CUSA Team of the Decade
For the next two weeks, I will be taking a look at the conference teams of the decade for 2000-2009. Factored into my analysis will be conference win %, conference and division titles, bowl games and bowl wins. I will also include BCS bowl wins, final AP rankings and number of national championships for the major conferences. There have been several teams who have changed conferences during that time and I will include them in the analysis for any season(s) they were affiliated with that certain conference. I will also be doing a breakdown of how the conference did in bowl games during the decade and I will emphasis the overall win/loss record, the number of BCS bowl wins, and the records against Non-BCS and ranked bowl teams.
While some conferences may have no-brainers as the top team, other conferences were very competitive over the past decade. Here is the schedule for the upcoming week with the conferences I will be analyzing on each date.
Monday Sun Belt
Saturday Big East
Monday, July 5th Pac-10
Tuesday, July 6th ACC
Wednesday, July 7th Big 12
Thursday, July 8th Big 10
Friday, July 9th SEC
CUSA in 2000 consisted of Louisville, Cincinnati, East Carolina, Southern Miss, UAB, Tulane, Memphis, Houston and Army. They added TCU in 2001. Two years later in 2003 they added South Florida and they were an 11 team league for two seasons. In 2005 they lost Cincinnati, Louisville and USF to the Big East and Army dropped out. They added in Rice, SMU, UTEP and Tulsa from the WAC. They also added Marshall and UCF from the MAC. With 12 teams they split into two divisions the last 5 years. Here are my overall rankings for CUSA Team of the Decade.
CUSA Rankings 2000-2009
|Rk||Team||Wins||Losses||Win %||Titles||Div Titles||# of Bowls||Bowl Wins||AP Top 25||AP Top 10|
Just like Marshall in the MAC, Louisville gets the nod here despite not being in the league for five years. They easily had the highest win % and also had the most titles with three. The Cards went to five bowl games in five years and finished in the AP Top 25 twice including a #6 finish in 2004.
Tulsa comes in at #2 with the second highest win % and the Golden Hurricane also had the most division titles with 3. Had Tulsa won the conference last year they would have had a chance to finish as the team of the decade.
If I were awarding the most consistent team of the decade it would clearly be Southern Miss as they had ten winning seasons and made nine bowl appearances. Southern Miss easily had the most wins but the problem is they could not get over the hump and win multiple championships. Despite having 24 more wins than Tulsa, I put Southern Miss here at #3 because Tulsa had a higher win %, was 2-1 against Southern Miss and also had 2 more division titles.
East Carolina made a late push under former HC Skip Holtz. With their back-to-back CUSA Championships the past two years they finish #4. Houston also has finished the decade strong but three losing seasons to start the decade including an 0-11 season in 2001 has them coming in at #5. Rounding out my top 8 are TCU, UCF and Cincinnati. It is interesting that of the two MAC teams that came over Marshall was the MAC powerhouse coming in but has gone just 17-23 while UCF was coming off an 0-11 season but has gone 26-14 in a tougher league.
Here are the overall bowl records for CUSA teams during the course of the decade. Keep in mind for Louisville, TCU, and Cincinnati these bowl records are only from their seasons when they were in CUSA.
CUSA Bowl Records ’00-’09
|Team||Overall||vs BCS||vs Non-BCS||vs Ranked||BCS Bowls||Rec as Ranked|
Overall, CUSA was 21-31 overall last decade with just a 1-10 record against BCS teams. The conference faired reasonably against ranked teams with a 6-6 record. Southern Miss led the way with five bowl wins while Tulsa had three. Louisville was 2-3 but each of the wins came against ranked opponents.
I will be back tomorrow with a look at the team of the decade in the MWC which is a three horse race between BYU, Utah and TCU.
Also please check PhilSteele.com everyday to get my FCS Top 25 Countdown, which continues with #20 Montana St. Thru July 20th, I will post both magazine pages on a new team ranked in the Top 25 and you can get an early look on how I breakdown your favorite FCS team. Remember those magazine pages are available for only 24 hours for you to download as the next team will be posted the following day.
Only 63 Days Until the First College Football Game!!!