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Three Things We Learned From Conference USA in Week Seven

Time to recognize Mason Fine as one of the best quarterbacks in the conference.

NCAA Football: Alabama-Birmingham at North Texas Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Mason Fine is the best quarterback in Conference USA

In our Conference USA Preseason Position Reviews for quarterback I ranked North Texas 9th. I mentioned that with another year in the system, Mason Fine could elevate North Texas into the “Good Shape” territory.

This season Mason Fine leads C-USA in passing yards (1796) and touchdowns (14). He also leads C-USA with 299 passing yards per game.

Against UTSA, Mason Fine passed for 354 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. On the game-winning drive with his offensive line falling apart, Fine was 5-of-6 for 98 yards. On the game-winning touchdown pass to Rico Bussey he took a nasty shot, but still managed to hit Rico Bussey Jr. in stride for the go-ahead score.

Aside from Dalton Sturm, just about every quarterback in C-USA has either regressed or not make monumental strides from last season. As a sophomore, Fine’s improvements in pocket presence and accuracy have been obvious. North Texas has the best offense in Conference USA and it’s due in large part to Mason Fine, the best quarterback in the conference.

UTEP and Charlotte are eliminated from bowl eligibility

In a surprise to no one, UTEP and Charlotte lost over the weekend and are now 0-7 each. The Miners won’t go bowling for the third straight season. Charlotte’s only been in the FBS since 2015 but have yet to finish .500 or better.

The Miners played Southern Miss tough, but still can’t seem to muster any offense, gaining just 147 yards. UTEP lost 24-0 on the road.

Charlotte proved to be just what WKU needed to fix their offense as the 49ers were blown out 45-14. Charlotte’s final games are UAB, at Old Dominion, Middle Tennessee, at Southern Miss, and FAU.

UTEP’s final games are UTSA, at Middle Tennessee, at North Texas, La Tech, and at UAB. Earlier this week I said the odds of both teams going winless aren’t high, but from looking at UTEP’s schedule it looks like Charlotte has the better chance of picking up the win. But from watching Charlotte play, it’s hard to see the 49ers picking up a win.

I hate to see teams go winless, but it feels like UTEP and Charlotte are on their way of doing just that.

Conference USA West is just about North Texas’ to lose

With North Texas’ win we have now avoided a scenario where six teams would have had just one conference loss in C-USA West. North Texas will play FAU next week (Game of the Week?) and still have UTEP, Rice, and a struggling Old Dominion on the schedule.

If UNT beats FAU next Saturday, the Mean Green will be heavy favorites to win the division as La Tech would probably have to run the table in order to win C-USA West.

This week La Tech hosts Southern Miss in the Rivalry in Dixie. If the Bulldogs lose and UNT wins, that’ll give UNT a two-game cushion over every team in C-USA West. With the Mean Green’s schedule, that would pretty much be a wrap for the division.