- Conference USA Football Championship Game
Conference USA Football Championship Game Conference Football Championship Sport College football Conference Conference USA Current stadium Rotates yearly to home site of team in game Played 2005-present Last contest 2010 Conference USA Football Championship Game Current champion UCF Knights Most championships East Carolina Pirates and UCF Knights (2) TV partner(s) ESPN2 Official website ConferenceUSA.CSTV.com Football
The Conference USA Football Championship Game is an annual postseason college football game played to determine the champion of Conference USA. From 1996–2004, the champion of Conference USA was determined by regular season record. In 2005, following the division of the conference into East and West Divisions and an expansion to twelve members, the conference began holding a championship game between the two division winners. The team with the better regular season record serves as the host team. From 2005 through 2010, C-USA was the only FBS conference not to have its championship game at a neutral site. Starting in 2011, the newly expanded Pac-12 will also hold its championship game at the home of the team with the best record.
Each year, the game has been televised live on ESPN College Football. In the 2006 season, the game was moved from Saturday afternoon to Friday night.
The winner of the C-USA Championship traditionally receives a berth to play in the Liberty Bowl. However, the Liberty Bowl is not contractually obligated to choose the game's winner. If a C-USA team finished undefeated and ranked in the top 12 of the BCS, it could receive an at-large bid to a BCS bowl. The loser of the C-USA championship game receives a bid in one of C-USA's six other bowl berths. Historically the C-USA runner up played in the GMAC Bowl (now the GoDaddy.com Bowl) against a team from the Mid-American Conference, but Conference USA's ties with that bowl ended in 2009 and the conference was replaced by the Sun Belt Conference (Ladd Peebles Stadium, where the game is held, will be used by future Sun Belt football school South Alabama).
Conference USA champions (1996–2004)
- AP final rankings shown, following bowl games
Season Champion(s) Conf.
Bowl result 1996 Houston 4-1 7-5 lost Liberty Bowl Southern Miss 4-1 8-3 1997 #22 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
Conference USA Championship Game (since 2005)
Season Date West Score East Site Attendance Game notes 2005 December 3, 2005 Tulsa 44-27 UCF Citrus Bowl (Orlando) 51,978 Notes 2006 December 1, 2006 Houston 34-20 Southern Miss Robertson Stadium (Houston) 31,818 Notes 2007 December 1, 2007 Tulsa 25-44 UCF Bright House Networks Stadium (Orlando) 44,128 Notes 2008 December 6, 2008 Tulsa 24-27 East Carolina Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium (Tulsa) 22,740 Notes 2009 December 5, 2009 #21 Houston 32-38 East Carolina Dowdy–Ficklen Stadium (Greenville, NC) 33,048 Notes 2010 December 4, 2010 SMU 7-17 #21 UCF Bright House Networks Stadium (Orlando) 41,045 Notes
- The 2005 game was advertised as Conference USA Championship Presented by Xbox 360. Following the victory, Tulsa received 3 votes in the AP Poll, but did not reach the top 25. Following a victory in the Liberty Bowl, Tulsa received 34 votes in the AP Poll, but still did not reach the top 25, ranking 27th overall.
- The 2006 game was advertised as Conference USA Championship Presented by Aéropostale. Following the victory, Houston received 21 votes in the AP Poll, but did not reach the top 25, ranking 29th. Houston did not receive any votes in the final poll.
- The 2007 game was advertised as the Bright House Networks Conference USA Championship. UCF's Kevin Smith rushed for 284 yards, bringing his season total to 2,448, which stands as the second-most single season rushing yards in NCAA history. Following the victory, UCF received 35 votes in the AP Poll, but did not reach the top 25, ranking 27th.
- Through 2008, no team entered or left the game ranked in any major poll.
- The 2009 game was the first game in which one of the contenders was ranked in the top 25 when #18 Houston played East Carolina on December 5, 2009. East Carolina also had received 3 votes in the AP Poll. East Carolina won the competition and was the first to have won two championship games in the conference and was also the first to win two consecutive championship games in the conference.
- The 2010 game was advertised as the Conference USA Championship presented by HotelPlanner.com. Going into the game, UCF was ranked 25th in the USA Today Coaches' Poll. UCF received 12 votes in the AP Poll, ranking 31st, 74 votes in the Harris Poll, ranking 27th, and two votes in the Legends Poll, ranking 31st. SMU had no votes in any poll entering the title game. Following the victory, UCF received 143 votes in the USA Today Coaches' Poll, ranking 24th, 63 votes in the AP Poll, ranking 26th, and finished the season ranked 25th in the final 2010 BCS Standings. UCF became the first team to finish the season nationally ranked following the championship game. UCF also became the first C-USA team to finish the season ranked in the final BCS Standings after playing in the conference title game.
Results by team
Appearances School W L Pct Notes 3 Tulsa 1 2 .333 3 UCF 2 1 .667 2 East Carolina 2 0 1.000 2 Houston 1 1 .500 1 Southern Miss 0 1 .000 1 SMU 0 1 .000 0 Marshall 0 0 N/A 0 Memphis 0 0 N/A 0 Rice 0 0 N/A 0 Tulane 0 0 N/A 0 UAB 0 0 N/A 0 UTEP 0 0 N/A
Season MVP Team Position 2005 Garrett Mills Tulsa TE 2006 Vincent Marshall Houston WR 2007 Kevin Smith UCF RB 2008 Travis Simmons ECU CB 2009 Dwayne Harris ECU WR 2010 Latavius Murray UCF RB
- ^ "Conference USA Signs on to Participate in Sheraton Hawaii Bowl". ESPN Regional Television, Inc.. 2009-04-10. http://www.sheratonhawaiibowl.com/. Retrieved 2009-04-15.
NCAA Division I FBS conference championship games
Atlantic Coast Conference Championship † (2005–present) • Big 12 Conference Championship † (1996–2010) • Big Ten Conference Championship † (2011–present) • Conference USA Championship (2005–present) • Mid-American Conference Championship (1997–present) • Pacific-12 Conference Championship † (2011–present) • Southeastern Conference Championship † (1992–present) • WAC Championship (1996–1998)
† Conference champion receives an automatic BCS bid Conference USA East Division West Division Soccer-only members Rowing-only members History Conference USA Football Championship Game
2005 • 2006 • 2007 • 2008 • 2009 • 2010 • 2011
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