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Conference USA releases 2020 football schedule

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The calendar reads 2020 and now Conference USA is ready to start filling in dates this fall for the upcoming football campaign.

In a release issued on Wednesday, the league announced dates and opponents for their 2020 football schedule. You can find team-by-team schedules here or the overall composite week-by-week schedule here.

CUSA will once again play eight conference games and will essentially see the league slate from last season flip venues from home to road. The divisional alignment is set to remain the same, with 14 teams split evenly across an East and West Division.

There will be plenty of new faces for the upcoming campaign in the conference, including at reigning champion Florida Atlantic after Lane Kiffin’s departure to Ole Miss and the hiring of former Florida State head coach Willie TaggartJeff Traylor also takes over at UTSA and Ricky Rahne will be the new head coach at Old Dominion.

The Conference USA title game is also scheduled for Saturday, December 5 and will mark the quite the anniversary as the league begins its 25th season of play on the gridiron.

After wrapping up 21st season as an assistant at Kansas, Clint Bowen named new North Texas defensive coordinator

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Clint Bowen is Kansas football. Kansas football is Clint Bowen. Sadly for both parties however, they will no longer be together come 2020.

There is a bit of a silver lining for one side though as the veteran assistant who has seen a lot of bad football over the years is leaving to take a position on the coaching staff of North Texas as defensive coordinator.

“First, I would like to thank Seth Littrell and Wren Baker for the opportunity to return to UNT,” Bowen said in a statement released on Thursday. “It had to be the perfect situation for me to leave KU and that is exactly what UNT offers. Coach Littrell is so well respected in the coaching profession and has established a foundation and culture at UNT that puts the program in position for tremendous success. I am excited to be a part of the future of Mean Green football.”

The move comes just as Bowen wraps up his 21st season with the program on the sidelines, the bulk of which have been spent coaching defensive backs. He has been one of the few constants for the Jayhawks the past two decades and served under Les Miles, David Beaty, Charlie Weis and Mark Mangino during his time on staff.

A former KU defensive back in the early 1990’s, the Lawrence native has spent nearly his entire coaching career at his alma mater and served as interim head coach when Weis was fired in 2014 (he went 1-7 while in charge). Bowen was originally hired as a graduate assistant after his playing days were over by Glen Mason and followed the coach that recruited him to Minnesota for one season in 1997. He coached a variety of positions under Mangino and eventually left in 2010 to serve as Western Kentucky defensive coordinator.

Bowen also spent another year with the Mean Green as Dan McCarney’s defensive coordinator as well. Now he’ll return to Denton in what is likely the same capacity for Littrell, who is set to make a host of additional changes to his staff after a disappointing 2019 saw the Conference USA favorites go 4-8 and miss out on a bowl game.

While you can’t fault a position coach for taking a coordinator gig elsewhere, even at a Group of Five school, the change still marks the end of an era for the Jayhawks as they open 2020 without a longtime stalwart around for the ride.

Marshall posts a league-high eight First Team All-Conference USA selections

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Florida Atlantic won the conference, but Marshall won the All-Conference USA team.

The Thundering Herd, who finished second to FAU in the East Division, placed eight players on the first team to FAU’s five. (However, three of the eight first-team Herd were specialists.)

The conference will not name individual awards until Wednesday, but here’s betting that Florida Atlantic will have the winner there. Sophomore quarterback Chris Robison threw for nearly 3,400 yards and 26 touchdowns, while tight end Harrison Bryant led all FBS tight ends with 61 grabs and 1,004 yards while scoring seven touchdowns.

Western Kentucky came in third with four first-team selections.


OFFENSE

QB- Chris Robison, R-So., Florida Atlantic
QB- J’Mar Smith, R-Sr., Louisiana Tech
RB- Benny LeMay, Sr., Charlotte
RB- Brenden Knox, R-So., Marshall
OL- Cameron Clark, R-Sr., Charlotte
OL- Junior Diaz, Gr., Florida Atlantic
OL- Brandon Walton, Sr., Florida Atlantic
OL- Levi Brown, R-Sr., Marshall
OL- Miles Pate, R-Sr., WKU
TE- Harrison Bryant, Sr., Florida Atlantic
WR- Jaelon Darden, Jr., North Texas
WR- Quez Watkins, R-Jr., Southern Miss
WR- Lucky Jackson, R-Sr., WKU

DEFENSE
DT- Channing Hames, R-Sr., Marshall
DT- Garrett Marino, R-Sr., UAB
DE- Alex Highsmith, R-Sr., Charlotte
DE- DeAngelo Malone, Jr., WKU
LB- Tavante Beckett, R-Jr., Marshall
LB- Blaze Alldredge, Jr., Rice
LB- Kristopher Moll, Jr., UAB
DB- Meiko Dotson, R-Jr., Florida Atlantic
DB- Amik Robertson, Jr., Louisiana Tech
DB- Chris Jackson, Sr., Marshall
DB- DQ Thomas, Sr., Southern Miss

SPECIAL TEAMS
K- Justin Rohrwasser, R-Sr., Marshall
P- John Haggerty, Jr., WKU
KR- Jaylond Adams, R-So., Southern Miss
PR- Talik Keaton, Fr., Marshall
LS – Matt Beardall, Sr., Marshall

North Texas fires both coordinators after 4-8 season

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When a team picked to win its conference finishes 4-8, heads tend to roll. And the craniums bounding down the hill at North Texas belong not to head coach Seth Littrell, but his top lieutenants.

The program announced Monday that offensive coordinator Bodie Reeder and defensive coordinator Troy Reffett will not return.

“It is difficult any time we don’t meet our own expectations as coaches and this was one of those years,” Littrell said in a statement. “I have a lot of respect for Troy and Bodie and I’m grateful for their passion for this program and their leadership of our student-athletes. Sometimes a different perspective is needed for the growth of a program, and I feel like this is one of those times.”

The 2020 season will be a major reset as, in addition to new coordinators, North Texas will also move on after losing 4-year starting quarterback Mason Fine to graduation.

The 4-year Littrell tenure has been wholly positive thus far in Denton, until this season. The Mean Green jumped by four wins in his first season of 2016, then jumped four more wins with a Conference USA West Division championship in 2017. But the Mean Green plateaued with a 9-4 record in 2018, then tumbled to 4-8 this fall.

Littrell will look to win his first conference championship in 2020, and he’ll do so with new coordinators at his side.

WATCH: After throwing seven TDs, Mason Fine conducts postgame presser in inflatable T-Rex costume

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This might be my most favorite press conference of the 2019 college football season thus far.  Check that; this is my most favorite press conference of the 2019 college football season thus far.

In North Texas’ 52-26 romp over UTEP, quarterback Mason Fine threw for 332 yards and seven touchdowns in pushing the Mean Green to 4-5 and within further earshot of bowl eligibility.  The touchdowns passes were easily a career-high for the senior, surpassing the four he had put up four times previously.

Where Fine really set himself apart, though, was in the postgame press conference where, in homage to Halloween, the quarterback showed up in an inflatable T-Rex costume.

Granted, I’m easily amused.  But that made me laugh.  A lot.  Probably a lot more than someone my age should.

That said, what’s better: Fine in the costume or Fine’s teammates acting like this is standard operating procedure for their quarterback?

Regardless of the actual answer, everybody wins.