Which teams are most likely to end long conference title droughts?

Jourdan Lewis is part of what is expected to be another tough Michigan defense in 2016. Lon Horwedel/Icon Sportswire

As we near the start of the college football season, our preseason FPI helps forecast the hierarchy in the 10 FBS conferences.

Some favorites are familiar. Teams such as Oklahoma (Big 12), Florida State (ACC), Houston (American) and Boise State (Mountain West) have all won a conference title in the past two seasons.

But elsewhere, FPI projects a few teams to end long conference title droughts.

Big Ten

FPI favorite: Michigan (36 percent chance)

Drought: 11 years

Last conference title: 2004 Big Ten co-championship (last outright title was in 2003)

* Notable: Michigan has gone 11 seasons without a Big Ten title, tied for its second-longest drought since it joined the conference in 1896 (behind a 13-season dry spell from 1951 to 1963). The last time the Wolverines won a conference title, in 2004, Jim Harbaugh was the quarterback coach for the Oakland Raiders.

* Schedule quirk: Michigan will face Michigan State and Ohio State on the road in 2016. No team has beaten both the Spartans and the Buckeyes on the road in the same season in more than 50 years (Michigan in 1964).


FPI favorite: UCLA (29 percent chance)

Drought: 17 years

Last conference title: 1998 Pac-10 (outright)

* Notable: UCLA has made two trips to the Pac-12 Championship Game (losing in 2011 and 2012), but the Bruins are looking for their first conference title since 1998, when Cade McNown was quarterback. This season’s team returns a strong quarterback of its own in 2015 Pac-12 Offensive Rookie of the Year Josh Rosen.

* Schedule quirk: The Bruins avoid Oregon and Washington during the regular season and will play host to Stanford and USC at the Rose Bowl. UCLA hasn’t swept the Cardinal and Trojans in a season since 2006.


FPI favorite: Western Michigan (34 percent chance)

Drought: 27 years

Last conference title: 1988 MAC (outright)

* Notable: Western Michigan has posted consecutive eight-win seasons for the first time in program history and secured its first bowl win at the 2015 Bahamas Bowl. This season, the Broncos return quarterback Zach Terrell as well as two former 1,000-yard running backs in Jarvion Franklin and Jamauri Bogan.

* Schedule quirk: Western Michigan will face Northern Illinois and Toledo at home in 2016. That’s good news, as Northern Illinois has won six consecutive MAC West titles and Toledo spent a conference-high six weeks in The Associated Press Poll last season.