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2005 SCS.com College Football Preview
2005 CUSA FOOTBALL PREVIEW
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July 28, 2005

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PROJECTED STANDINGS TEAM PREVIEWS
CAN'T MISS GAMES ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM

PROJECTED STANDINGS

TEAM CUSA OVERALL
EAST
Southern Miss 7-1 8-3
UAB 5-3 7-4
Memphis 5-3 6-5
Marshall 3-5 4-7
UCF 2-6 3-8
East Carolina 2-6 2-9
WEST
UTEP 6-2 9-2
Houston 6-2 7-4
Tulane 4-4 6-5
Rice 3-5 3-8
Tulsa 3-5 3-8
SMU 2-6 2-9

TEAM PREVIEWS

SCS.com SOUTHERN MISS
Last Season: 7-5 / 5-3
Starters Returning: 6 offense, 7 defense
Projected wins: Tulane, McNeese, at ECU, Tulsa, UCF, MEM
Projected losses: at ALA
Toss-Ups: at HOU, at UAB, at NCSU, at MAR
PROJECTED RECORD: 8-3 / 7-1
BOTTOM LINE: The Eagles lost a large chunk of last year's defense but still look to be the most balanced team on the East side of CUSA. USM avoids West favorite UTEP and gets East rival Memphis at home.

SCS.com UTEP
Last Season: 8-4 / 5-2
Starters Returning: 6 offense, 5 defense
Projected wins: at NMSU, NM, at Tulane, MAR, at Rice, Tulsa, TXSOU, at SMU
Projected losses: (none)
Toss-Ups: HOU, at MEM, UAB
PROJECTED RECORD: 9-2 / 6-2
BOTTOM LINE: The Miners finished their WAC stint on a good note with a 5-2 league finish a year ago. QB Jordan Palmer is an emerging star, and UTEP should continue to flourish under the guidance of Mike Price.

SCS.com HOUSTON
Last Season: 3-8 / 3-5
Starters Returning: 8 offense, 8 defense
Projected wins: SHSU, at Tulsa, at Tulane, at UCF, SMU, Rice
Projected losses: OR, at MSU
Toss-Ups: at UTEP, USM, MEM
PROJECTED RECORD: 7-4 / 6-2
BOTTOM LINE: After going bowling in 2003, the Cougars went just 3-8 a year ago. QB Kevin Kolb was disappointing in 2004, but if he returns to freshman form this fall, UH will be near the top of the league standings.

SCS.com UAB
Last Season: 7-5 / 5-3
Starters Returning: 8 offense, 7 defense
Projected wins: at Troy, JSU, Rice, SMU, UCF, at ECU
Projected losses: at TN
Toss-Ups: at MAR, USM, at MEM, at UTEP
PROJECTED RECORD: 7-4 / 5-3
BOTTOM LINE: QB Darrell Hackney is one of the nation's top players at his position. Fifteen starters who went bowling in 2004 return, but unfortunately for Hackney, star WR Roddy White is not one of them.

SCS.com MEMPHIS
Last Season: 8-4 / 5-3
Starters Returning: 5 offense, 7 defense
Projected wins: CHAT, at Tulsa, at UCF, ECU, MAR
Projected losses: at TN, at USM
Toss-Ups: MISS, UTEP, at HOU, UAB
PROJECTED RECORD: 6-5 / 5-3
BOTTOM LINE: Without question, the key to the Tigers' success will be the health of star RB DeAngelo Williams. The two-time CUSA Offensive POTY will have a larger load on his shoulders with QB Danny Wimprine gone.

SCS.com TULANE
Last Season: 5-6 / 3-5
Starters Returning: 8 offense, 8 defense
Projected wins: at SMU, SELA, MAR, at Rice, Tulsa
Projected losses: at USM, HOU, UTEP
Toss-Ups: MSU, at UCF, at Navy
PROJECTED RECORD: 6-5 / 4-4
BOTTOM LINE: Tulane has missed out on postseason play for two straight years but returns sixteen starters in 2005. The Green Wave's schedule is very favorable, meaning 6 wins should be achievable for this year's squad.

SCS.com MARSHALL
Last Season: 4-7 / 3-5
Starters Returning: 3 offense, 3 defense
Projected wins: W&M, SMU, ECU
Projected losses: KSU, at VT, UAB, at UTEP, USM, at MEM
Toss-Ups: at UCF, at Tulane
PROJECTED RECORD: 4-7 / 3-5
BOTTOM LINE: After dominating the MAC for several seasons, the Herd fell back in the pack in recent years. A move to CUSA won't make their title hopes any brighter, especially with just a half-dozen returning starters.

SCS.com RICE
Last Season: 3-8 / 2-6
Starters Returning: 3 offense, 7 defense
Projected wins: UCF
Projected losses: at UCLA, at TX, at UAB, UTEP, at HOU
Toss-Ups: Navy, at ECU, Tulsa, at SMU, Tulane
PROJECTED RECORD: 3-8 / 3-5
BOTTOM LINE: The Owls hope a league change will provide a spark to the football program that led the nation in rushing a year ago. That team, however, won just three games, and only ten starters are back for 2005.

SCS.com TULSA
Last Season: 4-8 / 3-5
Starters Returning: 5 offense, 7 defense
Projected wins: SMU, ECU
Projected losses: MINN, at OU, at NTX, MEM, HOU, at USM, at UTEP
Toss-Ups: at Rice, at Tulane
PROJECTED RECORD: 3-8 / 3-5
BOTTOM LINE: After a highly-successful 2003 season that ended with a bowl appearance, Tulsa won just four games a season ago. The Hurricane's Ashlan Davis is one of the premier kick returners in America.

SCS.com UCF
Last Season: 0-11 / 0-8
Starters Returning: 8 offense, 8 defense
Projected wins: (none)
Projected losses: at SC, MEM, at USM, HOU, at UAB
Toss-Ups: at USF, MAR, at ULL, Tulane, at ECU, at Rice
PROJECTED RECORD: 3-8 / 2-6
BOTTOM LINE: Coach George O'Leary couldn't have gotten off to a worse start; his first-year squad failed to win a game in 2004. Sixteen starters return from a year ago, but UCF's all-time leading RB must be replaced.

SCS.com EAST CAROLINA
Last Season: 2-9 / 2-6
Starters Returning: 7 offense, 8 defense
Projected wins: (none)
Projected losses: at WF, at WVU, USM, at MEM, UAB
Toss-Ups: Duke, Rice, at SMU, UCF, at Tulsa, at MAR
PROJECTED RECORD: 2-9 / 2-6
BOTTOM LINE: Skip Holtz takes over the controls at East Carolina and will attempt to fare better than predecessor John Thompson. Last year's squad won just a pair of games; doubling that would be great success in 2005.

SCS.com SMU
Last Season: 3-8 / 3-5
Starters Returning: 11 offense, 8 defense
Projected wins: ECU
Projected losses: TCU, at TAMU, at UAB, at HOU, UTEP
Toss-Ups: BAY, Tulane, at MAR, at Tulsa, Rice
PROJECTED RECORD: 2-9 / 2-6
BOTTOM LINE: Coach Phil Bennett has won just six games in three years, which means it's about time to get something done. No excuses this year as nineteen starters, including all eleven on offense, return from 2004.

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FIVE CAN'T MISS GAMES

October 21 Southern Miss at UAB
November 19 UAB at UTEP
September 24 Southern Miss at Houston
November 19 Memphis at Southern Miss
September 16 Houston at UTEP

ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM

OFFENSE
OL Matt Batusic SR UAB
OL Travis Cooley JR Southern Miss
OL Toby Bullock SR Marshall
OL Jeff Perrett JR Tulsa
OL George Batiste JR Southern Miss
RB DeAngelo Williams SR Memphis
RB Uril Parrish SR Tulsa
WR Vincent Marshall SR Houston
WR Jayson Boyd SR UTEP
TE Garrett Mills SR Tulsa
QB Darrell Hackney SR UAB
DEFENSE
DL Larry McSwain JR UAB
DL Marcus West SR Memphis
DL Chris Mineo SR UTEP
DL John Syptak SR Rice
LB Anthony Cannon SR Tulane
LB Chris Moore SR East Carolina
LB Thomas Howard SR UTEP
DB John Eubanks SR Southern Miss
DB Curtis Keyes SR Marshall
DB Wesley Smith SR Memphis
DB Chris Royal SR Marshall
SPECIAL TEAMS
K Stephen Gostkowski SR Memphis
P Chris Beckman JR Tulane
AP Ashlan Davis SR Tulsa

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Photos Courtesy: theindependent.com, uabsports.com, utep.edu, memphis.edu, starbulletin.com, herald-dispatch.com, smumustangs.com, ucfathletics.com, ecupirates.com, ricefootball.net, tulanegreenwave.com

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