It's the end of C-USA as we know it

Originally Published: November 7, 2003
By Eric Crawford | Special to
Life as C-USA knows it changed forever this week when five schools - Louisville, Cincinnati, South Florida, Marquette and DePaul - accepted invitations to join the Big East while C-USA picked up SMU, Tulsa, Rice, Marshall and Central Florida.

But the changes aren't expected to take place until 2005-06, and the league wasted no time getting on with the present. Just one day after the blockbuster announcements, Louisville and TCU staged the first game between ranked opponents in C-USA's history, and it lived up to its billing when No. 12-ranked TCU kept its Bowl Championship Series hopes alive by beating No. 25 Louisville 31-28 when a 44-yard field goal attempt by Louisville's Nate Smith bounced off the crossbar when time expired.

The win keeps TCU knocking on the BCS door, and keeps the conference title race a clear two-horse race, with the championship coming down to a matchup of conference unbeatens when TCU faces Southern Miss in Hattiesburg in a Thursday, Nov. 20, ESPN game in prime time.