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January 23, 2013

2013 C-USA football divisions and schedules are set

Conference USA athletics directors wrapped up a two day schedule of winter meetings on Wednesday. The league leaders and Commissioner Britton Banowsky had a series of discussions regarding the future of the conference, beginning with the realigned membership on July 1, 2013.

"We had extremely productive meetings and we are fortunate to have such a great group," Banowsky said. "Our new members bring added competitive strength, especially in the areas of football and basketball, and we have dramatically increased the size of our television footprint.

"Our Conference generally represents growing institutions, in large markets, who are ambitious and have made significant investments. They are well positioned to be the next generation of great programs. We have tremendous upside potential."

The league will officially welcome FAU and Middle Tennessee as members of Conference USA beginning in 2013. Both teams will exit the Sun Belt Conference one year earlier than initially announced and will be eligible to compete in all C-USA sports.

Conference USA will have 14 members compete in football and 16 members for its other 19 sports during the 2013-14 athletic season.

C-USA has television agreements with Fox Sports Networks and CBS Sports Network, and ESPN will continue to carry the C-USA Football Championship. C-USA membership will include institutions in 12 of the Top 65 television markets, eight in the Top 40 and four in the Top 25 media markets according to Nielson.

C-USA home markets next year will include a little more than 14.5 million TV households, a 43 percent increase to our current 10.1 million homes.

The most anticipated announcement may have been that of the new football divisions and league schedule. The 2013 Conference USA East Division will consist of East Carolina, FAU, FIU, Marshall, Middle Tennessee, Southern Miss and UAB, while the West Division is made up of Louisiana Tech, North Texas, Rice, Tulane, Tulsa, UTEP and UTSA.

The home and away football opponents for 2013 have been determined, and teams will play eight league games using divisions. A single round-robin will be played within divisions with two cross division opponents. Thus, schools play all six teams within their division and two of the teams in the other division, in a one-year rotation.

In 2013, Tulsa will play home games against conference opponents Marshall, North Texas, Rice and UTSA. The Golden Hurricane will go on the road to face East Carolina, Louisiana Tech, Tulane and UTEP.

"We're excited to see the schedule as it lays out home and away," said Tulsa Head Coach Bill Blankenship. "There are some familiar teams that we know will be challenging. East Carolina has certainly been a shootout the last several times we've played them, and add to that the continuing tradition of playing Marshall, UTEP, Rice and Tulane.

"Louisiana Tech is coming off of a great year last season and that will be a tough test for us on the road. We're also looking forward to playing Coach (Larry) Coker's UTSA team and Coach (Dan ) McCarney's team at North Texas. It will be a challenge, but we look forward to defending our Conference USA Championship."

Here is the full league schedule for 2013:

HOME - FAU, Southern Miss, Tulsa, UAB
AWAY - at FIU, at Marshall, at Middle Tennessee, at Tulane

HOME - FIU, Marshall Middle Tennessee, Tulane
AWAY - at East Carolina, at Rice, at Southern Miss, at UAB

HOME - East Carolina, Louisiana Tech, Marshall, UAB
AWAY - at FAU, at Middle Tennessee, at Southern Miss, at UTEP

HOME - North Texas, Southern Miss, Tulane, Tulsa
AWAY - at FIU, at Rice, at UTEP, at UTSA

HOME - East Carolina, Southern Miss, UAB, UTSA
AWAY - at FAU, at FIU, at Middle Tennessee, at Tulsa

HOME - East Carolina, FIU, Marshall, UTEP
AWAY - at FAU, at North Texas, at Southern Miss, at UAB

HOME - Middle Tennessee, Rice, UTEP, UTSA
AWAY - at Louisiana Tech, at Southern Miss, at Tulane, at Tulsa

HOME - FAU, Louisiana Tech, Tulane, UTEP
AWAY - at North Texas, at Tulsa, at UAB, at UTSA

HOME - FAU, FIU, Middle Tennessee, North Texas
AWAY - at East Carolina, at Louisiana Tech, at Marshall, at UAB

HOME - East Carolina, North Texas, Tulsa, UTEP
AWAY - at FAU, at Louisiana Tech, at Rice, at UTSA

HOME - Marshall, North Texas, Rice, UTSA
AWAY - at East Carolina, at Louisiana Tech, at Tulane, at UTEP

HOME - FAU, Middle Tennessee, Rice, Southern Miss
AWAY - at East Carolina, at FIU, at Marshall, at UTSA

HOME - FIU, Louisiana Tech, Tulsa, UTSA
AWAY - at Middle Tennessee, at North Texas, at Rice, at Tulane

HOME - Louisiana Tech, Rice, Tulane, UAB
AWAY - at Marshall, at North Texas, at Tulsa, at UTEP

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