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Kickoff Countdown: 2013 Bold Predictons

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East Carolina quarterback Shane Carden and the Pirates' offense will hang some big numbers this season. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images.
East Carolina quarterback Shane Carden and the Pirates' offense will hang some big numbers this season. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images.

The Picks

Division Champs: Eastern Carolina (East), Tulsa (West)
Conference Champ: Tulsa
Top Heisman Candidate: Rakeem Cato, QB, Marshall
Offensive Player Of The Year: Shane Carden, QB, East Carolina
Defensive Player Of The Year: Phillip Gaines, CB, Rice
Coach Of The Year: Ruffin McNeill
Biggest Upset: Bowling Green over Tulsa
Emerging Star: Darrin Reaves, RB, UAB
Game Of The Year: Tulsa at East Carolina
Biggest Disappointment: Florida Atlantic
Coach On The Hottest Seat: Carl Pelini, Florida Atlantic (Note: all C-USA coaches are in good standing. Pelini is really the only coach you can classify in this category due to longevity at his current job.)

A Six Pack Of Bold C-USA Predictions

1. UAB, with team chemistry, offensive talent and Garrick McGee's confidence, will have the Blazers bowling for the second time in school history.  

2. Southern Miss will contend for a bowl game after going winless in 2011. The late-season game at UAB will be crucial if the Golden Eagles want to go bowling.  

3. Tulsa will have a tough first game on the road against Bowling Green. The Golden Hurricane are a four-point underdog for a reason. ESPNU should have an upset alert game Thursday night. Stay tuned and do not be surprised if Tulsa starts out 0-1 and then wins the conference.  

4. Cairo Santos will win back-to-back Lou Groza Awards, but watch out for UAB's Ty Long, an emerging kicker nationally.

5. Marshall has a tougher schedule, but ECU wins the East even with a loss head-to-head with the Thundering Herd.

6. ECU will win the regular-season battle against Tulsa, but look for Tulsa to win the rematch game because that is what Tulsa and Bill Blankenship are equipped to do.  

Bonus: Cato and Carden combine for more than 8,000 passing yards.

Compiled by C-USA Editor Veair Green.