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Coaching status report: Conference USA

The status report series has already hit the ACC, American,Big 12 and Big Ten, and next up is a conference stuffed full of promising young coaches: Conference USA.

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Movin' On Up

Jay Hopson, Southern Miss
Tenure: 12-8, 7-5 C-USA
This year: 5-2, 3-1 C-USA

Seth Littrell, North Texas
Tenure: 9-11, 6-6 C-USA
This year: 4-3, 3-1 C-USA

Mike Sanford, Western Kentucky
Tenure: 5-2, 3-1 C-USA
This year: 5-2, 3-1 C-USA

Frank Wilson, UTSA
Tenure: 10-9, 6-5 C-USA
This year: 4-2, 1-2 C-USA

Each of these coaches are in their first or second years in the big chair, and each has proven he can do the job and do it well. Check back in this space in 2018.

Admit It, He's Better Than You Thought He'd Be

Bill Clark, UAB
Tenure: 10-9, 6-6 C-USA
This year: 4-3, 2-2 C-USA

Clark won six games in his first year at UAB, took two seasons off and may win six games again. Unless the Blazers can win at Southern Miss and UTEP, a bowl trip will come down to beating Rice and UTEP at home. Either way, the point has been proven: this man can recruit, and this man can coach.

Lane Kiffin, Florida Atlantic
Tenure: 4-3, 3-0 C-USA
This year: 4-3, 3-0 C-USA

Many -- most? -- observers wanted Kiffin to fail in Boca Raton. That isn't happening. The Owls have won their C-USA games by 18, 30, and 38 points. FAU will have a chance to claim the East Division championship against Western Kentucky and Marshall in the next two weeks, but even still the Owls should have their first bowl trip since 2008.

The Writing's on the Wall

David Bailiff, Rice
Tenure: 57-75, 40-43 C-USA
This year: 1-6, 1-2 C-USA

Rice showed faith and loyalty in Bailiff last winter by bringing him back after a 3-9 season last fall. Sadly, that faith has gone unrewarded after Rice's 1-6 start, with the one win coming over winless UTEP.