The Stallions (8-2) and the Breakers (7-3) have the league’s two best offenses, the league’s two best records, and the league’s two best quarterbacks. They've been tearing themselves up to get to this point. And now they'll meet on Sunday in the USFL South Division Championship (7 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app) in Birmingham, looking to settle just who runs this town.
With a win, the Stallions would not only secure the South Division Championship for a second consecutive year, but they'd also reach 20 wins in their first 24 games — including the postseason — since the league’s return in April 2022.
The Breakers reached the South Division title game last season, too, but fell short in Canton, Ohio. With the South being decided at the USFL people’s capital city, Dave the Wave is hoping for a swell for his Breakers to ride into the USFL title game.
At quarterback for the Stallions, Alex McGough has become one of the most thrilling and dynamic players in a USFL that enjoyed one of the most competitive seasons in its history.
The offense is built entirely on his skill set, which includes being one of the league’s most prolific passers and one of its most prolific rushers. He ranks inside the top five in passing and rushing, and first in points.
His 20 TD passes thrown and 7.9 yards per pass attempt rank No. 1 in the league.
McGough is adept at extending plays to find a talented receiving corps that includes All-USFL tight end Jace Sternberger and wideouts Deon Cain and Davion Davis. In the backfield, former Coastal Carolina running back CJ Marable has made his presence known, offering a bit of balance to McGough.
It all adds up to the league’s top-scoring offense (287).
The Stallions have never lost on the road — every one of their three losses has taken place at Protective Stadium. The Breakers are not only one of just two teams to defeat the Stallions this season but scored 45 on Birmingham in Birmingham — a hub city the teams share — in Week 3.
In perhaps the best win of the season for Breakers coach John DeFilippo, New Orleans put up 483 yards of offense, including 283 through the air from quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson and 191 on the ground from All-USFL running back Wes Hills.
While the Stallions evened the season series with a 24-20 win in Week 7, the Breakers will feel good about the prospect of knocking off the defending champions with a head coach and quarterback who both know how to win in the playoffs.
Couple that with the knowledge that Bethel-Thompson led the Toronto Argonauts to the CFL title last November and could be the first player in the modern era to win a USFL and CFL title in the same calendar year, and you can see a recipe for football alchemy in the Magic City.
RJ Young is a national college football writer and analyst for FOX Sports and the host of the podcast "The Number One College Football Show." Follow him on Twitter at @RJ_Young and subscribe to "The Number One College Football Show" on YouTube.