Daily Blog • March 17th, 2010

CUSA has been making huge strides the past couple of years. After going 3-8 in bowls in ’06-’07, they have gone 6-6 the last 2 years. In ’08 both East Carolina and Tulsa were considered possible BCS bowl busters and last year Houston climbed all the way to #12 after big wins against Oklahoma St and Texas Tech.

Until last year there had been a different CUSA league champ for SEVEN straight years with TCU in ’02, SMiss in ’03, L’Ville in ’04, Tulsa in ’05, UCF in ’07 and East Carolina in ’08. The Pirates ended that streak in ‘09 as they repeated with a 38-32 win over Houston in the title game. This year East Carolina loses HC Holtz who left for South Florida and welcome new coach Ruffin McNeil who served as the DC at Texas Tech for the last 3 seasons and was the interim HC in the Red Raiders’ bowl win over Michigan St last year. Can the Pirates 3-peat or will Houston, UTEP or SMU start another streak of different conference champs?

2010 figures to be an exciting year for the conference with record setting players like Houston’s Case Keenum and UTEP’s Donald Buckram back. SMU fresh off their 1st bowl win in 25 years returns QB Kyle Padron and looks to make it to a bowl for the 2nd straight year. Southern Miss is just 1 of 4 teams to have 16 straight winning seasons (Florida, Florida St and Va Tech) and returns their top 2 QBs in Austin Davis and Martevious Young. 

CUSA announced their 2010 football schedules yesterday. Here is a quick breakdown of the schedules for each team…

East Carolina

The defending CUSA champs kick off their season with a home game against Tulsa. Last year the Pirates had 401 1H yds and finished with a 517-266 yd edge in their 44-17 win. Every year, East Carolina faces a tough non-conference schedule and this year is no different with road games against Virginia Tech on September 18 and North Carolina on October 2.  Last year the Pirates dropped both games by a combined score of 47-20 and they are just 7-19-1 all-time against the two teams. The Pirates then travel to Southern Miss on October 9 where last year a blocked PAT return in the 4Q was the key play in the Pirates 25-20 win. On October 16 East Carolina hosts NC St in the 27th all time meeting between the schools. The two teams last met in 2008 when NC St upset the #15 Pirates 30-24.  EC then plays 5 of their next 6 games against conference foes highlighted by a November 27 matchup against SMU where the Pirates will try to avenge their only league loss from last year as the Mustangs had blocked FG & INT returns for TDs in their 28-21 win.


The defending West Champs open their season with Texas St on September 4 followed by a ESPN televised matchup against UTEP on September 10. Last year QB Case Keenum threw for 536 yds (67%) & 5 TD’s on a career high 76 attempts, but the then #12 Cougs had their BCS bubble burst as they allowed 305 rush yds in the 41-58 loss. The Cougars then travel to UCLA on September 18 in their first trip to the Rose Bowl since 1997.  On October 9 the Cougars host Mississippi St where the Cougs have won 3 straight including last year’s 31-24 win in Starkville. Houston will then have in-state trips to Rice on October 16 in the battle for the Bayou Bucket and SMU on October 23. The Cougs finish the season with two tough road trips to Southern Miss on November 20 and finish their season on November 27 with a non conference game against Texas Tech. Last year Houston pulled out a 29-28 win over the Red Raiders with 579 total yds.


The Thundering Herd open their 2010 campaign on Thursday, September 2 at Ohio St. In their only previous meeting in 2004 the Buckeyes pulled out a 24-21 win thanks to a 55 yd FG on the last play. Marshall then hosts in-state rival West Virginia on Friday, September 10 in a nationally televised game on ESPN. The Herd is 0-9 all time against the Moutaineers and have been outscored 144-43 the last 4. Marshall then plays former MAC foes Bowling Green and Ohio to close out their non-conference schedule. The Herd opens its conference schedule with a road trip to Southern Miss on October 2 followed by a October 13 home game against UCF on ESPN. Marshall finishes up their conference schedule with a road trip to SMU on November 20 and a home game against Tulane on November 27.


The Tigers will open their 2010 schedule with two consecutive road games for the first time since 1995, traveling to Miss St on September 4 and East Carolina on September 11. It is the first time Memphis and Miss St have played since the 2003 season.  Memphis hosts Middle Tennessee in their home opener on September 18 followed by a road trip to UTEP. The Tigers then play four of their next five games at home highlighted by a home game against in-state rival Tennessee on November 6. The Tigers finish up their conference schedule with road games at Marshall on November 13 and UAB on November 20 and then host UCF on November 27 in the finale.


The Owls play Texas at Reliant Stadium to open their 2010 schedule. In their last meeting in ’08, the Longhorns won convincingly as expected 52-20. Rice then travels to North Texas on Sepember 11. In their last meeting (2008) Rice thrashed North Texas 77-20 as the Owls were +6 in TOs. On September 18 Rice hosts Northwestern and closes out their non-conference schedule with a home game on September 25 against Baylor. The Owls open their conference schedule against SMU on October 2 followed by a road game against UTEP where the Owls won 30-29 last year. Rice then hosts Houston on October 16 for homecoming before hitting the road for 3 contests. The Owls finish the season with home games against East Carolina and UAB.

Southern Miss

The Eagles open the 2010 schedule at South Carolina on Thursday, September 2 in the first meeting between the two schools. Southern Miss then hosts Prairie View A&M before welcoming Kansas on Friday, September 17. The Eagles close out their non-conference schedule with a road game against Louisiana Tech. Southern Miss opens conference play with back to back home games against 2009 bowl teams Marshall on October 2 and East Carolina on October 9.  The Eagles then hit the road for 3 of their next 4. On November 20 Southern Miss hosts Houston as they try to avenge last year’s 50-43 loss in which the two teams combine for 1358 yds! The Eagles close out the regular season on November 21 at Tulsa.


The Ponies are coming off their best season in 25 years after going 8-5 highlighted by their 45-10 win over Nevada in the Hawaii Bowl. SMU opens the 2010 schedule with a trip to Texas Tech on Sunday, September 5. The Mustangs then return home for three straight games highlighted by a matchup against TCU on Friday, September 24 in the battle for the Iron Skillet. SMU then has conference matchups against Rice and Tulsa before traveling east to take on Navy on October 16. Last year the Mustangs lost a heartbreaker to the Midshipmen 38-35 in OT. SMU then hosts Houston on October 23 in a matchup between the 2009 co-Western division champs. The Ponies then close out the season with 3 of their last 4 games on the road including the season finale at defending CUSA champ East Carolina on November 27.


The Golden Hurricane face a difficult schedule in 2010 with 4 road games against bowl teams from last year and a fifth against Notre Dame who was bowl eligible with 6 wins. The season opens with a road game at East Carolina on September 5 followed by the home opener against Bowling Green in a rematch of the ‘08 GMAC Bowl where Tulsa crushed the Falcons 63-7. The Hurricane then travel to face Oklahoma St on September 18 in their first meeting since 2004 before hosting Central Arkansas on September 25. Tulsa then plays three straight conference games including road trips to Memphis and SMU.  After a bye week, Tulsa travels to South Bend on October 30 to take on Notre Dame in the first meeting between the two schools. Tulsa finishes the regular season with 4 conference games in November highlighted by a road trip to Houston on November 13 and the home finale against Southern Miss on November 27.


The Green Wave have yet to officially release their 2010 schedule since they share the same facility with the New Orleans Saints. The conference schedule will feature road games against Houston, Tulsa, UTEP and Marshall. The conference home schedule will include games against SMU, Southern Miss, Rice and UCF.


UAB opens their 2010 schedule with a home game against Florida Atlantic on September 4. The Blazers then travel to Dallas to take on SMU in the conference opener before hosting Troy on September 18. On September 25, UAB travels to Tennessee in the 4th meeting between the schools (UAB 0-3). After an open date, the Blazers play at UCF on Wednesday, October 6.  The Blazers then host UTEP before stepping outside CUSA to take on Miss St on October 23 in Starkville. UAB closes out their 2010 season with 3 straight conference home games before the season finale at Rice on November 27.


The Knights open their 2010 schedule with a pair of non conference home games against South Dakota and NC St. It will be the first meeting between the Knights and Coyotes and UCF beat NC St 25-23 in their last meeting (’07).  UCF hits the road for their final 2 non-conference games against Buffalo and Kansas St. On Wednesday, October 6 the Knights open their conference schedule with a nationally televised home game against UAB. UCF then travels to Marshall the following Wednesday before hosting Rice on October 23 for homecoming. The next two games will see the Knights take on East Carolina and Houston who both appeared in the CUSA title game last year. UCF closes their home schedule against Southern Miss on November 13 before hitting the road for the final two contests.


The Miners open the 2010 season against Arkansas Pine Bluff before traveling to Houston on Friday, September 10 in a conference showdown that will be televised on ESPN. UTEP then hosts New Mexico St on September 18 in the 88th meeting overall between the two teams. UTEP then hosts Memphis before traveling to New Mexico on October 2 in their first meeting against the Lobos since 2007 a 10-6 UTEP win.  The Miners then play their next 5 games against CUSA teams highlighted by a November 6 home game against in-state rival SMU.  UTEP closes out the season with difficult road games at Arkansas (2nd meeting) and at Tulsa.

To get complete schedules on all 12 CUSA schools click here and make sure to select any game to get all the matchups played between the two teams in the last 13 years with complete statistics including first downs, rushing, passing, sacks, TO’s and much more.

Also don’t forget to check out our Spring Central section to get all the conference schedules, coaching changes, who’s back/who’s not and all the NFL Draft early entrants.

Finally keep checking the site daily for our continuing coverage of the 2010 NFL Draft with bios on all the top players at each position complete with stats, strengths, weaknesses and projections on what round they will be drafted only at PhilSteele.com!