Conference USA college football preview, Part 1: Burning questions, favorite players and projections

Conference USA is the ultimate home for transients, a place for programs looking to either move up in life or avoid moving down. It has at least temporarily housed 25 current FBS teams, a number that grows to 48 if non-football and affiliate programs are included.

That number will grow by four when independents Liberty and New Mexico State and FCS powers Sam Houston and Jacksonville State join the football roster in 2023. Of course, they're joining because of who is leaving: Marshall, Old Dominion and Southern Miss just departed for the Sun Belt, and Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, North Texas, Rice, UAB and UTSA will all leave for the AAC next year. From 14 members in 2021, C-USA will have just nine beginning in 2023.

Things are a bit messy at the moment, but 11 teams will still battle for the 2022 C-USA crown. Let's talk about them! Today we will preview the six programs projected at the bottom; next Tuesday we will talk about the top five.

Every week through the offseason, Bill Connelly will preview another division from the Group of 5 and Power 5 exclusively for ESPN+, ultimately including all 131 FBS teams. The previews will include 2021 breakdowns, 2022 previews and burning questions for each team.

Earlier previews: MWC West | MWC Mountain | AAC (Nos. 6-11) | AAC (Nos. 1-5) | MAC East | MAC West | Sun Belt West | Sun Belt East