Sept. 27, 2005
IRVING, Texas -
Conference USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky announced today that the conference has future commitments with all five of its current bowl partners, the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, GMAC Bowl, Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl, Wyndham New Orleans Bowl and the Fort Worth Bowl, beginning in 2006.
"The Conference feels that our winning teams deserve an opportunity to participate in the postseason and these agreements will afford us those opportunities, particularly given the more favorable BCS policies," Banowsky said. "We are fortunate to have good football programs and great bowl partners. It is helpful that most of our bowls are within the footprint of our conference, allowing fans easy travel to support their teams. We are also pleased that our bowls will avoid conflicts with our student-athletes' final examinations."
It is important to note that beginning in 2006, a Conference USA champion may qualify for the Bowl Championship Series if ranked in the final BCS Top 12 or, in the BCS Top 16 and ranked higher than a team which receives automatic qualification.
Since partnering with the AutoZone Liberty Bowl in C-USA's inaugural season in 1996, the conference regular season champion has participated in the Memphis bowl game and posted a 7-3 record against opponents.
"We are particularly excited about renewing our relationship with the AutoZone Liberty Bowl and being able to continue to place a championship caliber team in that bowl," Banowsky added.
"On behalf of the C-USA athletic directors, I can say we are all pleased with these bowl agreements," said Richard Giannini, athletics director at Southern Miss and chair of the C-USA Bowl subcommittee. "We look forward to working with all the great folks at these bowls and know our teams will have a wonderful postseason experience."
The league has partnered with the GMAC Bowl since its inception in 1999. C-USA has been a part of the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl and Wyndham New Orleans Bowl for each of the last three seasons, while playing in the Fort Worth Bowl during its first two years.
The Conference continues to explore additional postseason opportunities for its teams.
Competition is off to a strong start among the new Conference USA membership this season. C-USA will host its first conference championship game on Dec. 3, 2005, pitting the East Division and West Division champions against one another.
"We have hosted the top team from the conference's inception and we look forward to continuing to build our partnership with C-USA."
Steve Ehrhart, Executive Director, AutoZone Liberty Bowl
"We have partnered with Conference USA since our bowl's inception and have enjoyed some outstanding competition in our bowl's young history. We look forward to many great games involving C-USA teams in the future."
Jerry Silverstein, President, GMAC Bowl
"The Sheraton Hawaii Bowl is excited to extend our relationship with Conference USA. Since the inception of the game, Conference USA has been a tremendous partner and their football teams have given our fans compelling games. We look forward to Conference USA teams providing our fans with very exciting and competitive post-season football."
Jim Donovan, Executive Director, Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl
"We have enjoyed a fabulous partnership with Conference USA and we are excited about extending our relationship for four more years. We look forward to building on this mutually beneficial relationship in the future."
Jay Cicero, President/CEO, Wyndham New Orleans Bowl
"We are extremely pleased to extend our relationship with Conference-USA, which has been a great partner of the Fort Worth Bowl since its inception With a full complement of 12 teams, including four from the state of Texas, C-USA is a natural opponent for our other league partner, the Mountain West Conference. These two fast-growing and innovative intercollegiate alliances have both become known for playing an exciting brand of football, which will be a real treat for our fans in the Metroplex."
Tom Starr, Executive Director, Fort Worth Bowl