BOCA RATON, Fla. — Florida Atlantic has been picked to finish second in the Conference USA East Division standings in 2021.
A panel of media members who cover C-USA schools on Monday selected Marshall and UAB to win their divisions and meet in a rematch of last season's championship game.
FAU received six first-place votes to Marshall's 17 in the East Division predicted order of finish, while UAB garnered 15 first-place votes as the favorite to finish atop the West Division.
UAB defeated Marshall 22-13 to claim the C-USA title last season.
The Owls return 21 starters from a team that overcame a slew of cancellations and postponements amid the coronavirus pandemic to finish 5-4 and 4-2 in C-USA play.
Head coach Willie Taggart returns for his second season at FAU, which played in its third bowl game in four years. But both sides of the ball will be adjusting to new coordinators after the departures of Clint Trickett (co-offensive coordinator), who became wide receivers coach at Marshall, and Jim Leavitt (defensive coordinator), who left for the same position at Southern Methodist.
Filling their shoes are offensive coordinator Michael Johnson, whose son is competing for the starting quarterback job, and defensive coordinator Mike Stoops, who spent the last two seasons as an analyst at Alabama.
The Owls open their season Sept. 4 at Florida.
2021 C-USA PROJECTED ORDER OF FINISH
- Marshall (17)
- FAU (6)
- Western Kentucky (1)
- Middle Tennessee
- Old Dominion
- UAB (15)
- UTSA (9)
- Louisiana Tech
- Southern Miss
- North Texas