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Conference USA Championship Game: Staff predictions

Rakeem Cato and Marshall look to pick up a difficult win at Rice. Photo: USA Today Sports

While we have been spending time breaking down the conference championship games for the big boy conferences, we have some thoughts to share on what should be an entertaining Conference USA Championship Game between Rice and Marshall. Rice gets the home field advantage in this year's game but Marshall has one of the top players guiding their offense. This one should be a lot of fun to watch. Here's how we are picking it.

Allen Kenney: The Owls are flying under the radar heading into this game. For a reason. Marshall rolls.

Marshall 52, Rice 28

Andy Coppens: This conference is all about offense, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that two offensive juggernauts meet in the championship game. However, Marshall and Rice were not supposed to be here when the season started. I want to pick Marshall in this one, but traveling to Houston from West Virginia is a bit much and I think the Owls win with a nice home field advantage. Look for Rakeem Cato to break out and this game could be the wildest of the championship games this week.

Rice 41, Marshall 34


Aaron Torres: I’d be lying if I said I had any great insight into either of these two teams, but what I can tell you is this:  Rakeem Cato is really good at this whole “football” thing. And while his 34 touchdowns on the season are impressive, what’s even more impressive is that nearly a third of them (11) have come in the last three games.

Give me the hot quarterback, and the Thundering Herd for the win.

Marshall 38, Rice 21

David Singleton: The 'Herd and the Owls both score in bunches. The Owls are undefeated at home and that winds up being the difference in the end.

Rice 45 Marshall 42

Jonathan Biles: Both teams like to score and play minimal defense so this should be fun.

Rice 49, Marshall 42

Josh Parcell: Rakeem Cato is a baller. Marshall wins in a shootout.

Marshall 49, Rice 35

Kevin Causey: On a neutral field, I would take Marshall to win this game every time. But all of Marshall's losses this year have come on the road (Ohio, VT and MTSU). Rice went 5-0 at home this season while the Thundering Herd went 3-3 on the road.

Rice 38 Marshall 31

Kevin McGuire: Marshall's Rakeem Cato is going to have a big game in this one, but as some have noted already, Marshall has struggled at times on the road this season. Playing at Rice is not going to be a walk through the park for Cato and Marshall's high-flying offense, but I'll roll with them to come up with one more score than the Owls.

Marshall 42, Rice 37

Tom Perry: With so many defections to the former Big East, Conference USA has a new look in its championship. Marshall is playing in its first CUSA title game, but the Herd have won some Division I-AA titles and a few MAC titles. Marshall's offense is potent with junior QB Rakeem Cato, but traveling to Rice is a tough task.

Rice 45, Marshall 42

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Kevin McGuire

About Kevin McGuire

Managing editor of Crystal Ball Run and contributor to College Football Talk on NBCSports.com. Member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. College Football Hall of Fame voter. Also managing Bloguin's NittanyLionsDen.com and Macho-Row.com.

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