Conference USA is the biggest Group of Five league with 14 teams. It also looks to be the tightest when it comes to the odds to win the conference championship.
The AAC and Mountain West have a clear favorite, at least in terms of the preseason college football betting odds. The MAC and Sun Belt have slight favorites at the top with two or three teams not far behind.
C-USA is the only G5 conference with a tie for the preseason odds to win the title. Not just a tie, but a three-way tie. Marshall, UAB, and UTSA all have +300 odds as of Aug. 27.
The dropoff from that top tier is significant, with Western Kentucky at +800, Florida Atlantic +1100, and Rice +1600.
UAB has reached the conference championship game the last three seasons, winning it in 2018 and 2020. The Blazers bring back 16 starters from a balanced team in 2020 that scored 28.4 points per game and allowed 21.4. The squad will be tested early. UAB does not play a home game until Oct. 2, facing FCS Jacksonville State at a neutral site in Montgomery, Alabama, before going to Georgia, North Texas, and Tulane.
Marshall hasn’t won the C-USA championship since 2014 but appeared in the title game last year, losing 22-13 to UAB. The Thundering Herd have a new head coach in Charles Huff but return standout quarterback Grant Wells. The defense should be stout again, bringing back eight starters after leading the conference in scoring defense (13.0 points allowed per game).
It’s interesting to see UTSA at the top of the betting odds. The Roadrunners are a pretty new football program with its debut season in 2011. They joined C-USA in 2013 and have yet to appear in the championship game. UTSA had three straight losing seasons in the standings from 2017-2019 before going 5-2 in 2020 during Jeff Traylor’s first season as the head coach.
UTSA will ride running back Sincere McCormick, who is the best offensive player in the conference after rushing for 1,467 yards in 2020.
C-USA Champion Odds
*As of Aug. 27.
Western Kentucky +800
Florida Atlantic +1100
Southern Miss +2500
Middle Tennessee State +2500
Louisiana Tech +3000
Old Dominion +3000
North Texas +3000
Florida International +5000
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