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Three things we learned from Conference USA in Week 3

North Texas gets that P5 win... UAB continues to win at home... FIU looks to be realizing their potential.

NCAA Football: North Texas at Arkansas Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

North Texas is one of the best G5 teams in the country

Last week North Texas finally cracked our Underdog Top 10 poll, a ranking of the best G5 teams in the country, but I still wanted to see more. The best G5 teams in the country have good showings against the P5 and UNT had yet to accomplish that feat under Seth Littrell before yesterday. On Saturday, they showed that they belong.

North Texas’ 2018 revenge tour continued Saturday as the Mean Green strolled into Fayetteville, Arkansas, and whopped the Razorbacks 44-17. It was their first win against a Power 5 team since 2011 and first P5 win on the road since 1999. The Mean Green didn’t have the best day on offense but their defense was fantastic, forcing six turnovers, with Nate Brooks and Khairi Muhammad having two interceptions each.

UNT is 3-0 for the first time since 1989 and head to Virginia for a game against Liberty next week. Whether UNT wins next weekend remains to be seen, but what can’t be questioned is that Seth Littrell’s bunch is not only the favorite to win C-USA when conference play starts, but should be regarded as a team capable of reaching the New Year’s Six.

UAB continues to be a force at home

NCAA Football: Alabama A&M at Alabama-Birmingham
UAB had the best attendance numbers in C-USA in 2017 and should rank near the top of the conference again as the Blazers continue to win at home.
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

After laying an egg on the road two weeks ago at Coastal Carolina, UAB earned a hard fought 31-24 win over rival Tulane. The win over Tulane pushed UAB’s winning streak at home to eight wins at Legion Field, tying the school record for consecutive home wins.

With a 2-1 record, UAB’s non-conference slate is just about over as their next seven contests will be conference games. The Blazers have a good shot at breaking the record as they have an opportunity to avenge a loss to Charlotte when the 49ers come to Birmingham next Saturday.

UAB’s remaining home games are North Texas, UTSA and Southern Miss. While UNT has certainly lived up to the hype, don’t give them the C-USA West division crown just yet as the Blazers and the city of Birmingham will have something to say about who wins the division on October 20th.

Butch Davis has FIU trending in the right direction

NCAA Football: Massachusetts at Florida International
After a comeback win over Old Dominion to start conference play, FIU steamrolled UMass.
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Expectations for FIU in Year 2 of the Butch Davis era were pretty low. After tying the school record for most wins in a season with an 8-5 record, most expected the Panthers to take a step back as they lost a boatload of starters, including Alex McGough, who is now the backup QB for the Seattle Seahawks.

Three games into the 2018 season and FIU looks to be reloading rather than rebuilding. Last night FIU moved to 2-1 after crushing UMass 63-24. James Morgan entrenched himself as the starting QB as he threw for 207 yards and two touchdowns. The rushing attack was phenomenal as Shawndarius Phillips and Napolean Maxwell each rushed for over 100 yards. Defense and special teams joined in on the scoring too, as Maurice Alexander returned a punt for a touchdown and Rocky Jacques-Louis returned an interception for a touchdown.

I tweeted that last night and it’s true. FIU is not only recruiting at a different level, but playing at a different level under Butch Davis. The Panthers will be a heavy underdog against crosstown “rival” Miami this weekend and a massive favorite against FCS team Arkansas Pine-Bluff to close non-conference play.

But once conference play begins, FIU fans should feel good about the possibility of going to a second straight bowl game and continuing their climb up the C-USA hierarchy. Lane Kiffin and FAU garners most of the headlines, but Butch Davis has FIU quietly going about their business, proving they shouldn’t be overlooked this season.