Initially a merger between two smaller conferences which did not sponsor football at the time, C-USA added its 12th member in 1996 to even out the membership.
Though members have left in the ensuing years, most notably to the expansion of the Big East prior to the 2005 season, Conference USA responded admirably by extending invitations to schools from the mid-major WAC and MAC conferences. As of 2010, C-USA has 12 universities in its fold, is recognized nationally in athletics as well as academics, and has more football bowl tie-ins than any other mid-major conference.
University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Blazers
University of Central Florida (UCF) Golden Knights
East Carolina University (ECU) Pirates
Marshall University Thundering Herd
Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles
University of Houston Cougars
Rice University Owls
Southern Methodist University (SMU) Mustangs
University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) Miners
Tulane Green Wave
Tulsa Golden Hurricane
Fredo: Dude, Tulsa plays in Conference USA. They're not exactly the Big 12, but they have six automatic bowl tie-ins and super-high attendance. Don't be hatin'.
Guido: My bad, dawg.
(2) Tara: Like, OMG, my boyfriend loves the SEC but I can't stand their crazed, screaming fans all year long. What should I do?
Kara: You should pick a Conference USA school. It's, like, totally the same geographic region, n' junk? Except it's way more fun, a lot less redneck, and you can still go to a bowl game or NCAA basketball tournament that kicks ass!
Tara: That is SO cool! I'll look into that! For serious!