C-USA win totals: UTSA rising, Louisiana Tech falling
We're coming down to the final lap of our 2021 win totals, now almost halfway through the Group of 5.
Here, we'll cover the Conference USA, led by a program scratching the surface of something special.
2021 C-USA win totals
|Middle Tennessee State||5||+120||-155|
Jeff Traylor was the spark UTSA needed in 2020.
The first-year head coach led the Roadrunners to a 7-5 record, their first winning season since 2013.
There's no shortage of hype surrounding the upstart program. Take a peek at the schedule, and it's certainly warranted.
The Roadrunners don't have to play Marshall or Florida Atlantic in conference play; UAB, Southern Miss, and Rice all have to travel to the Alamodome. Opponents Illinois, UNLV, and UTEP are projected for 7.5 victories ... combined.
The name of the game with Traylor is offense. He's one of the most decorated minds to come out of the state of Texas and has a ledger full of accolades. His Roadrunners won't flirt with any national records, but they're primed to be the conference's cream of the crop.
We saw flashes early on when the Roadrunners posted 37.3 points per game over their first three contests in 2020. They endured a midseason slump before notching north of 40 points per game in the final three regular-season tilts. Traylor's 2021 unit is loaded, with the 12th-most offensive production coming back.
The Roadrunners can take a massive leap in 2021.
You can typically count on Skip Holtz to register a solid year in Ruston. Following a 4-8 campaign in his debut season, he tallied six straight winning seasons alongside a perfect 6-0 record in bowls.
But after going 5-5 in 2020, the program isn't about to rip off another run.
Although a .500 finish wasn't the worst outcome, Louisiana Tech rarely looked competent: the Bulldogs recorded a minus-16.4 scoring margin in nine games against FBS opponents. They beat a Southern Miss team that fired its head coach one game into the season by one point; they escaped UTEP by four despite totaling 210 yards of total offense. Overall, Louisiana Tech was outgained by a full two yards per play, while the offense's 4.0 clip was better than only UMass and Kansas nationally.
Oftentimes, it's a nice change of pace for a program to overhaul a mediocre roster. Louisiana Tech, in this case, was No. 105 in the nation in returning production entering this offseason. The program hasn't recruited well lately, ranking top-four in the C-USA just once over the last four cycles.
The schedule will do an inexperienced club no favors. The Bulldogs draw a brutal non-conference slate, featuring road games at Mississippi State and North Carolina State, and another home tilt against SMU.
The program should throw up its first real dud since the start of the Holtz era.
Alex Kolodziej is a betting writer for theScore. Find him on Twitter @AjKolodziej.