College Football Rankings, Season Predictions: Conference USA Spring Version 2022

·9 min read

Conference USA college football rankings and predictions with the realistic best and worst case records and quick analysis – the 2022 spring version.

It’s a new world for Conference USA with the loss of Marshall, Old Dominion, and Southern Miss over to the Sun Belt. There are still plenty of good teams still around, but the league is hanging on through the expansion process.

Can 2021’s star teams keep it all going? UTSA and WKU won’t be quite as good, UAB should be strong, and UTEP might just keep on stunning.

If Florida Atlantic can rise up after a down season, and if North Texas and Middle Tennessee can be bowl-worthy again, it should be a fun run.

The rankings are based on how good the teams should be and not the final projected records. Keeping in mind that this all could/might/will change when we make the final calls in August …

2022 College Football Schedules By Teams: All 131 Schools

UAB Blazers

2020: 6-3 2019: 9-5 2018: 11-3

There’s work to do on the defensive front and the offensive line needs a little retooling and has to develop the depth, but the skill spots are strong – in comes QB Jacob Zeno from Baylor to fight for the gig – and the defensive back eight should be solid. This might not be the team it was last year, but the program has been consistent enough to keep the success going no matter what.

The schedule isn’t bad with only the trip to LSU appearing to be the one sure loss. With so many of the key Conference USA teams moving to the Sun Belt, the conference slate is a whole lot easier. It helps to get UTSA at home, but going to Florida Atlantic, WKU, and Louisiana Tech will be a problem.

Realistic Best Case Record: 10-2
Realistic Worst Case Record: 6-6
2022 UAB Prediction, Spring Football Version: 8-4
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 8-4
UAB 2021 Final Record: 9-4
UAB 2022 Schedule

Florida Atlantic Owls

2020: 5-4 2019: 11-3 2018: 5-7

Willie Taggart couldn’t get his team a winning season last year, and now he has to boost up the receiving corps and get more out of the defensive back seven. However, a few nice transfers are coming in and the offensive backfield is strong.

This might not be the sort of dominant team from the Lane Kiffin era, but the wins should be there to at least get to a bowl game. As long as the Owls take care of home, they should be fine – several of the conference road dates are winnable, including a trip down the road to FIU.

Realistic Best Case Record: 10-2
Realistic Worst Case Record: 5-7
2022 Florida Atlantic Prediction, Spring Football Version: 8-4
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 7-5
Florida Atlantic 2021 Final Record: 5-7
Florida Atlantic 2022 Schedule

WKU Hilltoppers

2020: 5-7 2019: 9-4 2018: 3-9

Can West Virginia transfer Jarret Doege keep it high-octane passing game going? A slew of the parts are gone from last year’s fun both from the field and in the coaching staff, and the defense has almost as many changes and concerns. The O line, though, should be a plus, and the secondary will be fine early on.

There are two good tune-ups with Austin Peay and at Hawaii before getting a week off. Throw in a few other manageable early dates and the Hilltoppers should be able to pile up a few nice wins. This might not be the monster team or year like the 2021 version, and with a 13-game schedule it’ll likely take seven wins to secure a spot.

Realistic Best Case Record: 9-4
Realistic Worst Case Record: 5-8
2022 WKU Prediction, Spring Football Version: 7-6
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 6-6
WKU 2021 Final Record: 9-5
WKU 2022 Schedule

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs

2018: 8-5 2019: 10-3 2020: 5-5

Get ready to have some fun. New head coach Sonny Cumbie is going to win the ball all over the yard. He needs to decide on a quarterback – if one doesn’t come in through the transfer portal – but the receivers are good enough to make this go. The defense is a bigger problem with the back seven almost totally going through a do-over.

The schedule starts tough – road games at Missouri, Clemson, and South Alabama in September – but the Conference USA slate isn’t all that bad with UAB at home. The problem? Four road games in the final seven games to go along with that rough beginning.

Realistic Best Case Record: 9-3
Realistic Worst Case Record: 4-8
2022 Louisiana Tech Prediction, Spring Football Version: 6-6
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 7-5
Louisiana Tech 2021 Final Record: 3-9
Louisiana Tech 2022 Schedule

UTSA Roadrunners

2020: 7-5 2019: 4-8 2018: 3-9

There’s a whole lot of work to do to beef up the team to get back to the Conference USA championship level of 2021. The defense loses six starters – including star CB Tariq Woolen – and not having RB Sincere McCormick around is a big deal. The O line needs some retooling, too.

There’s no time to warm up with Houston, at Army, and at Texas to start the season. There’s time to get to six wins thanks to the lighter conference schedule, but going to UAB and Middle Tennessee will be fights.

Realistic Best Case Record: 9-3
Realistic Worst Case Record: 5-7
2022 UTSA Prediction, Spring Football Version: 7-5
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 5-7
UTSA 2021 Final Record: 12-2
UTSA 2022 Schedule

Charlotte 49ers

2020: 2-4 2019: 7-6 2018: 5-7

The 49ers should have one their best offenses in years with a veteran backfield working behind a strong line. Defensively, the secondary comes back solid and the line will be fine, but the linebacking corps could use a boost – getting Amir Siddiq from Central Michigan should help.

There are just enough 50/50 games to make a push for a bowl game with most of the big conference games at home. It all starts out at Florida Atlantic – a must win and a tone-setter before dealing with a tough September. With the talent returning, be disappointed if this is a losing season.

Realistic Best Case Record: 9-3
Realistic Worst Case Record: 4-8
2022 Charlotte Prediction, Spring Football Version: 6-6
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 4-8
Charlotte 2021 Final Record: 5-7
Charlotte 2022 Schedule

Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

2020: 3-6 2019: 4-8 2018: 8-6

The Blue Raiders still have work to do. The offense has playmakers at receiver to go along with a deep group of quarterbacks, but the line needs to crank up the depth. The defense also returns experienced, but losing mainstays Reed Blankenship at safety and LB DQ Thomas is a problem.

A nice surprise last season, Middle Tennessee will have to fight a bit with a slew of tough road games and with battles at home against UTSA, WKU, and Florida Atlantic. It’ll win its share of battles, but should come up just short of the 2021 success.

Realistic Best Case Record: 8-4
Realistic Worst Case Record: 4-8
2022 Middle Tennessee Prediction, Spring Football Version: 5-7
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 5-7
Middle Tennessee 2021 Final Record: 7-6
Middle Tennessee 2022 Schedule

North Texas Mean Green

2020: 4-6 2019: 4-8 2018: 9-4

The overall depth is bit lacking, but the offense has excellent parts and should be more consistent. The defensive front is the biggest concern – it would be a big plus to find a few more options from the transfer portal – but the back eight should have a solid starting core.

The schedule isn’t bad – there aren’t any Power Five teams to face – but all the road games will be fights, including the dates at UTEP and UNLV. Owning home field is a must with several of the toughest games in Denton.

Realistic Best Case Record: 8-4
Realistic Worst Case Record: 4-8
2022 North Texas Prediction, Spring Football Version: 5-7
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 3-9
North Texas 2021 Final Record: 6-7
North Texas 2022 Schedule

UTEP Miners

2020: 3-5 2019: 1-11 2018: 1-11

Can the amazing breakthrough success of last year continue? Transfers are coming in to help the cause in the secondary, the defensive front should be okay, and the offense will be about as strong as it was last year as long as the left side of the line can be settled.

There aren’t quite enough easy wins to assume the team can get back to 2021’s success, but the team isn’t going to go back to being a total disaster. There will be enough wins to get in range for a bowl game, but the Miners won’t be able to push past UTSA on the road in the regular season finale to get there.

Realistic Best Case Record: 7-5
Realistic Worst Case Record: 3-9
2022 UTEP Prediction, Spring Football Version: 5-7
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 2-10
UTEP 2021 Final Record: 7-6
UTEP 2022 Schedule

FIU Golden Panthers

2020: 0-5 2019: 6-7 2018: 9-4

There’s a whole lot happening with the Golden Panthers, starting with new head coach Mike MacIntyre trying to change around the offense, and continue with a defense that has to replace just about everyone. There hasn’t been enough from the transfer portal and both sides of the ball will be a long work in progress.

Where are the wins to bounce back fast? It’ll be a young team that needs to start hot against Bryant and at Texas State. With New Mexico State and UConn both winnable, this might be a better season than most will predict.

Realistic Best Case Record: 6-6
Realistic Worst Case Record: 2-10
2022 FIU Prediction, Spring Football Version: 3-9
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 5-7
FIU 2021 Final Record: 1-11
FIU 2022 Schedule

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