Conference USA will move forward with a 13-member format in 2015 following the loss of UAB football. Conference USA’s latest schedule also confirms Charlotte will be taking up residence in the East, although this was never really in doubt. Charlotte is playing its first season at the FBS level and in Conference USA in 2015.
With 13 members, Conference USA will field seven schools in the East and the other six in the west. The East will consist of Charlotte, FIU, Florida Atlantic, defending conference champion Marshall, Middle Tennessee, Old Dominion and Western Kentucky. Louisiana Tech, North Texas, Rice, Southern Mississippi, UTEP and UTSA will play in the West. As mapped out by Conference USA, each school in the West will play each team in the West and three cross-over games against the East. Three schools in the East will play every team in the East and two cross-over games. Four schools will play only five of the East Division teams and three cross-over games. There will be no game between Charlotte and Western Kentucky and no game between Middle Tennessee and Old Dominion. This was chosen at random by a computer program, according to the Conference USA release.
Conference USA is also changing the length of the conference schedule in 2015. This year Conference USA will use a 13-week conference schedule with each school receiving one bye week. The previous two seasons have used a 14-week schedule with two bye weeks for each school. The schedule will conclude with the Conference USA Championship Game on December 5. The game will be aired by either ESPN or ESPN 2.
It should be noted Conference USA has noted this schedule format will be a one-year model. This leaves room for change in the event the conference adds another member in 2016 or sees the return of UAB football after a year off. There are a lot of moving parts in this situation, and Conference USA is wise to avoid committing to a long-term scheduling format at this time with so much unknown at the moment.
UPDATE (3:03 p.m.) – To clarify, FBSchedules.com offers a reminder the length of the conference schedule is based on the calendar.
@KevinOnCFB One bye week is based on calendar, not a decision or change made by C-USA. All FBS has 1 bye until 2019.
— FBSchedules.com (@FBSchedules) February 2, 2015
Some notable games on the 2015 Conference USA schedule, including some non-conference match-ups:
September 3: Charlotte at Georgia State (Charlotte’s first FBS game)
September 5: FIU at UCF, Purdue at Marshall, WKU at Vanderbilt
September 12: FIU at Indiana, Marshall at Ohio, North Texas at SMU, Kansas State at UTSA
September 19: Louisiana Tech at Kansas State, N.C. State at Old Dominion, UTSA at Oklahoma State, WKU at Indiana
September 26: Marshall at Kent State, Colorado State at UTSA, Miami OH at WKU
October 3: Temple at Charlotte, Old Dominion at Marshall, Vanderbilt at Middle Tennessee
October 10: Louisiana Tech at UTSA, Middle Tennessee at WKU
October 17: Marshall at Florida Atlantic
October 24: WKU at LSU, Middle Tennessee at Louisiana Tech
October 31: FIU at Florida Atlantic
November 7: Florida Atlantic at WKU, Marshall at Middle Tennessee
November 14: Middle Tennessee at Florida Atlantic, FIU at Marshall
November 21: Florida Atlantic at Florida, Rice at UTSA
November 28: Marshall at WKU