On Monday, the Broncos’ conference home and away matchups were released for the 2013 year in their inaugural Big East season, and there is a lot to learn about the Bronco’s opponents; some who the Broncos have history with, and some that they will get to know.
University of Houston Cougars:
The University of Houston is a program that has been on the same wavelength as the Broncos the past few years. Being a mid-major power led by a Heisman candidate quarterback, the Cougars are on a down year, going 5-7 (4-4 Conference USA) following a 13-1 season where a late loss snubbed them from a BCS bowl, something the Broncos know all too well.
University of Louisville Cardinals:
A current member of the Big East, until they move into the ACC in 2014, Louisville will be taking on Florida in the Sugar Bowl on January 2nd. They are the current conference champions following a 10-2 season led by their stout, top 20 defense. The Broncos have some history with Louisville, going 1-1 against the Cardinals; the most recent, a 44-40 loss in the 2004 Liberty Bowl in a matchup between two top 15 teams.
University of Memphis Tigers:
Another member of Conference USA making the transition, Memphis is still a basketball focused school, and it has shown in recent years in their football program. Going a combined 9-39 in the past four years, the Tigers have not had a winning season since 2007. On the rise this season however, Memphis could be moving in the right direction to help the strength of the conference.
Rutgers University Scarlet Knights:
Since the emergence of their former coach and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach, Greg Schiano, Rutgers has been a contender in more recent years, having just one losing record since 2005. Rutgers was in contention for a BCS bowl this season until a late season stunning loss to Pittsburgh ended their hopes. 2013 will also be Rutgers final season in the Big East, as they will move to the Big 10 in 2014.
University of Cincinnati Bearcats:
Historically another basketball focused school, Cincinnati has been successful on the football field in recent years, having just one losing season since 2006, a run that included two BCS appearances in the 2008 Orange Bowl, and the 2009 Sugar Bowl. Two of the Bearcats three losses came to top 25 foes Louisville and Rutgers, both in one possession contests.
San Diego State University Aztecs:
A program that will be the Broncos west coast partner in the Big East conference expansion, this matchup has all the makings for a new rivalry with Boise State. Winning a share of the Mountain West Conference title this year with a 9-3 record (7-1 MWC), the Aztecs are set up to take on BYU in the Poinsettia Bowl. The Broncos are 1-1 all time vs. SDSU, the most recent being a 21-19 loss at Bronco Stadium this season, which likely cost the Bronco’s a BCS berth.
Southern Methodist University Mustangs:
Another Conference USA member, SMU will bring in the Texas market. Following back-to-back 1-11 (0-8 C-USA) seasons in 2007 and 2008, former University of Hawaii head coach June Jones took the reigns in Dallas after leading Hawaii to a Sugar Bowl appearance. Since Jones took over, the Mustangs have gone 29-23, with four consecutive bowl appearances including two wins in those bowl games.
Temple University Owls:
Another current Big East member, Temple finished the 2012 season in second-to-last place in the conference, going 4-7 (2-5 Big East). Hiring coach Steve Addazio in 2011, Temple has gone 9-4, and 4-7, respectively in Addazio’s two years at the helm after head coach Al Golden left the program to take the head coaching job a the University of Miami. 2012 was Temple’s first losing season since 2008.