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Three Things We Learned About Week Five Conference USA Football

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My god we did actually learn things this week. Not necessarily new things, but...

Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

1. We now have a pretty clear top four

It consists of Western Kentucky and Marshall in the East, which comes as a surprise to pretty much nobody. Although you could certainly state that based on quarterback play alone (hi Brandon Doughty) that those two are a clear alpha dog and follower.

That the top crust consists of Louisiana Tech and Southern Miss in the West is probably much more surprising, unless you've been watching Nick Mullens and the Eagles repeatedly score at will. Sure, they're imperfect, but we're a week away from the season's halfway point and they need one win to match their win total from the previous three seasons combined.

This coming weekend, their contest against Marshall will be a good test for both teams to see who is the true number three in conference, and the Eagles might even be up for that win because...

2. Chase Litton is learning and growing...

But he'll probably cost Marshall either the USM or WKU game, and thus a shot at a conference title and everything that comes with it. What has he done so far?

  • Completed 77% of his passes for 270 yards and four scored against Norfolk, good for a 193.2 QBR
  • Completed 38.9% of his passes for 151 yards, two TDs and two INTs against Kent State, for an 81.3 QBR
  • Completed 60% of his passes for 212 yards and two scores against Old Dominion, for a 129.7 QBR

According to S&P+ rankings, which are useful if flawed, Southern Miss is the anti-Old Dominion, as good on defense as the Monarchs are on offense and as bad on offense as the Monarchs are on defense. And yet Marshall needed 36 points and double overtime to beat a Kent State team with a very strong defense and (statistically) a complete garbage offense, so who knows?

Litton is good, but he's got a ways to go, and he's probably not going to beat Doughty. He may not beat Mullens either.

3. Oh, North Texas

As our North Texas writer Adam Woodyard put it, when a team that beat you comfortably is currently sitting at 1-4 because everyone else who has played them has scored at least six touchdowns, and you only managed one, things might be looking rather rough. As you'll find out later today, there are reasons for this and the fans have split themselves up accordingly, but I doubt much of anything will go right for them.

The mean Green now go up against their best hope for a win, which is Portland State. Yes, the Portland State who beat Washington State on the road. Good luck with that one.