The 2020 Conference USA football schedule has been announced. Here are five thoughts from the early look at the upcoming season’s games.
1. Statement opportunity on opening night
Florida Atlantic’s first game under new head coach Willie Taggart has the potential to be national news. Minnesota will be coming off a Top 10 finish this year and will be looking to keep things rolling after their 11-win season. This game is scheduled for Thursday night, September 3, presumably on national television. C-USA needs to do better against Power 5 programs. This will be one of their best chances in 2020.
2. No more double byes
Having two off weekends last year was a scheduling quirk that was rather nice. It lengthened out the schedule (more football!) and gave teams an extra chance to rest up and get well. Most C-USA squads were able to avoid playing more than five or six consecutive games. 2020 marks the return to one off week, with some drawing rather inconvenient timing. Marshall and Southern Miss are off in Week 10, with only three games left on their schedules.
3. The first conference game comes early
Southern Miss hosts Louisiana Tech in Week 2 in the first C-USA game of the season. Both teams will have division title aspirations, making the game pretty important in spite of the early date. Old Dominion hosts FIU in Week 3 and Middle Tennessee in Week 4 before the bulk of the conference games get underway in Week 5.
4. UAB’s has a case for the most favorable schedule
The Blazers get New Mexico State, Alabama A&M, South Alabama and Miami (which was shutout by Louisiana Tech in their bowl game) in nonconference play. Their most challenging road trip will be Halloween night against Louisiana Tech with most of their toughest games coming at home. They’ll host WKU and Southern Miss. On paper, things set up pretty nicely for UAB.
5. Marshall has another tough road
In addition to a nonconference slate which includes East Carolina, Pitt and Boise State, the remainder of Marshall’s schedule is filled with quirks. After hosting Boise State (Sep. 26) and Rice (Oct. 3), they don’t play consecutive home games until Nov. 14 and Nov. 21. Their crossover opponents (Louisiana Tech and Rice) are far from the easiest pair they could have drawn. As if that wasn’t all, they play Boise State, Rice, WKU, Louisiana Tech and Florida Atlantic in a five-game stretch. Oof.