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2010 C-USA Preview - Unit Rankings
Rice DE Cheta Ozougwu
Rice DE Cheta Ozougwu
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 6, 2010


2010 CollegeFootballNews.com Preview - Conference USA Unit Rankings


Preview 2010

C-USA Unit Rankings


East
- East Carolina Preview | Marshall Preview | Memphis Preview
- Southern Miss Preview |  UAB Preview | UCF Preview

West
- Houston Preview | Rice Preview | SMU Preview
- Tulane Preview | Tulsa Preview | UTEP Preview

- 2010 C-USA Preview | 2010 C-USA Unit Rankings | 2010 C-USA Schedules & Picks
- 2010 CFN All-C-USA Team & Top 30 Players | Get C-USA Tickets
- 2010 C-USA Team By Team Looks & Predicted Finish

Conference USA East Overall

Based on how good each team is and NOT the predicted finish

1. Southern Miss
2. UCF
3. Marshall
4. East Carolina
5. UAB
6. Memphis

Conference USA West Overall

Based on how good each team is and NOT the predicted finish

1. Houston
2. UTEP
3. SMU
4. Tulsa
5. Rice
6. Tulane

Offenses

1. Houston
Coordinator Dana Holgorsen has left Houston for Oklahoma State, creating an internal promotion for Jason Phillips. However, nothing will change with this rocket-boosted attack. After flirting with the NFL, QB Case Keenum is back and ready to continue his assault on the NCAA record books. He’s the point guard of a Cougar offense that led the country in scoring, passing, and total offense a year ago. And he’ll once again be surrounded by gobs of speedy skill position talent, like versatile back Bryce Beall, and receivers James Cleveland, Tyron Carrier, and Patrick Edwards. If there are any concerns about keeping this train on the tracks, they’re up front, where a decent line lost C Carl Barnett to graduation and all-star RT Jarve Dean to a suspension.

2. UTEP
3. Southern Miss
4. Tulsa
5. SMU
6. Marshall
7. East Carolina
8. UCF
9. Rice
10. UAB
11. Memphis
12. Tulane

Quarterbacks

1. Houston
One by one, the records are going to fall as Case Keenum turns his final season into a victory lap through Conference USA. Barring the obvious, an injury, he’ll again pile up huge numbers at the expense of toothless defenses and contend for All-America honors. Getting to another level, such as winning the Heisman, will depend on how well he plays against UCLA, Mississippi State, and Texas Tech at the end of November.

2. SMU
3. Southern Miss
4. UTEP
5. Tulsa
6. Marshall
7. Rice
8. East Carolina
9. Tulane
10. UAB
11. UCF
12. Memphis

Running Backs

1. UTEP
Donald Buckram is a rare gem in West Texas these days and easily the best reason to watch a UTEP game. He’s one of the country’s most exciting playmakers and the type of weapon that’ll keep the Miners in games that it otherwise would be overmatched. If he stays healthy, 2,000 yards rushing might be within reach, especially against a schedule void of defensive heavyweights.

2. Houston
3. UCF
4. Southern Miss
5. Rice
6. Marshall
7. Memphis
8. Tulsa
9. East Carolina
10. Tulane
11. SMU
12. UAB

Receivers

1. Houston
Two years ago, Houston was putting out APBs for quality receivers to catch Case Keenum’s darts. Today, through good recruiting and player development, the staff has cobbled together one of the most dangerous pass-catching ensembles in America. It can beat you in a number of different ways, and in James Cleveland, now has a legitimate next-level player running routes.

2. Tulsa
3. SMU
4. Southern Miss
5. UTEP
6. UAB
7. UCF
8. East Carolina
9. Marshall
10. Memphis
11. Rice
12. Tulane

Offensive Lines

1. East Carolina
Depending upon how you approach it, the glass is either half-empty or half-full for the Pirate offensive line. Willie Smith, D.J. Scott, and Cory Dowless provide an outstanding foundation, but the question marks at right tackle and center could limit the potential of the group in 2010, but this should still be the best front five in the league.

2. UTEP
3. Marshall
4. Houston
5. Memphis
6. Tulsa
7. SMU
8. UCF
9. UAB
10. Tulane
11. Southern Miss
12. Rice

Defenses

1. Southern Miss
With nine starters back, Southern Miss is set to build a bridge to the days when a nasty defense was its trademark. More than a dozen letterwinners return to a front seven that’s going to set the tone for the unit and take some heat off a vulnerable secondary. In NT Anthony Gray, DE Cordarro Law, and linebackers Korey Williams, Martez Smith, and Ronnie Thornton, the Eagles are flush with all-star potential. The defensive backfield, however, is a different story, breaking in two new starters in an area that was beatable versus better passing teams in 2009. CB C.J. Bailey and S Justin Wilson will be fine, but rookie CB Deron Wilson and S Kendric Presley must give opposing passers a reason to avoid their side of the field.

2. UCF
3. East Carolina
4. Marshall
5. Houston
6. SMU
7. Tulsa
8. UAB
9. Memphis
10. UTEP
11. Rice
12. Tulane

Defensive Lines

1. Southern Miss
The presence of Anthony Gray, Cordaaro Law, and a host of veterans ensures that Southern Miss will roll out one of the league’s best defensive fronts, week after week. Raising the bar this season, however, will require more production from the likes of Pope, Jones, and Byrd, upperclassmen who need to deliver on a more consistent basis.

2. UCF
3. Marshall
4. UAB
5. East Carolina
6. SMU
7. Tulsa
8. Houston
9. Rice
10. Memphis
11. UTEP
12. Tulane

Linebackers

1. Southern Miss
Korey Williams is the new Gerald McRath, which means Southern Miss will be home to one of the nation’s premier linebackers. Almost as encouraging is the return of Ronnie Thornton, Martez Smith, and Jamie Collins, who’ll combine to help give the Golden Eagles a nasty and ferocious ensemble roaming every corner of the field.

2. UCF
3. Marshall
4. Houston
5. SMU
6. East Carolina
7. Tulsa
8. Memphis
9. UTEP
10. Tulane
11. Rice
12. UAB

Secondaries

1. East Carolina
If there’s a strength of the rebuilt Pirate defense, this is clearly it. East Carolina has a potential lockdown corner in Emanuel Davis and a recent history of developing quality defensive backs. How well will they hold up without nearly as much support from the front seven? That’s a question the secondary will have to answer throughout the 2010 season.

2. Southern Miss
3. UCF
4. Houston
5. Marshall
6. SMU
7. Tulsa
8. Memphis
9. UAB
10. Tulane
11. UTEP
12. Rice

Special Teams

1. Tulsa
Tulsa has all of the ingredients in place to boast Conference USA’s most complete special teams unit. The placekicker (Kevin Fitzgerald) and punter (Michael Such) are all-league caliber and the return man, Damaris Johnson, could get All-American attention. Throw in tight coverage teams, and it’s clear that coordinator Bill Blankenship is earning his paycheck.

2. Houston
3. UCF
4. Southern Miss
5. East Carolina
6. SMU
7. Rice
8. Marshall
9. Tulane
10. Memphis
11. UTEP
12. UAB

East
- East Carolina Preview | Marshall Preview | Memphis Preview
- Southern Miss Preview |  UAB Preview | UCF Preview

West
- Houston Preview | Rice Preview | SMU Preview
- Tulane Preview | Tulsa Preview | UTEP Preview

- 2010 C-USA Preview | 2010 C-USA Unit Rankings | 2010 C-USA Schedules & Picks
- 2010 CFN All-C-USA Team & Top 30 Players | Get C-USA Tickets
- 2010 C-USA Team By Team Looks & Predicted Finish