2016 Conference USA football season
|2016 Conference USA football season|
|League||NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision|
|Duration||September 1, 2016|
through December 27, 2016
|Number of teams||13|
|TV partner(s)||ESPN, CBS Sports Network, American Sports Network, beIN Sports, Campus Insiders, CUSA.tv|
|2017 NFL Draft|
|Top draft pick||G Forrest Lamp, WKU|
|Picked by||Los Angeles Chargers, 38th overall|
|Season MVP||QB Ryan Higgins, La. Tech|
|East champions||Western Kentucky & Old Dominion (co-champions)|
|West champions||Louisiana Tech|
|Finals MVP||RB Anthony Wales, WKU|
|2016 Conference USA football standings|
|Western Kentucky xy$||7||–||1||11||–||3|
|Old Dominion x||7||–||1||10||–||3|
|Louisiana Tech xy||6||–||2||9||–||5|
|Championship: Western Kentucky 58, Louisiana Tech 44|
Rankings from AP Poll
The 2016 Conference USA football season was the 21st season of Conference USA football and part of the 2016 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The season began on September 1 with Charlotte facing Louisville. This season was the second season for the C-USA under realignment that took place in 2014, which added the 14th member Charlotte from the Atlantic 10 Conference. The C-USA is a "Group of Five" conference under the College Football Playoff format along with the American Athletic Conference, the Mid-American Conference, the Mountain West Conference, and the Sun Belt Conference.
C-USA consists of 14 members: Charlotte, FIU, Florida Atlantic, Louisiana Tech, Marshall, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Old Dominion, Rice, Southern Miss, UAB, UTEP, UTSA, and Western Kentucky; and is split up into the East and West divisions. West champion Louisiana Tech played at East champion Western Kentucky's Houchens Industries-L. T. Smith Stadium for the Conference USA Championship on December 3, which Western Kentucky won 58–44. UAB continued to undergo reinstatement of its football program during the 2016 season and will begin play for the 2017 season.
Western Kentucky entered the season as defending Conference USA champions, defeating Southern Miss in the previous year's championship game. The Hilltoppers would then go on to defeat South Florida in the Miami Beach Bowl 45–35.
The 2016 preseason media predictions were released on July 21, 2016 with the vote conducted by media members that cover the conference schools. Middle Tennessee was picked to win the East division for the first time in school history. After coming second in the East last year, which resulted a trip to the Bahamas Bowl, the Blue Raiders returned 13 starters for the upcoming season. In the West division, the media predicted Southern Miss to overcome the other 5 teams in the division. Southern Miss has been in the C-USA championship more than any team in the conference, with 3 appearances including an appearance last season against Western Kentucky. The Golden Eagles brought back seven starters on offense and six starters on defense. Western Kentucky, defending C-USA champion, was predicted to finish second in the East division, instead of returning to the title game.
The twelve annual championship game will be held on December 3, 2016, which is predicted to pit Southern Miss and Middle Tennessee.
Three Conference USA teams hired new head coaches for the 2016 season. All three were in the West Division, and all three were replacing coaches who had spent at least 3 seasons at their respective schools.
- North Texas hired Seth Littrell to replace Dan McCarney, who was fired after the Mean Green lost to Portland State on October 10, 2015. Mike Canales was promoted as interim head coach after the fire until the hire of Littrell. Seth is coming from being an Assistant Head Coach for Offense and Tight Ends Coach at North Carolina. Littrell was hired on December 5, 2015.
- Southern Miss hired Jay Hopson to replace Todd Monken, who resigned to become the new Offensive Coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the 2015 season. Jay spent has spent four years prior to Southern Miss at Alcorn State and help bring the Braves to two SWAC Championship Titles. Hopson was hired on January 30, 2016.
- UTSA hired Frank Wilson to replace Larry Coker, who resigned on January 5, 2016. Wilson is come from being a Running Backs Coach and a Recruiting Coordinator at LSU for 7 seasons. Frank was hired on January 14, 2016.
Note: All stats shown are before the beginning of the season.
|Team||Head coach||Years at school||Overall record||Record at school||CUSA record|
|Florida Atlantic||Charlie Partridge||3||6–18||6–18||5–11|
|Louisiana Tech||Skip Holtz||4||110–88||22–17||16–8|
|Middle Tennessee||Rick Stockstill||11||64–61||64–61||17–7|
|North Texas||Seth Littrell||1||0–0||0–0||0–0|
|Old Dominion||Bobby Wilder||8||57–27||57–27||7–9|
|Southern Miss||Jay Hopson||1||32–17||0–0||0–0|
|Western Kentucky||Jeff Brohm||3||20–7||20–7||12–4|
C-USA vs other conferences
C-USA vs power conferences
|Index to colors and formatting|
|Conference USA member won|
|Conference USA member lost|
|Conference USA teams in bold|
2016 records against non-conference opponents
Per conference regulations, all teams with seven or more wins shall be placed into conference bowls prior to any other bowl eligible teams without a winning record (i.e. 6–6 record). The rankings are from final CFP Poll and all game times are in Eastern. Old Dominion was the first team to accept a bowl bid on November 28.
|Date||Time||Bowl Game||Site||TV||CUSA Team||Opponent||Result|
|December 27, 2016||12:00 PM||Heart of Dallas Bowl||Cotton Bowl • Dallas||ESPN||North Texas||Army||Army 38, North Texas 31 OT|
|December 24, 2016||8:00 PM||Hawaii Bowl||Aloha Stadium • Honolulu, Hawaii||ESPN||Middle Tennessee||Hawaii||Hawaii 52, Middle Tennessee 35|
|December 23, 2016||3:30 PM||Armed Forces Bowl*||Amon G. Carter Stadium • Fort Worth, Texas||ESPN||Louisiana Tech||Navy||Louisiana Tech 48, Navy 45|
|December 23, 2016||1:00 PM||Bahamas Bowl||Thomas Robinson Stadium • Nassau, Bahamas||ESPN||Old Dominion||Eastern Michigan||Old Dominion 24, Eastern Michigan 20|
|December 20, 2016||7:00 PM||Boca Raton Bowl||FAU Stadium • Boca Raton, Florida||ESPN||Western Kentucky||Memphis||Western Kentucky 51 Memphis 31|
|December 17, 2016||9:00 PM||New Orleans Bowl||Mercedes-Benz Superdome • New Orleans||ESPN||Southern Miss.||UL-Layfeyette||Southern Miss 28 UL Lafeyette 21|
|December 17, 2016||2:00 PM||New Mexico Bowl||University Stadium • Albuquerque, New Mexico||ESPN||UTSA||New Mexico||New Mexico 23 UTSA 20|
- Additional bowl game offer. C-USA had no previous arrangement to play in the Armed Forces Bowl.
- Most Valuable Player:Ryan Higgins
- Offensive Player of the Year:Carlos Henderson
- Defensive Player of the Year:Trey Hendrickson
- Coach of the Year:Skip Holtz
- Freshman of the Year:Josiah Tauaefa
- Newcomer of the Year:Mike White
All C-USA 
Home game attendance
|Team||Stadium||Capacity||Game 1||Game 2||Game 3||Game 4||Game 5||Game 6||Game 7||Total||Average||% of Capacity|
|Charlotte||Jerry Richardson Stadium||15,314||15,807†||15,080||12,589||13,939||14,306||13,433||—||85,154||14,192||92.67%|
|Florida Atlantic||FAU Stadium||29,419||14,887†||13,846||7,401||9,338||9,122||5,843||—||60,437||10,072||34.24%|
|Louisiana Tech||Joe Aillet Stadium||28,019||16,910||22,101||17,978||22,058||23,012†||—||—||102,059||20,411||73.64%|
|Marshall||Joan C. Edwards Stadium||38,227||26,488||24,258||40,592†||22,839||20,904||20,841||17,397||172,319||24,759||64.77%|
|Middle Tennessee||Johnny "Red" Floyd Stadium||30,788||19,967||20,105||22,411†||13,505||10,227||—||—||86,215||17,243||56.00%|
|North Texas||Apogee Stadium||30,850||24,718†||15,609||19,823||18,216||21,643||19,120||—||119,129||19,854||64.36%|
|Old Dominion||Foreman Field||20,118||20,118||20,118||20,118||20,118||20,118||20,118||—||120,708||20,118||100.00%|
|Southern Miss||M. M. Roberts Stadium||36,000||29,509||27,905||28,325||31,275†||28,347||26,164||—||171,525||28,587||79.41%|
|UTEP||Sun Bowl Stadium||51,500||30,119||37,893†||21,419||17,751||19,254||15,977||18,591||161,004||23,000||44.66%|
|WKU||Houchens Industries–L. T. Smith Stadium||22,113||19,286||23,674†||17,331||18,676||15,516||16,239||—||110,722||18,453||83.45%|
Bold – Exceed capacity
- "C-USA Announces 2016 Football Schedule". Conferenceusa.com. 2016-02-04. Archived from the original on 2016-06-05. Retrieved 2016-05-21.
- "UAB to reinstate football for 2017 season". ESPN.com. July 21, 2015. Retrieved May 21, 2016.
- "Doughty goes out on top: WKU rallies from early deficit to beat USF 45–35 in Miami Beach Bowl". U.S. News & World Report. Miami. Associated Press. December 21, 2015. Retrieved May 21, 2016.
- "C-USA ANNOUNCES 2016 PRESEASON MEDIA FOOTBALL POLL". Conference USA. July 21, 2016. Retrieved July 27, 2016.
- Evans, Thayer (October 10, 2015). "North Texas fires head coach Dan McCarney after 0–5 start". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved May 21, 2016.
- McMurphy, Brett (December 5, 2015). "North Texas tabs UNC's Seth Littrell as new coach". ESPN. Retrieved May 21, 2016.
- "Southern Miss coach Todd Monken leaves to become Buccaneers OC". ESPN.com. ESPN Internet Ventures. January 24, 2016. Retrieved May 21, 2016.
- "Southern Miss hires Alcorn State's Jay Hopson as new head coach" Sun Herald. Retrieved 2016-01-30.
- Ching, David (January 14, 2016). "UTSA taps LSU assistant coach Frank Wilson as head coach". ESPN.com. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved May 21, 2016.
- Bowl invitation
- "FB: Holtz Named C-USA Coach of the Year". www.conferenceusa.com. Conference USA. December 7, 2016. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
- "FB: 2016 Players of the Year". www.conferenceusa.com. Conference USA. December 7, 2016. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
- "FB: 2016 All-Conference Teams". www.conferenceusa.com. Conference USA. December 6, 2016. Retrieved January 12, 2017.