Conference USA athletics directors wrapped up two days of Winter Meetings on Wednesday and came away with divisions for football, home and away opponents for the 2013 football season, while officially recognizing the upgrade in television markets for the 2013-14 campaign.
For the upcoming football season, Middle Tennessee will be in the East Division along with East Carolina, FAU, FIU, Marshall, Southern Miss, and UAB. The West Division will be made up of Louisiana Tech, North Texas, Rice, Tulane, Tulsa, UTEP, and UTSA.
In 2013, the Blue Raiders will play conference football games against East Carolina, FIU, Marshall and UTEP, while going on the road to face FAU, North Texas, Southern Miss and UAB. MT will be facing ECU and UTEP for the first time in school history.
"What a tremendous home schedule this will be for our fans," said Director of Athletics Chris Massaro. "We have three iconic brands in Conference USA, along with an old friend in FIU, coming to Floyd Stadium. It will also be a lot of fun going on the road to UAB, Southern Miss, North Texas and FAU because they are all great trips. This is a schedule I know our fans will be eager to support."
Institutions will play eight conference football games using divisions. A single round-robin will be played within divisions with two cross division opponents. The Conference schedule is based on two seven team divisions, with institutions playing all (6) teams within the division and two of the teams in the other division, in a one-year rotation.
On the basketball side, there will be a 16-game schedule for 2013-14 with each school playing every team in the league once and a geographic opponent twice (no divisions). Middle Tennessee's home and away opponent will be UAB. The 2014 C-USA men's and women's basketball tournaments will take place at UTEP.
The meetings also saw the release of updated league TV market information. Starting next year, C-USA home markets will include more than 14.5 million TV households, an increase of 43% over the current 10.1 million homes. Conference USA has television agreements with Fox Sports Networks and CBS Sports Network, and ESPN will continue to carry the C-USA Football Championship. As one of the largest BCS conferences in 2013, 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.
"We had extremely productive meetings and we are fortunate to have such a great group," C-USA Commissioner Britton 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, which are ambitious and have made significant investments. They are well positioned to be the next generation of great programs. We have tremendous upside potential."
2013 Football Schedule:
Home: Western Carolina, Memphis, East Carolina, FIU, Marshall, UTEP
Away: North Carolina, BYU, FAU, North Texas, Southern Miss, UAB