2005 Football Schedule Heralds New Era For Tulane

"I feel almost like we're the team going into a new conference with all the new teams on this schedule," said Head Coach Chris Scelfo, who enters his seventh season at the helm of the Tulane program in 2005. "I expect this new league to be very competitive as the new teams come in with a lot of tradition and many similarities to us. The schedule offers a good home and away balance, building up to the championship game at the end of the season "

NEW ORLEANS – The upcoming changes in Conference USA hit home Thursday as the Green Wave released its 2005 football schedule featuring seven "new" opponents, including six of its new league foes.

Tulane will play eight Conference USA games in 2005 as it takes up residence in the league's West Division along with UTEP, Rice, Houston, SMU and Tulsa. Tulane will play each of those teams on an annual basis as well as three "crossover" opponents from the East. For 2005 and 2006, those crossover opponents are UCF, Marshall and Southern Miss. Of those eight teams, only Southern Miss and Houston were members of C-USA along with Tulane in 2004.

"I feel almost like we're the team going into a new conference with all the new teams on this schedule," said Head Coach Chris Scelfo, who enters his seventh season at the helm of the Tulane program in 2005. "I expect this new league to be very competitive as the new teams come in with a lot of tradition and many similarities to us. The schedule offers a good home and away balance, building up to the championship game at the end of the season "

Conference USA will play a championship game for the first time in 2005 as the top teams from the East and West divisions will meet on the first weekend in December. The team with the highest conference winning percentage will play host to the title game.

"We've been eager to get this schedule and are eager to begin competition in the West Division of Conference USA next year," said Athletic Director Rick Dickson. "We're looking forward to beginning to develop some great natural rivalries with teams like Rice, SMU and Tulsa. We're also pleased to be able to continue our long-standing series with Southern Mississippi and anticipate being able to keep them on the schedule."

In fact, Tulane opens the 2005 season versus Southern Miss in Hattiesburg on Sunday, Sept. 4 in a game scheduled for national television broadcast by ESPN or ESPN2. The two teams have met in each of the last 26 seasons.

Following the only open date of the 2005 season on Sept. 10, Tulane will play host to SEC foe Mississippi State on Sept. 17 before traveling to Dallas, Texas to meet SMU Sept. 24.

Tulane will play four home games in October, beginning with an Oct. 1 contest versus new intrastate foe Southeastern Louisiana as the two teams meet for the first time since the 1951 season. The Green Wave then welcomes C-USA's Houston and UTEP to New Orleans on Oct. 8 and Oct. 14, respectively. The game versus the Miners, scheduled for either ESPN or ESPN2 national broadcast, marks the first time Tulane will host a Friday night game.

Tulane closes out October versus new C-USA East Division members UCF and Marshall, traveling to Orlando for a Oct. 22 match-up with the Golden Knights before playing host to the Thundering Herd in the first-ever meeting between the teams. Scelfo spent six seasons at the Huntington, W.Va., school as offensive line coach and then offensive coordinator from 1990-95 when Marshall was a I-AA power.

Tulane and Navy continue a long-standing non-conference series as the teams meet for the 13th time in the last 14 years on Nov. 5 in Annapolis. Tulane was one of only two teams to claim a win over the 10-2 Midshipmen last year, handing them a 42-10 defeat in the Superdome.

"With Mississippi State, Navy and Southeastern Louisiana as our non-conference opponents, we have a nice blend with the intra-state rival in Southeastern, an SEC school in Mississippi State and Navy, which won 10 games a year ago," Scelfo said. "Southeastern has done a nice job building their program in a short time span and it will be fun for fans of both teams with the schools just 45 minutes away from each other."

After closing out its non-conference schedule, the Green Wave makes the first of its now annual trips to Houston with a road game at Rice on Nov. 12 before finishing the regular season at home versus Tulsa on Nov. 19.

Game times and sites for Tulane's 2005 home schedule, along with season ticket information and further details on television broadcasts, will be released at a later date.


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