Conference USA Football Championship Game
Conference USA Football Championship logo.png
SportCollege football
ConferenceConference USA
Current stadiumHosted at school site by team with best conference winning percentage
Played2005–present
Last contest2021
Current championUTSA
Most championshipsEast Carolina, Florida Atlantic, Tulsa, UAB, UCF, Western Kentucky (2)
TV partner(s)CBSSN
Official websiteConferenceUSA.com
Sponsors
Dynacraft BSC (2016–17)
Globe Life (2018)
Ryan LLC (2019–present)

The Conference USA Football Championship Game is an annual American football game that has determined the season champion of Conference USA (C-USA) since 2005.

History

The championship game pits the C-USA East Division regular season champion against the West Division regular season champion. It is typically played on the first Saturday of December. The 2018 edition of the game, sponsored by Globe Life, was played on December 1, 2018, and televised by CBSSN. Ryan LLC currently holds sponsorship rights to the game.[1]

Nine of the fourteen current C-USA members have played in the Conference USA Football Championship Game. The overall series between both divisions is led by the East Division, 10–6.

While ten current C-USA members have played in the game, only seven have won: Florida Atlantic, Marshall and Western Kentucky of the current East Division members, and Southern Miss, Rice, UAB and UTSA of the current West Division members.

The C-USA Football Championship Game had been aired on ESPN or its affiliates since 2005, but the 2018 Championship Game was aired on CBSSN.[2]

Blue pog.svg
– East division
Red pog.svg
– West division

Results

Conference USA champions (1996–2004)

Before 2005, each member of the conference played in a round-robin scheduling to determine the champion of the conference. In this time period, Southern Miss won the most titles with four. During this time frame, the winner of the C-USA Championship customarily received a berth to play in the Liberty Bowl against a member of the SEC. If two teams tied for the best conference record, co-champions were declared.

Season Champion(s) Conf.
record
Overall
record
Bowl result
1996 Houston 4–1 7–5 lost Liberty Bowl
Southern Miss 4–1 8–3  
1997 #19 Southern Miss 6–0 9–3 won Liberty Bowl
1998 #7 Tulane 6–0 12–0 won Liberty Bowl
1999 #14 Southern Miss 6–0 9–3 won Liberty Bowl
2000 Louisville 6–1 9–3 lost Liberty Bowl
2001 #17 Louisville 6–1 11–2 won Liberty Bowl
2002 #23 TCU 6–2 11–2 won Liberty Bowl
Cincinnati 6–2 7–7 lost New Orleans Bowl
2003 Southern Miss 8–0 9–4 lost Liberty Bowl
2004 #6 Louisville 8–0 11–1 won Liberty Bowl

Final rankings from AP Poll shown.

Conference USA Championship Game (2005–present)

Below are the results from all Conference USA Football Championship Games played. The winning team appears in bold font, on a background of their primary team color. Rankings are from the AP Poll released prior to the game.

Year West East Site Attendance MVP TV
2005 Tulsa Golden Hurricane 44 UCF Knights 27 Citrus Bowl • (Orlando, Florida) 51,978 TE Garrett Mills, Tulsa ESPN
2006 Houston Cougars 34 Southern Miss Golden Eagles 20 Robertson Stadium • (Houston, Texas) 31,818 WR Vincent Marshall, Houston ESPN2
2007 Tulsa Golden Hurricane 25 UCF Knights 44 Bright House Networks Stadium • (Orlando, Florida) 44,128 RB Kevin Smith, UCF ESPN
2008 Tulsa Golden Hurricane 24 East Carolina Pirates 27 Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium • (Tulsa, Oklahoma) 22,740 CB Travis Simmons, East Carolina ESPN2
2009 #18 Houston Cougars 32 East Carolina Pirates 38 Dowdy–Ficklen Stadium • (Greenville, North Carolina) 33,048 WR Dwayne Harris, East Carolina
2010 SMU Mustangs 7 UCF Knights 17 Bright House Networks Stadium • (Orlando, Florida) 41,045 RB Latavius Murray, UCF
2011 #7 Houston Cougars 28 #24 Southern Miss Golden Eagles 49 Robertson Stadium • (Houston, Texas) 32,413 RB/WR Tracy Lampley, Southern Miss ABC
2012 Tulsa Golden Hurricane 33 UCF Knights 27 Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium • (Tulsa, Oklahoma) 17,635 RB/PR/KR Trey Watts, Tulsa ESPN2
2013 Rice Owls 41 Marshall Thundering Herd 24 Rice Stadium • (Houston, Texas) 20,247 RB Luke Turner, Rice
2014 Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 23 Marshall Thundering Herd 26 Joan C. Edwards Stadium • (Huntington, West Virginia) 23,711 K Justin Haig, Marshall
2015 Southern Miss Golden Eagles 28 WKU Hilltoppers 45 Houchens Industries–L. T. Smith Stadium • (Bowling Green, Kentucky) 16,823 QB Brandon Doughty, WKU
2016 Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 44 WKU Hilltoppers 58 13,213 RB Anthony Wales, WKU ESPN
2017 North Texas Mean Green 17 Florida Atlantic Owls 41 FAU Stadium • (Boca Raton, Florida) 14,258 WR Kalib Woods, Florida Atlantic ESPN2
2018 UAB Blazers 27 Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders 25 Johnny "Red" Floyd Stadium • (Murfreesboro, Tennessee) 15,806 RB Spencer Brown, UAB CBSSN
2019 UAB Blazers 6 Florida Atlantic Owls 49 FAU Stadium • (Boca Raton, Florida) 14,387 WR Deangelo Antoine, Florida Atlantic
2020 UAB Blazers 22 Marshall Thundering Herd 13 Joan C. Edwards Stadium • (Huntington, West Virginia) 8,324 RB Spencer Brown, UAB
2021 UTSA Roadrunners 49 Western Kentucky Hilltoppers 41 Alamodome • (San Antonio, Texas) 41,148 RB Sincere McCormick, UTSA

Results by team

Current members

Appearances School W L Pct Titles Runners-up
3 UAB Blazers 2 1 .666 2018, 2020 2019
3 Western Kentucky Hilltoppers 2 1 .666 2015, 2016 2021
2 Florida Atlantic Owls 2 0 1.000 2017, 2019  
2 Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 0 2 .000   2014, 2016
1 Rice Owls 1 0 1.000 2013  
1 UTSA Roadrunners 1 0 1.000 2021  
1 Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders 0 1 .000   2018
1 North Texas Mean Green 0 1 .000   2017

Former members

Appearances School W L Pct Titles Runners-up
4 Tulsa Golden Hurricane 2 2 .500 2005, 2012 2007, 2008
4 UCF Knights 2 2 .500 2007, 2010 2005, 2012
3 Marshall Thundering Herd 1 2 .333 2014 2013, 2020
3 Southern Miss Golden Eagles 1 2 .333 2011 2006, 2015
3 Houston Cougars 1 2 .333 2006 2009, 2011
2 East Carolina Pirates 2 0 1.000 2008, 2009  
1 SMU Mustangs 0 1 .000   2010

Game location

The team with the best overall conference win percentage will be the team that hosts the championship game. Five venues have hosted two title games—Houston's Robertson Stadium (since demolished, with TDECU Stadium standing at its former site), UCF's Spectrum Stadium (both under its former name of Bright House Networks Stadium), Tulsa's Chapman Stadium, WKU's Houchens Stadium, and Florida Atlantic's FAU Stadium.

In most recent years, Marshall and Rice both finished with 7–1 records in conference play in 2013, and did not play one another in the regular season, the site was chosen based on the BCS rankings at that time on December 1. Although only 25 teams were explicitly ranked, the ranking formula could be used to determine the relative rankings of any two teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Since 2014, when the BCS was replaced with the College Football Playoff rankings (CFP), national rankings have been removed from the tiebreaker process.

As of the 2021 contest, the home team is 12–5 overall in C-USA football championship games.

Game records

Team Record, Team vs. Opponent Year
Most points scored (one team) 58, Western Kentucky vs. Louisiana Tech 2016
Most points scored (losing team) 44, Louisiana Tech vs. Western Kentucky 2016
Fewest points scored (winning team) 17, UCF vs. SMU 2010
Fewest points scored 6, UAB vs. Florida Atlantic 2019
Most points scored (both teams) 102, Western Kentucky (58) vs. Louisiana Tech (44) 2016
Fewest points scored (both teams) 24, UCF (17) vs. SMU (7) 2010
Most points scored in a half 38, Western Kentucky (1st half) vs. Louisiana Tech 2016
Most points scored in a half (both teams) 65, Western Kentucky vs. Louisiana Tech (1st half) 2016
Largest margin of victory 43, Florida Atlantic (49) vs. UAB (6) 2019
Smallest margin of victory 2, UAB (27) vs. Middle Tennessee (25) 2018
Total yards 656, Western Kentucky (421 passing, 235 rushing) vs. Louisiana Tech 2016
Rushing yards 308, UCF vs. Tulsa 2007
Passing yards 577, Western Kentucky vs. UTSA 2021
First downs 33, Houston vs. East Carolina 2009
Fewest yards allowed 223, Florida Atlantic vs. UAB (84 passing, 139 rushing) 2019
Fewest rushing yards allowed 5, Western Kentucky vs. Louisiana Tech 2016
Fewest passing yards allowed 72, Marshall vs. Louisiana Tech 2014
Individual Record, Player, Team vs. Opponent Year
All-purpose yards 582, Bailey Zappe, Western Kentucky vs. UTSA 2021
Touchdowns (all-purpose) 5, Case Keenum, Houston vs. East Carolina 2009
Rushing yards 284, Kevin Smith, UCF vs. East Carolina 2007
Rushing touchdowns 4, shared by:
Kevin Smith, UCF vs. East Carolina
Anthony Wales, Western Kentucky vs. Louisiana Tech
 
2007
2016
Passing yards 577, Bailey Zappe, Western Kentucky vs. UTSA 2021
Passing touchdowns 5, Case Keenum, Houston vs. East Carolina 2009
Receiving yards 241, James Cleveland, Houston vs. East Carolina 2009
Receiving touchdowns 2, shared by nine players, most recent:
Jerreth Sterns, Western Kentucky vs. UTSA
 
2021
Tackles 15, shared by:
Gerald McRath, Southern Miss vs. Houston
C.J. Cavness, Houston vs. East Carolina
 
2006
2009
Sacks 2, Bruce Miller, UCF vs. SMU 2010
Interceptions 2, shared by 4 players, most recent:
Jaylen Young, Florida Atlantic vs. North Texas
 
2017
Long Plays Record, Player, Team vs. Opponent Year
Touchdown run 74, Kevin Smith, UCF vs. Tulsa 2007
Touchdown pass 75, Deangelo Antoine from Chris Robison, Florida Atlantic vs. UAB 2019
Kickoff return 69, Dwayne Harris, East Carolina vs. Houston 2009
Punt return 83, Joe Burnett, UCF vs. Tulsa 2007
Interception return 72, Travis Simmons, East Carolina vs. Tulsa 2008
Fumble return 40, Travis Simmons, East Carolina vs. Tulsa 2008
Punt 73, Matt Dodge, East Carolina vs. Tulsa 2008
Field goal 48, Matt Quinn, UAB vs. Marshall 2020
Miscellaneous Record, Team vs. Team Year
Game attendance 51,978, UCF vs. Tulsa 2005

Source:[3]

Selection criteria

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Division standings are based on each team's overall conference record. Often, two or more teams tie for the best record in their division and each team is recognized as a divisional co-champion. However, tiebreakers are used to determine who will represent the division in the championship game.

Two-team tie-breaker procedure

  1. Highest regular season winning percentage based on overall Conference USA play.
  2. If tied, head-to-head between tied teams.
  3. If still tied, team with highest CFP ranking.

NOTE: Although all division rivals meet during the season and NCAA overtime is played in case of a tie game, the CUSA has provisions in case a game ends in a tie under NCAA Rule 3–3–3 (c) and (d), Suspending the Game, or if the two tied teams did not play an official game because of weather. As such, CUSA rules still contain the remaining procedures if those circumstances were to happen.

Three or more-team procedure

(Once the tie has been reduced to two teams, go to the two-team tie-breaker format.)

  1. Highest regular season winning percentage based on overall CUSA play.
  2. If tied, head-to-head between tied teams.
  3. If still tied, highest winning percentage within division.
  4. If still tied, compare records against divisional opponents in descending order of finish.
  5. If still tied, compare records with common cross-divisional opponents.
  6. If still tied, compare records against cross-divisional opponents in descending order of finish.
  7. If still tied, team with highest CFP ranking.
  8. If still tied, the representative will be the team that has not participated in the championship game most recently.
  9. If at any point the tie is broken in a multiple team tie, the remaining teams will begin the process again at #2.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Ryan Named Football Championship Title Sponsor". Conference USA. October 10, 2019. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  2. ^ CBS SPORTS NETWORK ANNOUNCES 2018 COLLEGE FOOTBALL SCHEDULE FEATURING SERVICE ACADEMIES AND TOP SCHOOLS FROM NINE CONFERENCES
  3. ^ "C-USA Records Master" (PDF). conferenceusa.com. pp. 35–36. Retrieved December 3, 2021.