After six weeks of Power 5 college football, we return to our G5 roots. This week, we examine Conference USA.
Here are the Conference USA standings.
suspended a handful of players, including starting quarterback J’Mar Smith prior to their road trip to Marshall. The Bulldogs scored just ten points in a loss to the Herd, and with Smith missing the following game against UAB, managed just fourteen points in another defeat. Those losses, ceded the division to UAB. Smith returned for the season finale and the Bulldogs blew out UTSA. In the six conference games Louisiana Tech played at full strength, they outscored their opponents by exactly 100 points while averaging 41 points per game. In the two games they played shorthanded, they managed just 24 total points. Their per play differential was similarly striking.
Extreme Turnover Margins
Florida Atlantic enjoyed arguably their best season in school history in 2019. The Owls dropped their first two games in blowout fashion to a playoff participant and perhaps the best mid-major program in recent history. They then proceeded to win eleven of their final twelve games, with each victory coming by at least ten points. They capped their season by dominating the best post-death penalty SMU team in their bowl game. On the strength of that victory, they finished just outside the final polls, narrowly missing out on the first AP ranking in school history as well as nearly becoming the first ranked Conference USA team in a half-decade. Befitting a successful season by a G5 program, the Owls did lose their coach, but they appear set up to contend for another conference crown in 2020. Or are they?
While the Owls had a solid YPP margin against their league foes in 2019 (+1.18), it actually ranked second behind UAB (+1.46). Part of this is due to schedule strength as UAB benefited from playing the four worst teams by YPP in conference play (Rice, UTSA, Old Dominion, and UTEP) as well as a short-handed Louisiana Tech. Still, Florida Atlantic’s YPP margin is well below the one posted by their last championship team in 2017 (+1.68) and that team failed to qualify for a bowl game the next season! However, the real reason Florida Atlantic fans may want to curb their enthusiasm just a bit is because of the team’s historic turnover margin in 2019. In eight conference games (excluding their title game beatdown of UAB), the Owls had a turnover margin of +16. They are just the eighth team since 2005 to have an in-conference turnover margin of at least +2 per game. Here are the other seven along with how their conference record changed the following year.
will have earned all the money Florida State is still paying him.