Conference USA History
Formed in 1995 upon a merger between the Metro Conference and Great Midwest Conference, Conference USA has served as an NCAA sports conference to many of the southern universities. Conference USA, commonly referred to as C-USA, has twelve members and fields a total of twenty sports among men’s and women’s athletics. Conference USA has undergone a recent makeover, with changes in 2013 regarding several of the conference’s universities. The conference itself has been in discussions with the Mountain West Conference about a potential merger between the two. While the C-USA has not yet established itself as a strong conference in the landscape of college football, its changes in membership and growth of several of its football programs indicate that the Conference USA is developing into a formidable football conference in today’s NCAA.
Conference USA Teams, Structure, and Changes
Conference USA has twelve football teams divided evenly into the East and West divisions. The winners of the two conferences face off in the Conference USA Championship game to decide the conference title. For the 2012 season, the East teams are Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), Central Florida, East Carolina, Marshall, Memphis, and Southern Mississippi, while the West teams are Rice, Houston, Southern Methodist (SMU), University of Texas at El Passo (UTEP), Tulane, and Tulsa. In 2013, the C-USA is set to lose four of its members (Central Florida, Memphis, Houston, and SMU) and gain four new members (Florida International, Louisiana Tech, North Texas, and San Antonio). The equal four-in-four-out move will allow for Conference USA to maintain its divisional structure. The C-USA will also add Old Dominion and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, each of which will begin football in 2015. Tulsa and Houston have been the two most dominant schools in the past several seasons of Conference USA football, with each program winning three respective titles since 2005.
Conference USA Championship
Since the 2005 season, Conference USA’s twelve teams have allowed it to use a divisional structure and bowl game to determine its yearly champ, which was previously decided by regular season record alone. The winners of the East and West conferences face off in the Conference USA Championship game to decide the conference title. The division winner with the best regular season record hosts the C-USA’s title game in early December. In recent years, Houston, Tulsa, East Carolina, and Southern Miss have been the most common participants in the game. Southern Miss has the most conference wins, with five, winning their most recent in 2011.
Conference USA Bowls
The Conference USA has a total of seven bowl tie-ins, allowing its schools a number of potential bowl games at the end of the year. The top bowl pick is the Liberty Bowl, in which the Conference USA Champion faces either an SEC or Big East opponent. The other six bowl games are awarded according to conference finish, and are, in order, the Hawaii, Armed Forces, Beef O’Brady’s, Military, New Orleans, and Ticket City Bowl.
Conference USA Region
The Conference USA is based in the south and is one of the NCAA’s most tightly knit conferences. Marshall (located in West Virginia) is the northern most university. Texas contains the most C-USA schools with four. In the conferences division structure, the East division is entirely located to the East of the Mississippi Rivers and the West division is entirely to its west.
Conference USA Betting
Dozens of in-conference matchups, sevens bowl games, and a range of potential upset games throughout the college football season are just a few of the profitable betting opportunities Conference USA has to offer to serious football gamblers. Prop bets and futures are also available for those with knowledge on specific C-USA players or teams. The shifting dynamic of Conference USA football will open the door for those keeping eye on the conferences rising teams to make money gambling on one of the NCAA’s most intriguing conferences. Many of the C-USA’s underrated teams are likely to result in heavy upsets and large payouts.