft scouts were salivating over a number of players on the team. Some people thought they were in the College Football Playoff picture heading into 2018 … until they were rocked 63-14 by Oklahoma in Week 1.

Fast forward to 2019 and the Owls are trying to rebuild after a disastrous five-win campaign. Some of their shortcomings were bad luck as they lost all four of their one-score conference games. However, it won’t get easier this year now that they have to replace star runner Devin Singletary and top wideout Jevon Durante.

There’s a lot of work to do here as starting quarterback Chris Robison is back but three offensive lineman starters are gone. The defense doesn’t return much either. They do a good job of finding talent but I’m not bullish on this FAU team right now. They’re not as good as they showed in 2017 and not as bad as they were in 2018.

Florida International Should Contend

While I’m not huge on FAU, I do like FIU. Butch Davis has done an excellent job with the program, going 17-9 since taking over. They return a ton of talent on both sides of the ball, including quarterback James Morgan, who is a graduate transfer. On defense, they return their whole secondary aside for Emmanuel Lubin.

The question for this team is on the lines. They allowed the second-highest sack rate in the country last season and lost four offensive linemen. That could be a good thing.

On defense, they allowed 5.0 yards per carry. Even so, this team went 9-4. If they can sort out those areas, they can win this conference.

Marshall Is The Best Bet

I like Marshall’s prospects to win this conference next season. They won nine games last year and return quarterback Isaiah Green, who led the team to a 7-3 record when he started. The team’s top two rushers are back while the receiving corps brings back a lot, too.

On defense, they have a lot to replace up front, but the secondary returns virtually intact. They were 20th in defense last season in terms of yards and allowed just 22.0 points per game.

The schedule also sets up quite well for the Thundering Herd. Their toughest games are at home as Louisiana Tech and Florida International will visit Miami, while their most challenging conference road game will be at Florida Atlantic. Their other conference road games are at Middle Tennessee, Charlotte, and Rice, who are all expected to be sub-.500.

At +650, there’s good value with this team. I definitely wouldn’t bet FAU at +350 as the favorite but if you went with North Texas or FIU, I wouldn’t blame you. Personally, I’m taking a shot with the Thundering Herd who have a really good chance to win the conference and are paying a nice price.


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