— IRVING, Texas (AP) — North Texas coach Dan McCarney knows there are 14 football teams this season in Conference USA, the Mean Green's new league.
Asked if he could name them all, McCarney chuckled and said he might take him while.
"But I know there's 14 this year, I think there's 13 next year, and hopefully we'll be back to 14 the next year after that," McCarney said Wednesday at C-USA media day. "I'm just trying to piece it all together, I know who's on our schedule, West, East, who's coming, who's going."
The Mean Green are among six new teams in Conference USA, which this fall spans across nine states. The league got bigger even with the departures of Houston, Memphis, SMU and UCF to the Big East, whose football members later became the American Athletic Conference.
Three more teams — defending C-USA champion Tulsa, Tulane and East Carolina — are headed to the American Athletic Conference next year, when Old Dominion and Western Kentucky arrive. Conference USA expects to be back to 14 football teams when Charlotte begins play in 2015.
"If you're involved with coaching football, you're in the ever-changing landscape of conference affiliation," said first-year Southern Miss coach Todd Monken, who was aware of the pending changes when he took over a Golden Eagles team that didn't win a game last season.
Southern Miss and Tulane are the only schools remaining from when the league debuted with six teams in 1996. The Green Wave leave after this season.
"I sat here last year, same table, same place. I watched Houston, Memphis, all those guys, and I said I hope I never have to ask those questions, and here you are asking me," second-year Tulane coach Curtis Johnson said. "You've got to take the old raider attitude, just wherever you play, wherever you go, whoever lines up against you, you have to play those guys, play those opponents, prepare your team and prepare yourself."