In the relatively brief history of the Conference USA championship game, there has never been a rematch of the previous season’s title game. If all goes according to plan as predicted by the media, that could change in 2017.
Western Kentucky and Louisiana Tech were each the clear favorites to win their respective divisions in the Conference USA preseason media poll released today. Both programs received 20 first-place votes to easily be named the preseason favorites in the Conference USA divisions, setting the stage for a potential rematch in the Conference USA championship game at the end of the season. Western Kentucky is the two-time defending Conference USA champion, and Louisiana Tech has played in two of the last three title games, so it was hardly a shock to see both programs be named the preseason favorites by the media.
UAB returns to the football field this season, and the preseason poll suggests it will be a rocky return. The Blazers were picked to finish last in the West Division. After Louisiana Tech, UTSA picked up seven first-place votes to come in second in the preseason poll. Southern Miss, now a year removed from playing for the conference championship, received the last remaining first-place vote in the West Division.
Western Kentucky failed to gobble up all of the first-place votes in the East Division as well. Middle Tennessee received four votes, while Old Dominion picked up three. Marshall also received a first-place nod from the voters. New FBS program and conference member Charlotte was picked last in the East, as expected. Lane Kiffin‘s FAU Owls were picked to finish in fifth place.
Here’s how the preseason media poll in Conference USA looks. No picks for conference champion were made.
Conference USA East Division
- Western Kentucky (20 first-place votes)
- Middle Tennessee (4)
- Old Dominion (3)
- Marshall (1)
- Florida Atlantic
Conference USA West Division
- Louisiana Tech (20)
- UTSA (7)
- Southern Miss (1)
- North Texas