Give me ten minutes of your time.
I, the Miss Cleo of College Football, have looked up into the heavens and learned what is going to happen this season.
Today, I will be foreseeing the 2018 season in Conference USA and the MAC.
Championship Game: Southern Miss 35 Marshall 31
1. Marshall: Has a solid replacement for Chase Litton at QB in Alex Thompson. Thompson is blessed with a strong returning cast of receivers and an impenetrable run defense.
2. Florida Atlantic: Gonna get thumped by Oklahoma in the opener and then just never be quite right in 2018.
3. Western Kentucky: Big Red is Otto the Orange’s poor relation who don’t need no sunscreen.
4. Florida International: Robert’s Christmas Wonderland in Clearwater, Florida is referred to by Michiganders as the Frommer’s of the Southeast. It has 56 different Christmas villages, dozens of nativity sets, huge selections of trees, heirloom ornaments, nutcrackers, Luminara Candles, and Elmo has been held there against his will for the past six months. Just a short drive from Tampa and St. Pete and a long drive from the Florida International campus.
5. Middle Tennessee: Too much blue too soon.
6. Old Dominion: Has a defensive coordinator named Kermit Buggs. Great name, Kermit.
7. Charlotte: If Aladdin gave me three wishes, the first one would be for a bag of Chick-Fil-A sandwiches. The second one would be for a hot pink 1983 Chevy Camaro. The third wish would be for UNC-Charlotte to get out of Division 1 football.
1. Southern Miss: The Golden Eagles lost a great deal of talent from last year’s club but do not underestimate this team. They return a stout offensive line, a veteran defense that shut down the run last season, and arguably the best kicker in the country (Parker Shaunfield). I expect this well-coached team to win a lot of tight ones en route to a West Division title.
2. UTEP: The Miners are poised for a dramatic turnaround in 2018. Their handsome new coach Dana Dimel has instilled smarts and fight in this club that posted an 0-12 mark last season. Coming from the Bill Snyder coaching tree at Kansas State, Dimel knows all about rebuilding a program from the ground up. This club will benefit immensely from the presence of dual-threat JUCO transfer quarterback Kai Locksley. The Miners have a talented cadre of backs and receivers who will support Locksley’s development into a bona fide star. UTEP is going bowling this season!
3. Louisiana Tech: Look for QB J’Mar Smith to improve significantly this season. He has a good corps of receivers with which to work.
4. North Texas: Green but not especially mean in 2018.
5. UTSA: Still seems like a pretend team to me.
6. Rice: Still seems like a pretend team to me.
7. UAB: WHEN I WANT TO HAVE FUN I GO TO GAMETIME IN HOOVER, ALABAMA. THEY’VE GOT WINGS. THEY’VE GOT MEGA ARCADE. THEY’VE GOT SUGARY DRINKS. THEY’VE GOT ALL YOUR FRIENDS. THE GANGS ALL HERE. WHEN YOURE HERE YOUR FAMILY. THINK OUTSIDE THE BUN.
Championship Game: Ohio 23 Central Michigan 20
1. Ohio: I sent Frank Solich a Christmas card last year and he responded with an autographed picture. In addition to having a nice coach, the Bobcats have one of the best teams in the G5. Junior QB Nathan Rourke will be going back to work behind an agile, mobile, and hostile offensive line. A.J. Ouelette is one of the top halfbacks in the league. There are plenty of question marks in Ohio’s young defensive front but their secondary is laden with experience and talent. This game will be a difficult test for the Bearcats.
2. Miami (Ohio): The Redhawks will finally make the jump to bowl eligibility just in time to save Chuck Martin’s job. This is an experienced team that Martin has built from the ground up the last few years. The Battle for the Victory Bell will once again be a legitimate battle as both the Bearcats and the Redhawks are on the way up.
3. Buffalo: Two heaping helpings of offense and an empty plate on defense.
4. Kent State: Kent is a heck of a fun college town. Nice downtown. Plenty of parking. And not all parking garages either. I like surface lots and they’ve got them in spades in Kent.
5. Bowling Green: City Tap on West Main has good wings and competitive prices on domestic pitchers. It’s right downtown and not far from the Probate Court if you got any business there.
6. Akron: Stinks.
1. Central Michigan: Big fan of Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. I’ve always had a lot of luck at the Soaring Eagle Casino. This time one time I got about $500 on roulette but then I kept betting big on red and I lost all my money but I earned a lot of Winners’ Club points and got m’self a free buffet lunch just for spending $750 at the Casino.
2. Northern Illinois: Prediction: by the end of his tenure in Dekalb, sophomore quarterback Marcus Childers will be the all-time leading passer in MAC history.
3. Toledo: Young but talented. Jason Candle has done a superb job building a deep roster for the Rockets.
4. Eastern Michigan: Why is it always a party of one when I watch my Party of Five DVDs?
5. Western Michigan: I watch the Real World primarily to do scouting reports for The Challenge.
6. Ball State: One time, I licked a bubble wand and blew the soap from my mouth threw the magic circle and it made a balloon that was so heavy it sank immediately to the gravel of the CVS Parking Lot and sat there intact for several seconds.
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