TU football to battle new conference members

Conference USA announced today the Football Divisions for the 2013 conference season as well as home and away games for each league school for the upcoming football campaign.

The 2013 Conference USA East Division will consist of East Carolina, FAU, FIU, Marshall, Middle Tennessee, Southern Miss and UAB. The West Division is made up of Louisiana Tech, North Texas, Rice, Tulane, Tulsa, UTEP and UTSA.

Institutions will play eight Conference 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.

Tulsa, the defending Conference USA Champions, will play C-USA home contests against Marshall, North Texas, Rice and UTSA and road contests at East Carolina, Louisiana Tech, Tulane and UTEP. Dates of the games have not been announced.

Tulsa plays four league schools that were on the schedule a year ago – Marshall, Rice, Tulane and UTEP – while adding East Carolina and conference newcomers Louisiana Tech, North Texas and UTSA. East Carolina posted an overall 8-5 record and finished 7-1 in the C-USA East Division, while Louisiana Tech finished with an overall 9-3 mark and UTSA with an overall 8-4 record, both as members of the Western Athletic Conference. North Texas finished with a 4-8 record last season as a member of the Sun Belt Conference.

“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.”

The six-game 2013 home season for Tulsa features Colorado State, Iowa State, Marshall, North Texas, Rice and UTSA.

The Hurricane will open the season with four consecutive non-conference games, including the season opener at Bowling Green (8-5 record last year) on August 31st. Tulsa will open the home season on September 7th against Colorado State (4-8) before a trip down the turnpike to face the Oklahoma Sooners (10-3) a week later on Sept. 14th.

A rematch of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl between Tulsa and Iowa State (6-7) takes place at H.A. Chapman Stadium on Sept. 21st. Tulsa claimed a 31-17 victory against the Cyclones at the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, avenging a season-opening 38-23 loss in Ames against Iowa State.

Coming off an 11-3 record, the Hurricane will face a total of five teams that participated in bowl games in 2012 including Bowling Green (Military Bowl), Oklahoma (Cotton Bowl), Iowa State (Liberty Bowl), Rice (Armed Forces Bowl) and East Carolina (New Orleans Bowl).