2016 Conference USA football season

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2016 Conference USA football season
Conference USA logo.svg
LeagueNCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision
SportFootball
DurationSeptember 1, 2016
through December 27, 2016
Number of teams13
TV partner(s)ESPN, CBS Sports Network, American Sports Network, beIN Sports, Campus Insiders, CUSA.tv
2017 NFL Draft
Top draft pickG Forrest Lamp, WKU
Picked byLos Angeles Chargers, 38th overall
Regular season
Season MVPQB Ryan Higgins, La. Tech
East championsWestern Kentucky & Old Dominion (co-champions)
West championsLouisiana Tech
Championship Game
ChampionsWestern Kentucky
  Runners-upLouisiana Tech
Finals MVPRB Anthony Wales, WKU
Football seasons
← 2015
2017 →
2016 Conference USA football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
East Division
Western Kentucky xy$   7 1         11 3  
Old Dominion x   7 1         10 3  
Middle Tennessee   5 3         8 5  
FIU   4 4         4 8  
Charlotte   3 5         4 8  
Marshall   2 6         3 9  
Florida Atlantic   2 6         3 9  
West Division
Louisiana Tech xy   6 2         9 5  
UTSA   5 3         6 7  
Southern Miss   4 4         7 6  
North Texas   3 5         5 8  
Rice   2 6         3 9  
UTEP   2 6         4 8  
Championship: Western Kentucky 58, Louisiana Tech 44
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
  • y – Championship game participant
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.[1] 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.[2]

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.[3]

Preseason[edit]

2016 predictions[edit]

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.

References:[4]

Head Coaches[edit]

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.[5] 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.[6]
  • 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.[7] 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.[8]
  • 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.[9]

Note: All stats shown are before the beginning of the season.

Team Head coach Years at school Overall record Record at school CUSA record
Charlotte Brad Lambert 4 12–22 12–22 0–8
FIU Ron Turner 4 55–82 10–26 7–17
Florida Atlantic Charlie Partridge 3 6–18 6–18 5–11
Louisiana Tech Skip Holtz 4 110–88 22–17 16–8
Marshall Doc Holliday 7 50–28 50–28 33–15
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
Rice David Bailiff 10 74–75 53–60 37–35
Southern Miss Jay Hopson 1 32–17 0–0 0–0
UTEP Sean Kugler 4 14–23 14–23 9–15
UTSA Frank Wilson 1 0–0 0–0 0–0
Western Kentucky Jeff Brohm 3 20–7 20–7 12–4

C-USA vs other conferences[edit]

C-USA vs power conferences[edit]

Index to colors and formatting
Conference USA member won
Conference USA member lost
Conference USA teams in bold

This is a list of the power conference teams (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC) C-USA plays in non-conference (Rankings from the AP Poll):

Date Visitor Home Site Score
September 1 Charlotte #19 Louisville Papa John's Cardinal StadiumLouisville, Kentucky 14–70
September 1 Indiana FIU FIU StadiumMiami 34–13
September 3 Louisiana Tech Arkansas Donald W. Reynolds Razorback StadiumFayetteville, Arkansas 20–21
September 3 Southern Miss Kentucky Commonwealth StadiumLexington, Kentucky 44–35
September 9 Maryland FIU FIU Stadium • Miami, Florida 41–14
September 10 Florida Atlantic #25 Miami Hard Rock StadiumMiami Gardens, Florida 10–38
September 10 Middle Tennessee Vanderbilt Vanderbilt StadiumNashville, Tennessee 24–47
September 10 UTEP #11 Texas Darrell K Royal–Texas Memorial StadiumAustin, Texas 7–41
September 10 WKU #1 Alabama Bryant–Denny StadiumTuscaloosa, Alabama 10–38
September 16 Baylor Rice Rice StadiumHouston 38–10
September 16 Arizona State UTSA AlamodomeSan Antonio, Texas 32–28
September 17 Florida Atlantic Kansas St. Bill Snyder Family Football StadiumManhattan, Kansas 7–63
September 17 Louisiana Tech Texas Tech Jones AT&T StadiumLubbock, Texas 45–59
September 17 North Texas Florida Ben Hill Griffin StadiumGainesville, Florida 0–32
September 17 Old Dominion NC State Carter–Finley StadiumRaleigh, North Carolina 22–49
September 24 Vanderbilt WKU Houchens Industries–L. T. Smith StadiumBowling Green, Kentucky 31–30 OT
September 24 Louisville Marshall Joan C. Edwards StadiumHuntington, West Virginia 59–28
October 1 Marshall Pittsburgh Heinz FieldPittsburgh 27–43
October 15 Southern Miss LSU Tiger StadiumBaton Rouge, Louisiana 10–45
October 22 Middle Tennessee Missouri Faurot FieldColumbia, Missouri 51–45
November 19 UTSA Texas A&M Kyle FieldCollege Station, Texas 10–23
November 26 Rice Stanford Stanford StadiumStanford, California 17–41

2016 records against non-conference opponents[edit]

Postseason[edit]

Bowl games[edit]

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.[10]

Date Time Bowl Game Site TV CUSA Team Opponent Result
December 27, 2016 12:00 PM Heart of Dallas Bowl Cotton BowlDallas ESPN North Texas Army Army 38, North Texas 31 OT
December 24, 2016 8:00 PM Hawaii Bowl Aloha StadiumHonolulu, Hawaii ESPN Middle Tennessee Hawaii Hawaii 52, Middle Tennessee 35
December 23, 2016 3:30 PM Armed Forces Bowl* Amon G. Carter StadiumFort Worth, Texas ESPN Louisiana Tech Navy Louisiana Tech 48, Navy 45
December 23, 2016 1:00 PM Bahamas Bowl Thomas Robinson StadiumNassau, Bahamas ESPN Old Dominion Eastern Michigan Old Dominion 24, Eastern Michigan 20
December 20, 2016 7:00 PM Boca Raton Bowl FAU StadiumBoca Raton, Florida ESPN Western Kentucky Memphis Western Kentucky 51 Memphis 31
December 17, 2016 9:00 PM New Orleans Bowl Mercedes-Benz SuperdomeNew Orleans ESPN Southern Miss. UL-Layfeyette Southern Miss 28 UL Lafeyette 21
December 17, 2016 2:00 PM New Mexico Bowl University StadiumAlbuquerque, 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.

Postseason awards[edit]

  • 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[11]
  • Freshman of the Year:Josiah Tauaefa
  • Newcomer of the Year:Mike White[12]

All C-USA [13]

Home game attendance[edit]

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%
FIU FIU Stadium 20,000 16,089 17,084 18,524† 16,164 17,061 14,413 15,054 114,389 16,341 81.70%
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%
Rice Rice Stadium 47,000 27,047† 20,792 20,134 21,538 19,892 19,148 121,151 20,258 43.10%
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%
UTSA Alamodome 65,000 22,380 29,035† 19,818 23,633 19,553 23,807 138,226 23,037 35.44%
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
†Season High

References[edit]

  1. ^ "C-USA Announces 2016 Football Schedule". Conferenceusa.com. 2016-02-04. Archived from the original on 2016-06-05. Retrieved 2016-05-21.
  2. ^ "UAB to reinstate football for 2017 season". ESPN.com. July 21, 2015. Retrieved May 21, 2016.
  3. ^ "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.
  4. ^ "C-USA ANNOUNCES 2016 PRESEASON MEDIA FOOTBALL POLL". Conference USA. July 21, 2016. Retrieved July 27, 2016.
  5. ^ Evans, Thayer (October 10, 2015). "North Texas fires head coach Dan McCarney after 0–5 start". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved May 21, 2016.
  6. ^ McMurphy, Brett (December 5, 2015). "North Texas tabs UNC's Seth Littrell as new coach". ESPN. Retrieved May 21, 2016.
  7. ^ "Southern Miss coach Todd Monken leaves to become Buccaneers OC". ESPN.com. ESPN Internet Ventures. January 24, 2016. Retrieved May 21, 2016.
  8. ^ "Southern Miss hires Alcorn State's Jay Hopson as new head coach" Sun Herald. Retrieved 2016-01-30.
  9. ^ Ching, David (January 14, 2016). "UTSA taps LSU assistant coach Frank Wilson as head coach". ESPN.com. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved May 21, 2016.
  10. ^ Bowl invitation
  11. ^ "FB: Holtz Named C-USA Coach of the Year". www.conferenceusa.com. Conference USA. December 7, 2016. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
  12. ^ "FB: 2016 Players of the Year". www.conferenceusa.com. Conference USA. December 7, 2016. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
  13. ^ "FB: 2016 All-Conference Teams". www.conferenceusa.com. Conference USA. December 6, 2016. Retrieved January 12, 2017.