HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Conference USA announced Monday afternoon its 2014 football league matchups, completing the Southern Miss schedule for this upcoming season.
The Golden Eagles are set to compete in the West Division this year for this first time in its school's history since the divisional setup was first introduced prior to the 2005 season.
"I'm really pleased with how the 2014 schedule has come together," said Southern Miss Director of Athletics Bill McGillis. "From a competitive perspective, we've got a really nice balance of opponents both at home and on the road, including six games against teams which played in bowl games last season. From a fan's perspective, I like the juice that comes with Mississippi State and Alabama, the fact we've got six home games, and the regional appeal of our Conference USA home games with Louisiana Tech and UAB among others. There is a lot to like about this schedule."
The 2013 C-USA champion Rice Owls come to Hattiesburg to open the league slate, Sept. 27, after Southern Miss opens with four non-conference games. Southern Miss will also entertain Louisiana Tech (Oct. 25), the 2013 Military Bowl champion Marshall (Nov. 8) and UAB (Nov. 29) to complete the regular season.
After traveling to Murfreesboro, Tenn., to face Middle Tennessee (Oct. 4) to open road league play, the Golden Eagles then travel to the state of Texas three times later in the season to face Heart of Dallas Bowl champion North Texas (Oct. 18), UTEP (Nov. 1) and UTSA (Nov. 15).
"It should be another challenging Conference USA schedule this fall," said second-year coach Todd Monken. "Our team continues to work hard each and every day as we get closer to next season."
The 2014 alignment, featuring 13 teams, includes seven teams in the East Division and six teams in the West Division. FIU, Florida Atlantic, Marshall, Middle Tennessee, Old Dominion, UAB and WKU comprise the East Division, while Louisiana Tech, North Texas, Rice, Southern Miss, UTEP and UTSA make up the West Division.
Each school in the West Division will play every team in its division once for five games, while playing three cross-over opponents from the opposite division. Three schools in the East Division will play every team in its division once for six games, while playing two cross-over opponents from the opposite division. Four schools in the East Division will play five opponents in its division once for five games, while playing three cross-over opponents from the opposite division. East Division schools playing five division games were randomly selected by a computer scheduling application and two intra-division matchups in the East will not take place this season.
The 2014 schedule has 14 playing weeks, which provides for two open dates for each team. The schedule is a one-year model, meaning that as the conference lineup changes for the 2015 season with the addition of Charlotte, opponents may change and locations of games for that season are not yet determined.
A schedule of televised games will be released at a later date. Conference USA's national television partners are Fox Sports Media Group and CBS Sports Network for regular season games. The league's 10th annual Championship Game, pitting the champions of the East and West Divisions, is scheduled for Saturday, December 6 and will be televised by ESPN or ESPN 2.
The Golden Eagles open the 2014 season at Mississippi State on Aug. 30, before beginning the home portion of the schedule the following week, Sept. 6, against Alcorn State. Southern Miss then travels to Southeastern Conference foe Alabama on Sept. 13, before ending the non-conference portion of the schedule the following week at Roberts Stadium against Appalachian State.