C-USA Rivalry Week: Battle For The Bell
By Dan Harralson
It is rivalry week in Conference USA. Rivalry games are still going strong despite new teams throughout C-USA. The week showcases non-conference rivalry games almost exclusively: Marshall/Ohio, LA Tech/Tulane, Memphis/MTSU, FAU/South Florida, Tulsa/Oklahoma, and Bethune-Cookman/FIU.
Best Rivalry Nickname: Marshall and Ohio (Battle for the Bell).
Closest Game: Memphis at MTSU.
This is an interesting all-time series, one that needs to be played on an annual basis. MTSU holds a 16-8-1 all-time series record over the Tigers and won the last two. The game has been played five of the last six years, but was not played from 1955 to 2007.
The 2013 edition will be a good one. I can see a Memphis 28, MTSU 23 type of game.
Biggest Blowout: Hats off to FIU for scheduling their in-state foe, Bethune-Cookman. I believe in-state schools, of all conferences and divisions, should play each other — it's the beauty of college football.
This is the first meeting between the two schools. FIU enters Saturday at 0-2, while Bethune-Cookman comes in 2-0. Don't let the records fool you as FIU has played greater competition. The Golden Panthers' two losses were at Maryland and vs. Central Florida. Bethune-Cookman has wins against Tennessee State (12-9) and Virginia Union (66-7). This game could get ugly fast.
Best Historical Matchup: Marshall and Ohio. This series dates back to 1905 and the two campuses are roughly 80 miles apart. Ohio leads the all-time series 31-19-6. The Bobcats have won the last two meetings, but they went from 1985-2010 only winning two games.
We all remember the Randy Moss and Chad Pennington years and they were quite an offensive duo. Moss reeled in his historic 50th career touchdown during the 1997 Marshall/Ohio game as the Thundering Herd shut out Ohio, 27-0.
They have met one time in a bowl game (2009). Marshall took home the Little Caesars Bowl trophy as the Herd won in a close one, 21-17.
Game Most Likely To End: All of these teams are set to stay in C-USA besides Tulane and Tulsa. Tulsa will host the Sooners next year and will travel back to Norman the following season. The two are not set to play in 2016, but I am sure the two schools will schedule each other once again.
As far as La. Tech and Tulane renewing their game, it will be a wait-and-see approach. Tulane moves to the American Athletic Conference next year and their non-conference schedule already is set. The Green Wave have partial non-conference schedules in place through 2021, so it is still possible for the schools to ink a deal.