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Posts Tagged ‘Conference USA’

This Must Be Rock Bottom, Houston Hopes

This is the bottom, I think – and Houston hopes. The most damning factoid that could be used to define a team is that it forced five turnovers yet lost the turnover battle, as the Cougars did on Saturday night. U.C.L.A. had five turnovers; Houston had six. What the heck is going on here? Through three weeks, there has be no more disappointing team in college football. No team has suffered a more inexplicable loss, with all due to respect to Pittsburgh, Arkansas and Wyoming, among others. Of the 27 teams that notched double-digit wins last fall, how many seem assured of not reaching that mark in 2012? I’ll say three: Arkansas State, Arkansas… and Houston.

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    How the Conferences Rank, 1-12: Week 4

    As an accompanying post to today’s re-ranking, here’s the entire F.B.S. conference breakdown in terms of average P.S.R. 1-124 ranking. It’s not entirely fair to include the Independent programs among the true conferences, seeing that there’s only four Independent teams, but it does give a slight slice-of-life taste of where that quartet stands in the big picture. The listings include the average ranking, highest team ranking and number of teams in the top 25 in parentheses. Without further ado:

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      Conference USA Nosedives to Rock Bottom

      Rewind eight months. Houston capped one of the finest seasons in program history by decimating Penn State, 30-14, during bowl play. Southern Mississippi won its program-record 12th game against Nevada in the Hawaii Bowl – and in their last time out, the Golden Eagles had harassed Case Keenum and the Cougars out of the B.C.S. conversation. Tulsa, S.M.U. and Marshall acquitted themselves well in the postseason, with the Mustangs beating Pittsburgh, Marshall beating Florida International and the Golden Hurricane leading B.Y.U. for 59 minutes before a late collapse. Was last season the finest in the history of Conference USA? It’s not hard to make that case.

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        How the Conferences Rank, 1-12: Week 3

        As an accompanying post to today’s re-ranking, here’s the entire F.B.S. conference breakdown in terms of average P.S.R. 1-124 ranking. It’s not entirely fair to include the Independent programs among the true conferences, seeing that there’s only four Independent teams, but it does give a slight slice-of-life taste of where that quartet stands in the big picture. The listings include the average ranking, highest team ranking and number of teams in the top 25 in parentheses. Without further ado:

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          How the Conferences Rank, 1-12: Week 2

          As an accompanying post to today’s re-ranking, here’s the entire F.B.S. conference breakdown in terms of average P.S.R. 1-124 ranking. It’s not entirely fair to include the Independent programs among the true conferences, seeing that there’s only four independent teams, but it does give a slight slice-of-life taste of where that quartet stands in the big picture. The listings include the average ranking, highest team ranking and number of teams in the top 25 in parentheses. Without further ado:

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            No. 30: Houston

            Houston had a simple modus operandi under Kevin Sumlin: push the ball, push it down field, push on first down, push it on third down. Never settle. Maintain this non-stop pressure in the passing game, going for broke even in short-yardage situations. Act, making the opposition react, and never vice versa. This is how Houston kept teams off balance; this is how the Cougars dominated offensively. Despite the coaching change and the loss of several key contributors, this mentality won’t change under Tony Levine, the former U.H. assistant who earned a nice and well-deserved promotion last December. The truth is that it’s not broken – why would Levine and Houston change a thing? The Cougars will continue going full-bore, keeping the same pedal-to-the-floor mentality that propelled this program to such great heights a season ago, as doing anything less would signal that something was wrong with the way U.H. approached the game over the last few seasons. If dominating Conference USA was wrong, here’s guessing that Levine and U.H. don’t want to be right.

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              No. 33: Louisiana Tech

              Boise State was gone, so somebody had to step into the void. Nevada was the preseason favorite, which made some sense, though not a tremendous amount. The Wolf Pack may have topped the Broncos in 2010, but last year’s team stepped to the plate with a fraction of the star power. If not Nevada, then Hawaii; the Warriors, winners of 10 games two seasons ago, were feeling the love. If not either of that pair, then Fresno State — if not now for the Bulldogs, then never. Louisiana Tech? The dark horse’s dark horse: the ignored, dismissed and overlooked conference champ. After filling a Boise-sized hole a season ago, the Bulldogs now turn their sites on yet another major accomplishment: like the Broncos before them, the Bulldogs want to go B.C.S. busting.

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                U.C.F. Not Considering “Pulling” Appeal

                A quick follow-up post go with today’s U.C.F. preview. The university has indeed appealed the one-year postseason ban imposed yesterday by the N.C.A.A., which if not appealed would have taken place during this coming season, the program’s last as part of Conference USA. If U.C.F. wins its appeal – it is not appealing the one-year ban placed on the men’s basketball program, only the one upon the football program – it will not suffer any postseason ban whatsoever, as you might think. If it loses the appeal, however, the Knights will be ineligible for postseason play in 2013, when the program joins the Big East.

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                  The Countdown

                  A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.