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The Halfway Point: What We Know About Conference USA

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With most CUSA teams six games into the season, and a few conference games in as well, Underdog Dynasty polled a few Conference USA writers to see what they've found out on their respective teams, and some bold predictions for the end of the year.

Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

ANDREW THOMAS, Western Kentucky Beat Writer

What has been the biggest surprise for you thus far this season?

The receivers' chemistry with Brandon Doughty. Jared Dangerfield, Taywan Taylor, and Antwane Grant have had remarkable chemistry with the senior quarterback; Doughty has thrown for 2,165 yards and 16 touchdowns in just five games this season (2nd in FBS). I knew a Jeff Brohm offense would throw the ball, but the improvement from last season has been remarkable.

Least surprising?

Attendance. Haven't seen a sell-out since Willie Taggart was head coach, in a stadium that holds just over 22,000.

Is there a game on the schedule that you are looking forward to?

Western Kentucky will travel to Marshall for the last game of the season (11/28). Marshall, currently sitting at 5-0, will likely still be undefeated when it reaches the end of the season. Where will WKU be? Who knows. But I wouldn't put it past them to pull off the upset and end Marshall's CFB Playoff hopes.

Give me bold predictions for the remainder of the season.

1. Anthony "Ace" Wales will lead the team in all-purpose yards by the end of the season. Wales only has 241 yards this season, but proved with over 100 yards and 3 touchdowns on just thirteen touches against UAB that he can be a game-changer when given the ball.

2. Western Kentucky will finish 8-4. Currently sitting at 2-3, it may be difficult to believe that the Tops can win 6 of 7 to finish the year. But fear not, young padawan, for it is not as unlikely as you may think. If the WKU defense can improve just a little bit, head coach Jeff Brohm knows his team's potential is extremely high.

JASON JONES, Louisiana Tech Beat Writer

What has been the biggest surprise for you thus far this season?

UTSA starting off Conference USA play so poorly. I really thought they were going to be the team to beat in the west.

Least surprising?

Marshall dominating everyone. They just have so much talent and veteran leadership, it is hard ford anyone to hang with them.

Is there a game on the schedule that you are looking forward to?

Rice @ LA Tech. This is a game that may decide the western division of Conference USA. The winner get's Marshall most likely in the championship game - not a fun prize, but Rice did beat the Thundering Herd in last year's championship

If it's one that wasn't interesting before, why is it interesting now?

It was always going to be an interesting game, but UTSA falling off has made Rice and LA Tech the teams to beat out west.

Give me three bold predictions for the remainder of the season,

1. FIU will go bowling. Everyone's favorite punching bag still has winnable games against UNT,ODU, Rice, and MTSU and I think the Panthers have the defense to get to 6 wins.

2. Memphis will win the rest of their regular season games. On the road against Temple is tough and the Tigers have had some injuries, but the way they are playing; they have what it takes to do it. Also, East Carolina is not on the Memphis schedule.

3. SMU will win a game. Tulsa, UCONN, Houston, and USF still have to tame the Mustangs. Somehow SMU will find a way to win one.

ADAM ROSENFIELD, Conference USA Manager/North Texas Beat Writer

What has been the biggest surprise for you thus far this season?

Within the first 6 games of the season, North Texas hasn't been in one close game.

Least Surprising?

Dan McCarney finally came to his senses and started THE BEST ATHLETE at quarterback, rather than the most mature, which really means the only guy on the team who doesn't sneak alcohol in their dorm freshman year, which really means he's Skyping with his high school girlfriends 5000 miles away which really means...........forget it. Least Surprising; Dajon Williams can play, somewhat.

Is there a game on the schedule you are looking forward to?

I'm still looking forward to the UNT/UTSA tilt, which, instead of being conference champions, could be the battle of 2-win teams way both teams are playing right now.
Answer 2: UTEP. I'm interested in seeing Jamail Showers vs Dajon Williams in the battle of which QB can rush for 100 yards.

Give me 3 Bold Predictions for the remainder of the season

1. Dajon Williams gets 500 rushing yards on the season
2. UTEP upsets the Mean Green 
3. Offensive Coordinator Mike Canales gets fired at the end of the year

ANONYMOUS CUSA WRITER

What has been the biggest surprise for you thus far this season?

The biggest surprise for me is the level of parity in Conference USA. UAB, FIU, Southern Miss, and to a certain extent ODU and UTEP were expected to be cupcakes. Outside of Marshall, the rest of the conference seems completely wide open. UAB and FIU are both ranked fairly highly in Conference USA power rankings and ODU was able to knock off the conference's defending champion on the road.

Least surprising?

Rakeem Cato and Marshall are really, really good.

Is there a game on the schedule that you are looking forward to? If it's one that wasn't interesting before, why is it interesting now?

Marshall vs. Western Kentucky on November 28th. Two quarterbacks that can rack up yardage face off in what could end up being the deciding game in Marshall's bid for a conference championship. I'm fully expecting fireworks in this nationally-televised showdown.

Give me three bold predictions for the remainder of the season

1. Both the East and the West are decided on the last week of the regular season

2. Rice finishes in last place in the West

3. UAB gives Arkansas a major scare in Fayettevile