Conference USA is stacked with talent at quarterback
Published: Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, August 31, 2011 17:08
It's looking more and more like 2011 is going to be the year of the quarterback in Conference USA.
Six C-USA quarterbacks have been named to the Davey O'Brien Watch List, the award for the nation's top quarterback. The list includes Southern Miss' Austin Davis, East Carolina's Dominique Davis, Houston's Case Keenum, Southern Methodist's Kyle Padron, Tulsa's G.J. Kinne and UCF's very own Jeff Godfrey.
In addition to having a substantial number of players on the O'Brien Watch List, Keenum is once again considered a dark horse for the Heisman Trophy.
The surplus of talented quarterbacks makes sense for a league that once again promises to be high flying and high scoring. Hopefully someone plays some defense.
Here's the rest of our 2011 C-USA Preview:
With a healthy Case Keenum under center, Houston was picked as the preseason favorite to win the West in the C-USA Poll administered by Tulsa World. Still, the West figures to be a three-headed monster and a race to the finish, with both Tulsa and SMU likely to have strong seasons as well. Barring some unforeseen overachieving, Tulane, UTEP and Rice don't figure to threaten much. Tulsa is taking on the toughest out of conference schedule in the West, hoping to pick up a signature win against either Boise State, Oklahoma or Oklahoma State.
Despite some departures on the defensive side of the ball, the Knights were still picked to finish first in the East in the preseason poll. Not far behind in votes is Southern Miss, with East Carolina coming in third. Dynamic ECU quarterback Dominique Davis will look to lead the Pirates against a rugged out-of-conference schedule that features South Carolina, Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Navy. The East winner will likely be determined between Nov. 5 and 19, a three-week stretch where ECU, USM and UCF all play one another. Marshall, Memphis and UAB figure to be non-factors.
It seems like C-USA is the "almost" conference, given how many games its teams have squandered against BCS programs over the years. The league is competitive, but one of the biggest things hurting its image over the years has been poor performance by C-USA teams against BCS opponents. That doesn't stop C-USA teams from scheduling tough out-of-conference slates, and this season is no different. Florida, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, BYU, TCU, Oklahoma and others will all face C-USA programs this season. How the conference performs in those games will go a long way in bolstering its image and validating any C-USA teams that are vying to be ranked or even make a run as a BCS-Buster.