Rather than just doing a C-USA East Primer this year, I thought I'd reflect back on last year first so that I can get a better feel of what is expected from the 6 different members this year. All rankings and records in the writeup are in relation to CUSA East(which explains being ranked 1-6 in categories instead of 1-12) because well, the East is the only division that matters. Keep in mind the team stats are Pre-bowl games. Total Offense: PPG: Total Defense: Pts All: Turn Diff: 2017 CUSA East Final Standings 1. Western Michigan 14-0 - National Champion 5-0 vs the East CUSA East Rankings(between 1-6) Total Offense: 3rd(6th Pass, 1st Rush) PPG: 1st Total Defense: 1st(3rd vs Pass, 1st vs Rush) Pts All: 1st Turn Diff: +27(1st) WMU lived up to the hype by not only winning another CUSA Title, but claiming the top spot in the nation as well. All discussions about CUSA supremacy must start and end with WMU. The Broncos success clearly stemmed from the ability to shut opposing offenses down. While H4Y has been described as a passing league, the champions seemed to take an opposing "run first" approach which lead to first in points per game in the division. 2. Western Kentucky 12-1 Final Ranking: #2 4-1 vs the East CUSA East Rankings(between 1-6) Total Offense: 1st(4th Pass, 3rd Rush) PPG: 2nd Total Defense: 3rd(6th vs Pass, 3rd vs Run) Pts All: 3rd Turn Diff: +11 (2nd) Western Kentucky surprised everyone this year suffering only one loss at the hands of Nik en route to a final AP ranking of #2 in the nation. A key to success for the Hilltoppers was winning the turnover battle, but the strength of the team seemed to be the high powered offense of WKU. With more attention on the running game this year, WKU powered through CUSA defenses at an amazing clip. 3. Kent State 10-3 Final Ranking: #17 2-3 vs the East CUSA East Rankings(between 1-6) Total Offense: 2nd(2nd Pass, 4th Rush) PPG: 3rd Total Defense: 2nd(5th vs Pass, 2nd vs Run) Pts All: 2nd Turn Diff: -5(5th) Kent State had another strong season under Qwon. The Golden Flashes ranked in the top half of the division in virtually every category except for turnover difference. Kent State is known as a strong defensive program, and this year was no exception. The Flashes were 2nd in points allowed and are constantly developing new talent. Freshman DE Ty Holden showed promise as a future HOFer. Unfortunately for Kent State fans, the program continued an ugly trend this year losing to the top CUSA East programs(WMU, Army, WKU). 4. Army 9-4 3-2 vs the East CUSA East Ranking(between 1-6) Total Offense: 4th(3rd Pass, 5th Run) PPG: 4 Total Defense: 4th(2nd vs Pass, 4th vs Run) Pts All: 4th Turn Diff: +5(3rd) What may be considered a very successful season at most programs has to be considered a bit of a disappointment at West Pointe. Army came into the season expected to contend for an East division crown and instead finished in the bottom half of the division. Army's inability to generate a consistent ground game and stop opposing ground games seemed to be the difference. While Army finished in the bottom half of the division in most statistical categories, their ability to take care of the ball and cause more turnovers than their opponents clearly masked other deficiencies. Coach Hammerhead must be proud to have created such a strong program that 9 wins is considered a disappointment. 5. Eastern Michigan 5-7 1-4 vs The East CUSA East Ranking(between 1-6) Total Offense: 5th(5th Pass, 2nd Run) PPG: 5th Total Defense: 6th (4th vs Pass, 5th vs Run) Pts All: 5th Turn Diff: -1(4th) EMU had another tough year as they continued their history of finishing in the bottom half of the division. However, they did manage a conference victory and have to be a little optimistic at the baby steps the program is taking. EMU's sore toe had to be the defense, which surrendered more yards than any other team in the division. The offense wasnt much better, even though they did produce the divisions 2nd best ground game. This year could be looked back on the beginning stages of a program turnaround because of the conference win or it could be remembered as the year of false hope. Only time will tell. 6. Middle Tennessee State 4-8 0-5 vs The East Total Offense: 6th(1st Pass, 6th Rush) PPG: 6th Total Defense:5th(1st vs Pass, 6th vs Run) Pts All: 6th Turn Diff: -16(6th) If 2016 was one step forward, 2017 was two steps back. MTSU was horrible in almost every statistical category. The few categories they did excel in were facades as they lead the league in passing because they were constantly playing catchup, and lead the division in pass defense because opposing offenses were constantly chewing clock. Who knows what to expect from the Blue Raiders in the future, but this year was clearly as bad as it gets. Up Next: Previews for next year.