Conference USA

C-USA Bowl Projections: FAU’s Lane Kiffin, FIU’s Butch Davis make rebuilds look easy

FIU quarterback Alex McGough (12) makes a throw against Marshall during a game on Oct. 28 at Joan C. Edwards Stadium in Huntington, W.Va.
FIU quarterback Alex McGough (12) makes a throw against Marshall during a game on Oct. 28 at Joan C. Edwards Stadium in Huntington, W.Va. Associated Press

The Shula Bowl may very well decide the Conference USA East this season with FAU and FIU suddenly on the rise.

FAU (5-3, 4-0) and FIU (5-2, 3-1) meet on Nov. 18 in Boca Raton for a game that should draw more buzz than just about anybody anticipated before the season. Both FAU's Lane Kiffin and Butch Davis of FIU entered major rebuilding projects in their first season at their respective schools, but they've made it look easy so far in C-USA.

There is some significant reshuffling among the bowl bids with Marshall, Southern Miss and Western Kentucky coming off losses:

▪  Gildan New Mexico Bowl (Dec. 16) — Marshall (6-2) vs. Colorado State (6-3) — Marshall seemed destined for a bowl game in Florida until FIU made the trip to Huntigton this past Saturday.

▪  R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl (Dec. 16) — UAB (5-3) vs. Arkansas State (5-2) — This isn't too bad of a trip for the Blazers. They seem almost certain land a bowl bid with Rice and UTEP still on the schedule.

▪  Boca Raton Bowl (Dec. 19) — FIU (5-2) vs. Central Michigan (4-4) — The Panthers thumped Marshall 41-30 last week and have some very winnable games down the stretch against Old Dominion and UMass.

▪  Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl (Dec. 21) — FAU (5-3) vs. South Florida (7-1) — If USF does land here, it makes sense for the C-USA champion to head to St. Petersburg.

▪  Bahamas Bowl (Dec. 22) — Southern Miss (5-3) vs. Western Michigan (5-3) — Southern Miss really put a dent in its postseason prospects by losing 30-12 to UAB last week.

▪  Armed Forces Bowl (Dec. 23) — UTSA (5-2) vs. Army (6-2) — If this match-up does happen, it should make for a good game.

▪  Independence Bowl (Dec. 27) — North Texas (5-3) vs. Virginia (5-2) — A North Texas title in the C-USA West seems likely at the moment.

Patrick Magee: 228-896-2333, @Patrick_Magee

C-USA Power Rankings

1. FAU (5-3, 4-0)

2. Marshall (6-2, 3-1)

3. North Texas (5-3, 4-1)

4. UAB (5-3, 3-2)

5. FIU (5-2, 3-1)

6. Southern Miss (5-3, 3-2)

7. UTSA (5-2, 2-2)

8. WKU (5-3, 3-2)

9. La. Tech (4-4, 2-2)

10. MTSU (3-5, 1-3)

11. Old Dominion (2-6, 0-4)

12. Charlotte (1-7, 1-3)

13. Rice (1-7, 1-3)

14. UTEP (0-8, 0-4)

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