A Look At The New Conference USA

A new league, the sixth change for Marshall University since helping to form today's West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in 1925, is on the horizon for the Herd. Conference USA welcomed Marshall along with Rice, SMU, Tulsa and UCF to the fold on Wednesday morning. These schools replace Louisville, Cincinnati, DePaul, Marquette, and USF who all joined the Big East on Tuesday. Here is a brief outline of each new member joining the Herd and a list of the existing members of CUSA.

Rice University. Location: Houston, Texas. Founded: 1912. Enrollment: 4,785. Nickname: Owls. Colors: Blue and Grey. Stadium: Rice Stadium (70,000). Arena: Autry Court (5,000). Sponsors: Eight sports for men, eight sports for women. Athletic website: riceowls.com. Famous alums: Sam Reed, CEO Keebler Cookies and Jim Newman, NASA Astronaut. Notable: Won 2003 NCAA Division I baseball championship. Number one in value among nation's private universities by "Kiplinger's Personal Finanace." Named nation's "Coolest" college by Seventeen Magazine in 2002. First artificial heart developed at Rice. Currently: 2-2 WAC (sixth of 10), 2-6 overall football.

Southern Methodist University (or SMU). Location: Dallas, Texas. Founded: 1911. Enrollment: 10,038. Nickname: Mustangs. Colors: Red and Blue. Stadium: Gerald J. Ford Stadium (32,000). Arena: Moody Coliseum (8,998). Sponsors: Eight men's and nine women's sports. Athletic website: smumustangs.com. Famous Alums: First Lady Laura Bush, PGA golfer Payne Stewart, and pro football players Doak Walker, Craig James and Eric Dickerson. Notable: Student-athlete graduation rate of 95.7 percent. Finished 41st of 265 Division I programs in 2002-03 NACDA Cup, eighth among private schools and third in Texas. Seven of varsity sports were in Top 25 polls last year and four student-athletes won NCAA individual titles. Won WAC's inaugural Commissioner's Cup for overall best athletic program. Currently: 0-6 WAC, 0-9 overall football.

The University of Tulsa. Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma. Founded: 1894. Enrollment: 4,100. Nickname: Golden Hurricane. Colors: Royal Blue, Gold and Crimson Red. Stadium: Skelly Stadium (40,385). Arena: Donald W. Reynolds Center (8,355). Sponsors: Eight sports for men and nine for women. Website: tulsahurricane.com. Famous Alums: Former NFL player and congressman Steve Largent, LPGA golfer Nancy Lopez, former NFL player Drew Pearson, actor Gailard Sartain and author S.E. Hinton (The Outsiders). Notable: Four Goldwater Scholarships in 2002-03 (maximum to any school in one year is four) and 30 since 1995. A Top 100 National Doctorate University. Played in five straight bowls from January 1, 1942 (Sun Bowl, 1/1/43 (Sugar Bowl), 1/1/44 (Sugar Bowl), 1/1/45 (Orange Bowl) and 1/1/46 (Oil Bowl), first school to ever have five straight years with bowl appearances on New Year's Day. Basketball program has produced coaches Nolan Richardson and J.D. Barnett and 18 trips to post-season since 1981 (13 NCAA, five NIT appearances) and won NIT in 1981 and 2000. Has had three "Sweet Sixteen" appearances in last 10 years and 131 wins in last five years is sixth nationally. Currently: 3-2 WAC (tied fourth), 5-4 overall.

University of Central Florida (or UCF). Location: Orlando, Florida. Founded: 1963. Enrollment: 42,000. Nickname: Golden Knights. Colors: Gold and Black. Stadium: Citrus Bowl (70,000). Arena: UCF Arena (5,100). Sponsors: Eight sports for men, nine for women. Website: ucfathletics.com. Famous Alums: NFL player Daunte Culpepper, Texas Rangers GM/VP John Hart, NASA Director of Space Shuttle Program William Parsons and Miss America 2003-04 Ericka Sunlap. Notable: Won nine all-sports trophies in Atlantic Sun Conference and 45 team titles in 10 years. 26 players have signed with NFL teams since 1998, including nine off 2002 roster. UCF is the second largest university in the US southeast and 15th largest in the nation, expecting 48,000 by 2010. In research, UCF is approaching the 100 million dollar mark and has been awarded over 100 patents. Currently: 2-3 MAC (tied fourth), 3-6 overall (play MU in Orlando on Wednesday, Nov. 19, at 8:00 p.m. on ESPN).

Current members and current football standings (BOLD will be members in 2005 for football, at least for now, * to Big East and @out of league in 2004):
TCU5-0, 8-0 (#12 poll)
Louisville*3-1, 7-1 (#25 poll)
MEMPHIS3-2, 6-3
South Florida*3-2, 5-3
UAB3-2, 4-5
HOUSTON2-2, 5-3
Cincinnati*2-3, 4-4
TULANE1-4, 3-6
Army@0-7, 0-9

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