LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The Western Kentucky football program has marched into Conference USA and treated it as if was the Conference 270.

Coach Jeff Brohm’s team won all eight regular-season league games in 2015, handled Southern Miss in the C-USA title game and added a victory over Vanderbilt, too.

Take another look at the final Associated Press Top 25. You’ll see WKU ranked 24th, just ahead of Florida and Georgia.

The Hilltoppers won a dozen games, outscored their opponents by nearly 260 points and outgained them by nearly 190 yards per game.

Don’t expect WKU to dominate from September through December to that degree again. There’s a reasonable chance that last season was the season of a lifetime for WKU, at least this coaching staff.

But most predictions still have the Hilltoppers in the middle of the scrum to win C-USA, even without quarterback Brandon Doughty, because of halfback Ace Wales, receiver Taywan Taylor, a rugged offensive line, an improved defense and dependable kicking game.

Nick Holt returns to run the defense – and WKU added two solid parts in Louisville transfers Keith Brown and Nick Dawson.

What’s the call for Western Kentucky this season?

Here are the season predictions from the WDRB Sports Staff:

KATIE GEORGE:  8-4. WKU has a favorable schedule this season. However, the uncertainty at quarterback makes this prediction somewhat of a toss-

TOM LANE:  8-4. Toppers settle quarterback issues and have enough help back to post eight wins after record-breaking season.

MIKE LACETT: 8-4. Life without Brandon Doughty is going to hard at first, but they still have a lot of talent.

JOHN LEWIS: 8-4. The Hilltoppers have their share of passing game questions with the departure of Brandon Doughty and Tyler Higbee (among others) but the ground game with a stable of running backs will help Jeff Brohm's team balance out the offense and head back to the post-season for a third straight year.

ERIC CRAWFORD: 8-4. Difficulty of schedule, and of replacing Brandon Doughty, the major obstacles in what should be another successful season.

RICK BOZICH: 8-4. Instead of focusing on what is not there, Jeff Brohm will maximize what is there: The best offensive line in C-USA, a group of solid running backs and a more formidable defense. Add in a winning culture. Smells like eight wins.

Consensus: 8-4.

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