Finally, we have reached the last day of my 2013-14 NCAA Football preview! After previewing all of the conferences in division-I football, we have reached the end. This time around, I’m previewing all the remaining conferences, which are mainly the smaller schools that no one really cares about minus fans of that actual school. Not only that, but I also have my final top 25 rankings at the end of this column which will give everyone a better idea of how I think each team will finish at the end of the year. Either way, enjoy the kickoff this weekend and may your team have much success this year, especially if their name is the “Oregon Ducks”…..

INDEPENDENTS

1. Notre Dame Fighting Irish- 9-4

Last Year’s Record: 12-1

Last Year’s Bowl Game: Lost the BCS National Championship to Alabama

Toughest Games: @ Michigan, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Arizona State, USC, BYU, @ Stanford

Key Players: George Atkinson (RB), DaVaris Daniels (WR), Amir Carlisle (WR), TJ Jones (WR), Troy Niklas (TE), Chris Wyatt (OL), Zack Martin (OL), Christian Lombard (OL), Stephon Tuitt (DL), Louis Nix (DL), Sheldon Day (DL), Prince Shembo (LB), Danny Spond (LB), Bennett Jackson (CB), Kyle Brindza (K), Alex Wulfeck (P)

Bowl Prediction: Beef O’ Brady Bowl vs. Rice (W)

2. BYU Cougars- 8-5

Last Year’s Record: 8-5

Last Year’s Bowl Game: Won the Poinsettia Bowl against San Diego State

Toughest Games: Texas, @ Utah State, Boise State, @ Wisconsin, @ Notre Dame, @ Nevada

Key Players: Jamaal Williams (RB), Cody Hoffman (WR), Ross Apo (WR), Kaneakua Friel (TE), Ryker Mathews (OL), Solomone Kafu (OL), Bronson Kaufusi (DL), Eathyn Manumaleuna (DL), Kyle Van Noy (LB), Spencer Hadley (LB), Jordan Johnson (CB), Daniel Sorensen (S), JD Falslev (KR/PR)

Bowl Prediction: Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl vs. UCLA (L)

3. Old Dominion Monarchs- 7-5

Last Year’s Record: 11-2

Last Year’s Bowl Game: No bowl game

Toughest Games: @ Maryland, @ Pittsburgh, @ North Carolina

Key Players: Taylor Heinicke (QB), Antonio Vaughan (WR/PR), Larry Pinkard (WR), David Born (OL), Jack Lowney (OL), Dominique Guinn-Bailey (DL), Caleb Taylor (LB), Reggie Owens (CB), Jarod Brown (K)

Bowl Prediction: Not bowl-eligible

4. Navy Midshipmen- 5-7

Last Year’s Record: 8-5

Last Year’s Bowl Game: Lost the Fight Hunger Bowl against Arizona State

Toughest Games: Air Force, @ Duke, @ Toledo, @ Notre Dame, @ San Jose State

Key Players: Keenan Reynolds (QB), Noah Copeland (RB), Tanner Fleming (C), Jake Zuzek (OL, Graham Vickers (OL), Evan Palelei (DL), Cody Peterson (LB), Parrish Gaines (CB), Pablo Beltrain (P), Nick Sloan (K), Marcus Thomas (KR), Shawn Lynch (PR)

Bowl Prediction: No bowl game

5. Army Black Knights- 3-9

Last Year’s Record: 2-10

Last Year’s Bowl Game: No bowl game

Toughest Games: @ Ball State, Stanford, Wake Forest, Louisiana Tech, @ Boston College, @ Air Force

Key Players: Raymond Maples (RB), Larry Dixon (RB), Stephen Shumaker (OL), Ryan Powis (OL), Robert Kough (DL), Alex Meier (LB), Geoffery Bacon (S)

Bowl Prediction: No bowl game

6. New Mexico State Aggies- 2-10

Last Year’s Record: 1-11

Last Year’s Bowl Game: No bowl game

Toughest Games: @ Texas, @ UCLA, San Diego State

Key Players: Germi Morrison (RB), Austin Franklin (WR/KR), Davonte Wallace (OL), Andy Cunningham (OL), Willie Mobley (DL), Matt Ramondo (DL), Trashaun Nixon (LB), Cayle Chapman-Brown (P)

Bowl Prediction: No bowl game

7. Idaho Vandals – 2-10

Last Year’s Record: 1-11

Last Year’s Bowl Game: No bowl game

Toughest Games: @ Washington State, Fresno State, @ Arkansas State, @ Ole Miss, @ Florida State

Key Players: Najee Lovett (WR), Mike Marboe (C), Maxx Forde (DL), Solomon Dixon (CB)

Bowl Prediction: No bowl game

Independents Conference Outlook: Ahhh, the Independents. The land of the teams that no other conference wants a piece of….and Notre Dame. Speaking of Notre Dame, let’s discuss them first. Last year the “Fighting Irish” had a miraculous season that culminated in an undefeated regular season and a match-up against Alabama in the BCS National Championship. I was one of those guys who didn’t think Notre Dame was as good as people were making them out to be which is why I wasn’t shocked at all when Alabama boat raced them in the title game. This year, Notre Dame should return to mediocrity and finish either 9-4 or 8-5. There’s just no way the Irish recapture the magic of what happened last season……BYU is an interesting team. They play a pretty tough schedule and they lost a big chunk of their stellar defense from last season. I expect them to finish around where they finished last season, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see them go 5-7 either…..Old Dominion is playing their first season in division-I football and they will likely finish with a winning record due to the amount of division-II schools still on their schedule. Some teams just have all the luck when it comes to the schedule gods……Navy, Army, New Mexico State, and Idaho will all be fighting for last place, not just in the conference, but in all of college football.

CONFERENCE USA

CUSA East:
1. Marshall Thundering Herd – 10-4 (7-2)

Last Year’s Record: 5-7

Last Year’s Bowl Game: No bowl game

Toughest Games: @ Ohio, @ Virginia Tech, @ Tulsa, East Carolina

Key Players: Rakeem Cato (QB), Kevin Grooms (RB), Tommy Shuler (WR), Devon Smith (WR), Gator Hoskins (TE), Chris Jasperse (C), Gage Niemeyer (OL), Josh Lovell (OL), Jeremiah Taylor (DL), Alex Bazzie (DL), Brandon Sparrow (DL), Jermaine Holmes (LB), Kent Turene (LB), Derrick Thomas (CB), DJ Hunter (S), Tyler Williams (P)

Conference Championship: vs. Tulsa (L)

Bowl Prediction: New Orleans Bowl vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (W)

2. East Carolina Pirates – 8-5 (7-1)

Last Year’s Record: 8-5

Last Year’s Bowl Game: Lost the New Orleans Bowl to Louisiana

Toughest Games: Virginia Tech, @ North Carolina, @ Tulane, Tulsa, @ NC State, @ Marshall

Key Players: Shane Carden (QB), Vintavious Cooper (RB), Justin Hardy (WR/PR), Danny Webster (WR), Justin Jones (TE), Will Simmons (OL), Adhem Elsawi (OL), Lee Pegues (DL), Terry Williams (DL), Derrell Johnson (LB), Jeremy Grove (LB), Kyle Tudor (LB), Adonis Armstrong (CB), Damon Magazu (S), Trent Tignor (P), Warren Harvey (K)

Bowl Prediction: Hawaii Bowl vs. San Jose State (L)

3. UAB Blazers – 7-6 (5-3)

Last Year’s Record: 3-9

Last Year’s Bowl Game: No bowl game

Toughest Games: @ LSU, @ Vanderbilt, @ Marshall, @ East Carolina, Rice

Key Players: Darrin Reaves (RB), Jackie Williams (WR/PR), Kaycee Ike (OL), Ty Long (K)

Bowl Prediction: Heart of Dallas Bowl vs. Ohio (L)

4. Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles – 6-6 (5-3)

Last Year’s Record: 0-12

Last Year’s Bowl Game: No bowl game

Toughest Games: @ Nebraska, @ Arkansas, @ Boise State, @ East Carolina, @ Marshall, @ Louisiana Tech, @ UAB

Key Players: Kendrick Hardy (RB), Khyri Thornton (DL), Alan Howze (LB), Dylan Reda (LB), Deron Wilson (CB), Jacorius Cotton (S),

Bowl Prediction: No bowl game

5. Florida Atlantic Owls – 4-8 (3-5)

Last Year’s Record: 3-9

Last Year’s Bowl Game: No bowl game

Toughest Games: @ Miami, @ East Carolina, @ Rice, @ UAB, Marshall, @ Auburn, Tulane

Key Players: William Dukes (WR), Mustafa Johnson (C), Andrae Kirk (LB), Randell Johnson (LB)

Bowl Prediction: No bowl game

6. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders – 3-9 (2-6)

Last Year’s Record: 8-4

Last Year’s Bowl Game: No bowl game

Toughest Games: @ North Carolina, @ BYU, East Carolina, Marshall, @ UAB, @ Southern Miss

Key Players: Josh Walker (OL), Darius Johnson (OL), Roderic Blunt (DL), Kevin Byard (S), Reggie Whatley (KR),

Bowl Prediction: No bowl game

7. Florida International Golden Panthers – 2-10 (1-7)

Last Year’s Record: 3-9

Last Year’s Bowl Game: No bowl game

Toughest Games: @ Maryland, @ Louisville, @ Southern Miss, East Carolina, Marshall

Key Players: Kedrick Rhodes (RB), Willis Wright (WR), Greg Hickman (DL), Giovani Francois (DL)

Bowl Prediction: No bowl game

CUSA West:
1. Tulsa Golden Hurricane – 11-3 (8-1)

Last Year’s Record: 11-3

Last Year’s Bowl Game: Won the Liberty Bowl over Iowa State

Toughest Games: Colorado State, @ Oklahoma, Rice, @ Tulane, @ East Carolina, Marshall, @ Louisiana Tech

Key Players: Cody Green (QB), Trey Watts (RB/PR), Ja’Terian Douglas (RB), Keyarris Garrett (WR), Jordan James (TE), Stetson Burnett (OL), Jake Alexander (OL), Brentom Todd (DL), Shawn Jackson (LB), Trent Martin (LB), Marco Nelson (S), Cole Way (P)

Conference Championship: vs. Marshall (W)

Bowl Prediction: Liberty Bowl vs. Missouri (W)

2. Rice Owls – 8-5 (7-1)

Last Year’s Record: 7-6

Last Year’s Bowl Game: Won the Armed Forces Bowl against Air Force

Toughest Games: @ Texas A&M, Houston, @ Tulsa, Louisiana Tech, Tulane

Key Players: Taylor McHargue (QB), Jordan Taylor (WR), Nate Richards (C), Caleb Williams (OL), Drew Carroll (OL), Hosam Shahin (DL), Cody Bauer (DL), Christian Covington (DL), Cameron Nwosu (LB), Phillip Gaines (CB), Bryce Callahan (CB), Paul Porras (S), Chris Boswell (K)

Bowl Prediction: Beef O’Brady Bowl vs. Notre Dame (L)

3. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs – 7-6 (5-3)

Last Year’s Record: 9-3

Last Year’s Bowl Game: No bowl game

Toughest Games: @ NC State, @ Kansas, @ Rice, Tulsa

Key Players: Kenneth Dixon (RB), DJ Banks (WR/KR), IK Enemkpali (DL), Le’Vander Liggins (CB)

Bowl Prediction: Military Bowl vs. NC State (L)

4. Tulane Green Wave- 5-7 (3-5)

Last Year’s Record: 2-10

Last Year’s Bowl Game: No bowl game

Toughest Games: @ Louisiana Tech, @ Syracuse, East Carolina, Tulsa, @ Rice

Key Players: Orleans Darkwa (RB), Ryan Grant (WR), Zach Morgan (OL), Chris Davenport (DL), Lorenzo Doss (CB), Darion Monroe (S), Cairo Santos (K), Peter Picerelli (P)

Bowl Prediction: No bowl game

5. North Texas Mean Green – 4-8 (3-5)

Last Year’s Record: 4-8

Last Year’s Bowl Game: No bowl game

Toughest Games: @ Ohio, Ball State, @ Georgia, @ Tulane, @ Louisiana Tech, @ Southern Miss, Rice, @ Tulsa

Key Players: Brelan Chancellor (TE), Cyril Lemon (OL), Antonio Johnson (OL), Mason Y’Barbo (OL), Zachary Orr (LB), Derek Akunne (LB), Zac Whitfield (CB)

Bowl Prediction: No bowl game

6. UTEP Miners – 3-9 (2-6)

Last Year’s Record: 3-9

Last Year’s Bowl Game: No bowl game

Toughest Games: @ Colorado State, Tulsa, @ Rice, @ Texas A&M, @ North Texas, @ Tulane, @ Middle Tennessee

Key Players: Jordan Leslie (WR), Brander Craighead (OL), Horace Miller (DL), Autrey Golden (KR)

Bowl Prediction: No bowl game

7. UTSA Roadrunners – 0-12 (0-8)

Last Year’s Record: 8-4

Last Year’s Bowl Game: No bowl game

Toughest Games: Oklahoma State, @ Arizona, Houston, @ Marshall, Rice, @ Tulsa, Louisiana Tech

Key Players: Scott Inskeep (OL), Steven Kurfehs (DL), Triston Wade (S), Kenny Harrison (PR)

Bowl Prediction: No bowl game

Conference USA Conference Outlook: Outside of Tulsa, the Conference USA is filled with nothing but crap. The Golden Hurricanes had a good season last year when they finished 11-3 and will likely finish around the same record due to how horrible this conference is…..Marshall should be decent and could surprise some people. It’s been a long time since Marshall was any good, but I have them finishing with a 10-4 record. That may or may not be because their head coach has one of the coolest names ever, Doc Holliday……Rice continues to improve and they should improve on their 7-6 record from last season. I have the Owls making a bowl game which would be the first time Rice made back-to-back bowl games since 1960-61……East Carolina was a decent team last season and finished 8-5 on the year. They return a boatload of starters and could potentially contend for a conference title. I may have underrated them a bit at 8-5, but the schedule is a little difficult with 3 ACC teams the Pirates have to play……..I have the UAB Blazers as somewhat of a surprise team this year. They haven’t made a bowl since 2004, but I have them finishing 7-6 and playing in the Heart of Dallas bowl. That may not mean much to most college football fans, but that’s a successful season in Birmingham…….Louisiana Tech had a good season last year when they finished 9-3. However, this year they move to a tougher conference and head coach Sonny Dykes has moved on to coach Cal in the Pac-12. New head coach Skip Holtz is a pretty good coach but there will be lots of bumps in the roads for the Bulldogs this season. I have them barely sneaking into a bowl game, but it wouldn’t shock me to see them slide further than that…….The Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles were one of the laughing stocks of college football last year when they went from fielding a bowl team in 2011 to fielding an 0-12 team last season. This year will see much improvement at Southern Miss though. First-year head coach Todd Monken takes over an experienced squad who should not only win at least one game this year, but should be bowl eligible come December……..Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Middle Tennessee, Tulane, North Texas, UTEP, and UTSA will all be fighting for last place in the conference. It’s not fun, but someone’s gotta do it.

MAC

MAC West:

1. Ball State Cardinals – 12-2 (8-1)

Last Year’s Record: 9-4

Last Year’s Bowl Game: Lost the Beef O’ Brady Bowl against UCF

Toughest Games: Toledo, @ Virginia, @ Northern Illinois

Key Players: Keith Wenning (QB), Jahwan Edwards (RB), Willie Snead (WR), Jamill Smith (WR/KR/PR), Zane Fakes (TE), Jordan Hansel (OL), Matthew Page (OL), Jonathan Newsome (DL), Nathan Ollie (DL), Eric Patterson (CB)

Conference Championship: vs. Bowling Green (W)

Bowl Prediction: GoDaddy.com Bowl vs. Louisiana-Monroe (W)

2. Northern Illinois Huskies – 11-2 (6-2)

Last Year’s Record: 12-2

Last Year’s Bowl Game: Lost the Orange Bowl to Florida State

Toughest Games: @ Iowa, @ Purdue, Ball State, @ Toledo

Key Players: Jordan Lynch (QB), Tyler Loos (OL), Jared Volk (OL), Andrew Ness (OL), Aiden Conlon (OL), Joe Windsor (DL), Ken Bishop (DL), Jamaal Baas (LB), Boomer Mays (LB), Marlon Moore (CB), Jimmie Ward (S), Mathew Sims (K), Tommylee Lewis (KR)

Bowl Prediction: Little Caesars Pizza Bowl vs. Washington (W)

3. Toledo Rockets – 8-5 (6-2)

Last Year’s Record: 9-4

Last Year’s Bowl Game: Lost the Idaho Potato Bowl against Utah State

Toughest Games: @ Florida, @ Missouri, @ Ball State, @ Bowling Green, Northern Illinois

Key Players: Terrance Owens (QB), David Fluellen (RB), Bernard Reedy (WR/KR/PR), Alonzo Russell (WR), Zac Kerin (C), Greg Mancz (OL), Jayrone Elliot (DL), Elijah Jones (DL), Trent Voss (LB), Cheatham Norrils (CB), Jeremiah Detmer (K), Vince Penza (P)

Bowl Prediction: Poinsettia Bowl vs. Boise State (L)

4. Western Michigan Broncos – 6-6 (5-3)

Last Year’s Record: 4-8

Last Year’s Bowl Game: No bowl game

Toughest Games: @ Michigan State, @ Northwestern, @ Iowa, Kent State, @ Toledo, Buffalo, Ball State, @ Northern Illinois

Key Players: Jaime Wilson (WR/PR), Terry Davisson (OL), Travonte Boles (DL), Johnnie Simon (LB), Desmond Bozeman (LB), Donald Celiscar (CB), Justin Currie (S)

Bowl Prediction: No bowl game

5. Central Michigan Chippewas – 3-9 (2-6)

Last Year’s Record: 7-6

Last Year’s Bowl Game: Won the Little Casaers Bowl against Western Kentucky

Toughest Games: @ Michigan, Toledo, @ NC State, @ Ohio, Northern Illinois, @ Ball State, @ Western Michigan

Key Players: Zurlon Tipton (RB), Titus Davis (WR), Nick Beamish (TE), Jake Olson (OL), Shamari Benton (LB), Justin Cherocci (LB), Avery Cunningham (S)

Bowl Prediction: No bowl game

6. Eastern Michigan Eagles – 1-11 (0-8)

Last Year’s Record: 2-10

Last Year’s Bowl Game: No bowl game

Toughest Games: @ Penn State, @ Rutgers, Ball State, @ Buffalo, Ohio, @ Northern Illinois, @ Toledo, Bowling Green

Key Players: Donald Coleman (S), Dylan Mulder (K)

Bowl Prediction: No bowl game

MAC East:
1. Bowling Green Falcons – 10-4 (6-2)

Last Year’s Record: 8-5

Last Year’s Bowl Game: Lost the Military Bowl against San Jose State

Toughest Games: Tulsa, @ Kent State, @ Mississippi State, Toledo, Ohio, @ Buffalo

Key Players: Shaun Joplin (WR), Chris Gallon (WR), Alex Bayer (TE), Dominic Flewellyn (OL), Chief Kekuewa (OL), Fahn Cooper (OL), Ted Ouellet (DL), Charlie Walker (DL), Bryan Thomas (DL), Gabe Martin (LB), Paul Swan (LB), DJ Lynch (LB), Cameron Truss (CB), BooBoo Gates (S), Ryland Ward (S), Brian Schmiedebusch (P), Ryan Burbink (PR)

Conference Championship: vs. Ball State (L)

Bowl Prediction: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl vs. Utah State (W)

2. Ohio Bobcats – 10-3 (6-2)

Last Year’s Record: 9-4

Last Year’s Bowl Game: Won the Independence Bowl against Louisiana-Monroe

Toughest Games: @ Louisville, Marshall, @ Buffalo, @ Bowling Green, Kent State

Key Players: Tyler Tettleton (QB), Beau Blankenship (RB), Donte Foster (WR), John Prior (OL), Jon Lechner (OL), Keith Moore (LB), Travis Carrie (CB)

Bowl Prediction: Heart of Dallas Bowl vs. UAB (W)

3. Kent State Golden Flashes – 6-6 (4-4)

Last Year’s Record: 11-3

Last Year’s Bowl Game: Lost the GoDaddy.com Bowl to Arkansas State

Toughest Games: Bowling Green, @ LSU, @ Penn State, Northern Illinois, @ Ball State, Buffalo, @ Ohio

Key Players: Dri Archer (RB/KR), Traylon Dunham (RB), Pat McShane (OL), Roosevelt Nix (DL), Mark Fackler (DL), Luke Wollet (S), Anthony Melchiori (P)

Bowl Prediction: No bowl game

4. Buffalo Bulls – 6-6 (4-4)

Last Year’s Record: 4-8

Last Year’s Bowl Game: No bowl game

Toughest Games: @ Ohio State, @ Baylor, Connecticut, @ Kent State, Ohio, @ Toledo, Bowling Green

Key Players: Branden Oliver (RB), Alex Neutz (WR), Andre Davis (OL), Jasen Carlson (OL), Colby Way (DL), Khalil Mack (LB), Lee Skinner (LB), Najja Johnson (CB)

Bowl Prediction: No bowl game

5. Miami (OH) Redhawks – 3-9 (3-5)

Last Year’s Record: 4-8

Last Year’s Bowl Game: No bowl game

Toughest Games: @ Marshall, @ Kentucky, Cincinnati, @ Illinois, @ Ohio, Bowling Green, @ Kent State, @ Ball State

Key Players: Nick Harwell (WR), Dawan Scott (WR), Steve Marck (TE), Austin Brown (DL), Chris Wade (LB), Dayonne Nunley (CB), Brison Burris (S), Kaleb Patterson (K)

Bowl Prediction: No bowl game

6. Akron Zips – 3-9 (1-7)

Last Year’s Record: 1-11

Last Year’s Bowl Game: No bowl game

Toughest Games: @ UCF, @ Michigan, @ Bowling Green, Ohio, @ Northern Illinois, Ball State, Kent State, Toledo

Key Players: Jawon Chisholm (RB), CJ James (DL), Cody Grice (DL), CJ Mizell (LB), Justin March (LB)

Bowl Prediction: No bowl game

7. Massachusetts Middlemen – 1-11 (0-8)

Last Year’s Record: 1-11

Last Year’s Bowl Game: No bowl game

Toughest Games: @ Wisconsin, @ Kansas State, Vanderbilt, @ Bowling Green, @ Buffalo, Northern Illinois, @ Ohio

Key Players: Rob Blanchflower (TE), Anthony Dima (OL), Colter Johnson (P)

Bowl Prediction: No bowl game

MAC Conference Outlook: Every year it seems we have a MAC team that comes out of nowhere and shocks the college football world. This year, I have pegged the Ball State Cardinals as the MAC team that everyone talks about this year. The Cardinals finished 9-4 last season and have a senior QB who’s commanding one of the more experienced units in the MAC. This could be a magical season in Muncie, Indiana. Then again, I could be way off as the MAC is one of the hardest conferences to predict…….If Ball State isn’t the team that comes out of the MAC and shocks the world, chances are it could be the Northern Illinois Huskies again. The Huskies finished 12-2 last season and return a ton of talent this year. Senior QB Jordan Lynch is the best QB in the MAC and should have the Huskies in play for the conference title when it’s all said and done…….I have Bowling Green winning the MAC East this year. The Falcons finished with an impressive 8-5 record last season and they only lose 3 starters total on both sides of the ball. This is probably the most experienced overall team in the MAC and I could be selling them way short. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see these guys hoisting the MAC trophy at the end of the year……..Head coach Frank Solich and the Ohio Bobcats have been a consistent winning program over the last 4 seasons and I don’t expect anything to change this year. The Bobcats have a young defense, but they should be able to play with the rest of the big boys in the MAC. As long as Solich is the head coach here, this program will always be a force in the MAC……..Toledo is an interesting team for numerous reasons. I’ve seen some people pick them as the team to come out of the MAC and I’ve also seen some people having them floating around 7-6 or so. I think Toledo is a dark horse team in the MAC West and not only do I expect them to make their fourth straight bowl game, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see them in the conference title game either……..Kent State, Western Michigan, and Buffalo should all finish with around 6 wins and will be fighting for a bowl berth come December…….Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Miami (OH), Akron, and UMass will all be contending for the worst record in college football.

SUNBELT
1. Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns – 8-5 (6-1)

Last Year’s Record: 9-4

Last Year’s Bowl Game: Won the New Orleans Bowl against East Carolina

Toughest Games: @ Arkansas, @ Kansas State, @ Western Kentucky, @ Arkansas State, Louisiana-Monroe

Key Players: Terrance Broadway (QB), Alonzo Harris (RB), Jamal Robinson (WR), Darryl Surgent (WR), Daniel Quave (OL), Mykhael Quave (OL), Christian Ringo (DL), Justin Hamilton (DL), Justin Anderson (LB), Jake Molbert (LB), Darius Barksdale (S)

Bowl Prediction: New Orleans Bowl vs. Marshall (L)

2. Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks – 8-5 (6-1)

Last Year’s Record: 8-5

Last Year’s Bowl Game: Lost the Independence Bowl to Ohio

Toughest Games: @ Oklahoma, @ Wake Forest, @ Baylor, Tulane, Western Kentucky, @ Louisiana-Lafeyette

Key Players: Kolton Browning (QB), Jyruss Edwards (RB), Je’Ron Hamm (WR), Tavarese Maye (WR), Josh Allen (C), Joseph Treadwell (OL), Jon Fisher (OL), Gerrand Johnson (DL), Joey Gautney (DL), Ray Stovall (LB), Cameron Blakes (LB), Austin Moss (LB), Rob’Donovan Lewis (CB), Vincent Eddie (CB), Isaiah Newsome (S)

Bowl Prediction: GoDaddy.com Bowl vs. Ball State (L)

3. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers – 7-5 (6-1)

Last Year’s Record: 7-6

Last Year’s Bowl Game: Lost the Little Caesars Bowl against Central Michigan

Toughest Games: Kentucky, @ Tennessee, @ Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana-Lafeyette, Arkansas State

Key Players: Antonio Andrews (RB/KR/PR), Sean Conway (C), Mitchell Henry (TE), Luis Polanco (OL), Cameron Clemmons (OL), Andrew Jackson (LB), Xavius Boyd (LB), Tyree Robinson (CB), Jonathan Dowling (S), Kiante Young (S)

Bowl Prediction: No bowl game

4. Arkansas State Red Wolves – 6-6 (4-3)

Last Year’s Record: 10-3

Last Year’s Bowl Game: Won the GoDaddy.com Bowl against Kent State

Toughest Games: @ Auburn, @ Missouri, Louisiana-Lafeyette, @ Louisiana-Monroe, @ Western Kentucky

Key Players: David Oku (RB), JD McKissic (WR), Julian Jones (WR), Darion Griswold (TE), Aaron Williams (OL), Steven Haunga (OL), Travis Bodenstein (OL), Ryan Carrethers (DL), Eddie Porter (DL), Dexter Blackmon (DL), Qushaun Lee (LB), Sterling Young (S), Brian Davis (K)

Bowl Prediction: No bowl game

5. Troy Trojans – 4-8 (3-4)

Last Year’s Record: 5-7

Last Year’s Bowl Game: No bowl game

Toughest Games: @ Arkansas State, @ Mississippi State, @ Duke, @ Western Kentucky, Louisiana-Monroe, @ Louisiana-Lafeyette, @ Ole Miss

Key Players: Corey Robinson (QB), Eric Thomas (WR), Antonio Gillespie (DL), Wayland Coleman-Dancer (LB), Will Scott (K/P)

Bowl Prediction: No bowl game

6. Texas State Bobcats – 3-9 (3-4)

Last Year’s Record: 4-8

Last Year’s Bowl Game: No bowl game

Toughest Games: @ Southern Mississippi, @ Texas Tech, Wyoming, @ Louisiana, Louisiana-Monroe, @ Arkansas State, Western Kentucky

Key Players: CJ Best (RB), Isaiah Battle (WR), Charlie Will Tuttle (OL), DJ Yendrey (DL), Blake McColloch (DL), Michael Orakpo (LB), David Mayo (LB), Craig Mager (CB), Xavier Daniels (CB), Will Johnson (K), Zach Robinson (P), Jafus Gaines (KR), Andy Erickson (PR)

Bowl Prediction: No bowl game

7. Georgia State Panthers – 3-9 (0-7)

Last Year’s Record: 1-10

Last Year’s Bowl Game: No bowl game

Toughest Games: @ West Virginia, @ Alabama, @ Texas State, @ Louisiana-Monroe, Western Kentucky, Louisiana-Lafeyette, @ Arkansas State

Key Players: Albert Wilson (WR), Grant King (OL), Terrance Woodard (DL), Matt Hubbard (P), Albert Wilson (KR)

Bowl Prediction: No bowl game

8. South Alabama Jaguars – 2-10 (1-6)

Last Year’s Record: 2-11

Last Year’s Bowl Game: No bowl game

Toughest Games: @ Tulane, Western Kentucky, @ Tennessee, @ Troy, Kent State, @ Texas State, Arkansas State, @ Navy, Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana-Lafeyette

Key Players: Demetre Baker (RB), Wes Saxton (TE), Melvin Miggs (OL), Alex Page (DL), Enrique Williams (LB), Tyrell Pearson (CB), Terrell Brigham (S), TJ Glover (PR)

Bowl Prediction: No bowl game

Sunbelt Conference Outlook: The Sunbelt conference is easily the worst conference in all of division-I college football, especially now that the WAC is gone. If there is any silver lining in the Sunbelt conference though, it has to be the two Louisiana teams. The conference championship will pretty much be determined when Louisiana-Lafeyette meets Louisiana-Monroe on November 30. I know, contain your excitement…….Western Kentucky will be interesting to watch this year due to new head coach Bobby Petrino. I expect Petrino to come in and immediately make WKU into a powerhouse in the Sunbelt conference, but is that really that difficult to achieve?……..Arkansas State had a good season last year, but now that head coach Gus Malzahn departed for Auburn, they will likely take a step back and return to normalcy……Troy, Texas State, Georgia State, and South Alabama are all garbage.
Final Top 25 Rankings:

With all the teams previewed and every conference looked at, it’s time to look at how my final top 25 rankings ended up. This will definitely be fun to see how wrong I was at the end of the year when the final top 25 is released in January….

1. Alabama
2. Oregon
3. Clemson
4. Ohio State
5. Georgia
6. South Carolina
7. Stanford
8. LSU
9. Texas A&M
10. USC
11. Oklahoma
12. Florida State
13. Oklahoma State
14. Louisville
15. Texas
16. Nebraska
17. Boise State
18. Oregon State
19. UCLA
20. North Carolina
21. Cincinnati
22. Wisconsin
23. Miami
24. Michigan
25. Florida

And that it is for me. For the MAN-CAVE, this is Dustin James signing off and you stay classy San Diego.

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