Tale of the tape: C-USA vs. BCS opponents
One of the biggest storylines in today's St. Petersburg Bowl is that a Conference USA team (Memphis) is trying to get a rare win against a BCS conference opponent in USF. How significant would it be if the Tigers could upset the Bulls?
Tigers coach Tommy West made reference this week that aside from East Carolina's big wins against Virginia Tech and West Virginia, his conference hasn't fared well against BCS opponents.
West is right -- if you take East Carolina out of the picture, Conference USA went 0-19 against BCS opponents this season, putting the league at 2-21 overall.
And if you go back to 2005, when Conference USA adopted its current 12-team lineup following a major conference shakeup, you can see how rare it's been for a C-USA team to beat a BCS conference opponent. East Carolina has set the standard, for sure, going 6-9 against BCS teams, with at least one such win in each season. Five of the six have come against ACC opponents.
The rest of C-USA, however, has combined for fewer BCS wins than ECU -- the other 11 schools are a combined 5-81 against BCS teams, with Houston (2-7) as the only school to post more than one BCS win in the last four seasons. Memphis is one of seven C-USA teams that have not beaten a BCS opponent since 2005. You can also see which programs are scheduling BCS teams more than others -- you have to respect Marshall (0-11) more than UTEP (0-3) or Tulsa (0-4).
Here's the breakdown by team: ECU 6-9, Houston 2-7 (beat Oklahoma State in 2006, Mississippi State in 2005), Southern Miss 1-7 (beat N.C. State in 2006), Tulane 1-7 (beat Mississippi State in 2006) and Central Florida 1-11 (beat N.C. State in 2007), UTEP 0-3, Tulsa 0-4, SMU 0-5, Memphis 0-7, UAB 0-9, Rice 0-10, Marshall 0-11.
So of the league's 11 wins against BCS teams since 2005, seven have come against the ACC, two against Mississippi State, one against Oklahoma State and one against West Virginia. Each conference's record against C-USA? The Pac-10 is 4-0, Big Ten is 3-0, Big East is 16-1, SEC is 31-2, Big 12 is 21-2 and the ACC is 14-7.