So now that a good part of the season is over (and UNT has a bye), it might be a good moment to look at what goes on in conference USA.:
With all the realignment shifts people had been talking about how the new C-USA is essentially just a new version of the Sun Belt, and that the new teams would be taking a step up in competition, while the best teams were leaving the conference. Has this really been the case? How are all those new teams faring as a group against their new competition? and how are those teams that are leaving doing?
One could look at computer rankings to settle this question. But there is an easier and more fun measure: how do the teams fare against each other on the field?
Here are the current numbers of Newbies (UNT, La. tech, UTSA, FIU, FAU and MTSU) against Remainders (Marshall, UAB, Southern Miss, Rice and UTEP) and Quitters (Tulane, ECU and Tulsa).
Newbies Overall: 19-15
Remainders overall: 6-13
Quitters overall: 10-7
Newbies vs Quitters: 3-5
Newbies vs Remianders: 11-5
Quitters vs Remianders: 2-1
Newbies vs Non-Newbies: 14-10
Remainders vs Non-Remainders: 6-13
Quitters vs Non-Quitters: 7:4
So what to make of this?
Well first of, the Newbies are holding their ground as group pretty well. In fact they have a winning record against the teams that are no longer in the league, suggesting that they are not holding the product back too much (exceptions can be made of course).
That said, they are still behind the Quitters who indeed do have the best records (although their n is small, as they are only 3 teams). That said, Tulsa will certainly not leave the league on a high note, and all of those teams are still having to play some of the tougher remainder teams (ECU has to go to Marshall, Tulane plays at Rice). So indeed the teams that are leaving are looking good, but not outlandishly so.
It is the Remainders who look bad. Apart from Rice and Marshall they are quite a sorry bunch. Sure this may be coincidence, as Southern Miss and UTEP both have new coaches. As a group, it still looks like those remaining teams will be rather rapidly overtaken by a good portion of those new teams.
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