Conference USA Bowl Record: 4-2
Best Win: Marshall over USF
Most Exciting Game: FIU over Toledo
Biggest Disappointment: Middle Tennessee
Best Individual Performances: Xavier Ubosi, UAB (Offense) Jaylon Ferguson, Louisiana Tech (Defense)
Stock Market: Neutral
On the first day of bowl season, C-USA laid a huge egg. After Seth Littrell withdrew his name to become the new head coach of Kansas State, the Mean Green entered the New Mexico Bowl with a ton of momentum. Middle Tennessee had every reason to win the New Orleans Bowl with the Brent Stockstill era coming to a close.
Seeking their first 10-win season in decades and their first bowl win under Littrell, UNT received a beat down by Utah State. After UNT’s big loss, Middle Tennessee proceeded to do the same, as the Blue Raiders were outclassed in every way against App State.
C-USA was outscored 97-26 in today's bowl games. Margin of defeat was 35.5 points. Utah State and App State both had interim head coaches while MTSU and North Texas both had their current head coach.— Cyrus Smith (@CoolCyWrites) December 16, 2018
The North Texas performance was somewhat excusable as they had to deal with terrible injury luck due to Mason Fine and several other key players not being able to finish the bowl game. MTSU on the other hand, had no excuse to turn in that bad of a performance. App State and Utah State both finished the season 11-2 and both should be in the final AP Top 25 Poll.
With that said, I didn’t think the gap between the best teams in C-USA compared to the best teams in the other G5 conferences was that wide. After the first day of bowl season, it was hard to be optimistic about the conference’s chances with two of their better teams being outclassed in such a manner.
But the conference rallied to finish bowl season with a winning record for the seventh time in the last eight years. UAB got the ball rolling. After an up and down season on offense, the Blazers exploded for 37 points with an easy win over MAC Champ Northern Illinois. Marshall handled the “P6” USF Bulls in their own stadium with relative ease.
In one of the best games of bowl season, FIU overcame an early 10-point deficit to defeat Toledo. In the last bowl game for the conference, La Tech’s defense had a bowl record nine sacks as they blew out Hawaii.
While the performances by UNT and MTSU were certainly bummers, bowl season has to be considered a success for C-USA. Marshall continued the longest active bowl winning streak with seven straight bowl wins. La Tech continued their bowl streak as well, as the Bulldogs have the longest active streak of bowl victories in consecutive seasons with five straight bowl wins.