Houston and East Carolina are predicted to be runaway winners of Conference USA divisions this fall.
But when it comes to picking who will win the league championship game, the Cougars and the Pirates could hardly be any closer.
Media members who cover C-USA football on a regular basis narrowly tabbed Houston to take the title by a razor-thin 11-10 margin over East Carolina.
What makes it even more interesting is that the Cougars and the Pirates don’t meet in the regular season, meaning they could come into the Dec. 5 championship game unbeaten in league play.
Southern Miss (2) and Tulsa (1) received the only other championship votes from the 24-member panel made of up of one writer and one broadcaster representing each of the 12 conference teams.
As for the division races, Houston received 22 of 24 first-place votes to win the West ahead of defending champion Tulsa and East Carolina, last year’s East Division and title game winner, received 20 of 24 first-place nods. Southern Miss was tabbed to finish second.
In the East, Memphis was picked third, followed by Central Florida, Marshall and UAB. Texas-El Paso was picked third in the West followed by Rice, Southern Methodist and Tulane.
Predicted Order of Finish
As selected by league media members
(First place votes in parenthesis)
1. East Carolina (20) 138
2. Southern Miss (4) 122
3. Memphis 78
4. Central Florida 72
5. Marshall 57
6. UAB 37
1. Houston (22) 142
2. Tulsa (2) 113
3. UTEP 96
4. Rice 63
5. SMU 54
6. Tulane 36
Six points were given for a first-place vote, five for second, etc.
Overall Champion – Houston