Conference USA has been operating under 13 teams since last year (#FreeUAB). Due to the conference still wishing to pursue an 8-game conference schedule while still wishing to see C-USA East teams play two C-USA West teams on a rotating basis, it’s created an imbalanced schedule for some teams in C-USA East.
Two East Division matchups had to be removed in order to create a balanced schedule. According to Conference USA Assistant Commissioner for Football Operations Russ Anderson, a computer program generates the C-USA schedule for each team and at the time of determining which two matchups would be removed the program at random chose MTSU-ODU and Charlotte-WKU.
Last year’s scheduling quirk largely went unnoticed as Western Kentucky dominated the conference making tiebreakers a moot point but this year we could potentially see the scheduling quirk come into play.
If ODU defeats WKU this weekend but loses one game down the stretch (at UTEP, vs Marshall, vs Southern Miss, at FAU, vs FIU) and MTSU runs the table (at FIU, vs UTSA, at Marshall, at Charlotte, vs FAU) we would have two teams tied for first place without playing each other.
Per Conference USA, these are the tiebreakers for determining who wins a division.
1. Highest regular season winning percentage based on overall Conference USA play.
2. If tied, head to head between tied teams.
3. If still tied, highest winning percentage within division.
4. If still tied, compare records against divisional opponents in descending order of
5. If still tied, compare records with common cross-divisional opponents.
6. If still tied, compare records against cross-divisional opponents in descending order
7. If still tied, team with highest CFP ranking.
With one and two off the board, we could potentially see the third and even fourth tiebreaker scenario coming into the picture to determine who would win C-USA East.
If you’re rooting for chaos and bizarre tiebreakers to determine who plays for a conference title, root for Old Dominion and Middle Tennessee to tie for first place.