Fifty shades of football: Day 11

(We’re counting down to the first Saturday of college football, now 40 days away.)

Let’s take a minute to ponder Conference USA, which will have its media day presentation on Wednesday in Irving, Texas.

It’s the final C-USA season for Houston, Memphis, SMU and Central Florida, all of which are headed to the Big East next season. Yeah, we don’t get it, either.

Thing is, it appears that Houston and UCF are seen as the favorites to reach the league championship game on the way out the door.

The coach who built Houston into a national power, Kevin Sumlin, is gone to Texas A&M. His replacement, Tony Levine, led the Cougars to a bowl win over a demoralized Penn State squad.

Record-setting QB Case Keenum is gone and the team will be in transition, so that could open the door in the West Division for SMU or maybe Tulsa.

Southern Miss – also with a new head coach and quarterback – will challenge Central Florida in the East. It could come down the Golden Eagles’ Oct. 13 visit to Orlando – where they are 3-0 in previous league games.

The gut feeling here is that a Houston-UCF title game is unlikely.