Conference USA releases 2015 schedule, leaves door open for changes in 2016


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, offers a reminder the length of the conference schedule is based on the calendar.

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

Utah State player upgraded to fair condition after collapse

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Utah State redshirt freshman wide receiver Josh Davis is in fair condition on Friday, one day after collapsing at spring football practice following sudden cardiac arrest, the university announced.

Davis, initially was listed in critical condition, was breathing on his own. He is in the intensive-care unit at McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden, Utah.

Davis’ parents arrived in Utah on Thursday evening.

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Davis, who is from Carlsbad, California, collapsed at Merlin Olsen Field and was immediately treated by the training staff, the university said. He was taken to Logan Regional Hospital.

The university said Davis was stabilized in the Logan hospital before being moved to Ogden.

Alabama suspends freshman defensive back after drug arrest

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama freshman defensive back Tony Mitchell has been suspended from the team following his arrest on a drug charge.

Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said Monday after the first practice of spring that Mitchell was suspended from the team “and all team activities until we gather more information about the situation and what his legal circumstance is.”

The Holmes County Sheriff’s Office arrested Mitchell and another man, Christophere Lewis, last week on a charge of possession of marijuana with the intent to sell or deliver, according to a post on the department’s Facebook page. Lewis also was charged with carrying a concealed gun without a permit.

“Everybody’s got an opportunity to make choices and decisions,” Saban said. “There’s no such thing as being in the wrong place at the wrong time. You’ve gotta be responsible for who you’re with, who you’re around and what you do, who you associate yourself with and the situations that you put yourself in. It is what it is, but there is cause and effect when you make choices and decisions that put you in bad situations.”

Mitchell, who is from Alabaster, Alabama, was a five-star prospect rated the 34th-best player and No. 3 safety in the 247Composite rankings.

Mitchell was driving the vehicle during a traffic stop. After deputies smelled marijuana, Mitchell picked up a baggie of marijuana from the passenger floorboard, according to the department’s Facebook post.

Sheriff’s deputies found “an additional significant amount of marijuana, a set of scales, a loaded handgun between the passenger seat and center console, and a large amount of cash,” according to the department’s Facebook post.