Earlier this summer, C-USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky discussed his strategies for keeping the conference's head above water with realignment and preparing for future rounds of television rights negotiations. C-USA has this season and two more before those contracts expire. Many of the teams he invited into the league, he invited more for their potential than past success.
Banowsky offered the example of UCF, how it was a football-only MAC team whose brand grew in stature before the school flitted off to the American.
"I think we'll see the same thing with some of these new brands that have been underexposed in the past," he said. "I think once we get those brands broadened with greater exposure, the idea is we'll have greater affinity and greater connection that will help us when we go back out."
But when more eyes are watching your teams get tagged by an FCS opponent, is that really a good thing?
For a conference like C-USA, how your football teams do in the non-conference schedule is a major factor. If you schedule right, the top C-USA teams can reach at least eight wins by splitting a four-game non-conference slate and going 6-2 in the conference. On paper, those teams can look solid.
Yet in reality, they're feasting on each other while falling short against higher-caliber foes.
After three weeks, mostly of non-conference games, there are no undefeated teams left in Conference USA. It's the only FBS conference that can say that. Three C-USA teams are winless.
Four more are 1-2. When those TV contracts come up again, C-USA will have the benefit of being anchored in major markets like Miami, Dallas and Charlotte. But when that team in Miami - Florida International - is getting outscored 115-23 in its first three games, how big of a footprint will it leave?
C-USA has the benefit of time. The lackluster programs will get the chance to climb out of the morass. But with the depths that some of programs find themselves, will the three years they're getting be enough time?
Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at derek.r...@dailymail.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.