Florida Atlantic is the league champion and absolutely put on a show in the bowl game. While the rest of the league was mediocre on the national stage — North Texas and UAB disappointed — the league’s most prominent national story is Lane Kiffin.
Living and dying on the Lane Train is not ideal for the league, but right now the Kiffin story has only been positive. He took his team on an incredible run of 10-straight wins (six of those in the friendly confines of Boca Raton) and coached up some record-setting offenses.
Entering next season — a long way away to be sure — Lane Kiffin will be the highlight of CUSA. Last year’s CUSA Kickoff was all about Kiffin and to a lesser extent, Butch Davis. In any other season the conversation would be around Butch Davis and Seth LIttrell but the Kiffin sheen outshines all.
It is deserved. While every team that was bested by Kiffin’s FAU juggernaut has less-than-good feelings about the Owls, the rest of the conference can be thankful that the league’s champion was too scary for some teams in the Boca Raton Bowl. Rumors were that two teams turned down the bowl after finding out their opponent would be FAU. Akron was the only taker and they were obliterated easily.
On Mean Green Nation, I’ve posited that the next step for this league is for the four or five best CUSA teams to beat the winnable non-conference games on their slates. FAU certainly seems poised to do that now, as opposed to early in the season when the roster of transfers had not quite gelled with the new coaching staff.
Next season the expectation is that Lane Kiffin and his new 10-year contract will extend the on-field distraction to the other leagues. Then again, maybe the offseason will allow the rest of college football to catch up a little.