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Dec 1, 2012; Tulsa, Ok, USA; An MVP trophy Liberty bowl trophy and CUSA trophy sit on a table during a game between the Tulsa Hurricanes and the University of Central Florida Knights at Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium. Tulsa defeated UCF 33-27 in overtime to win the CUSA Championship. Mandatory Credit: Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

July 1st, 2014

Today is the day.

It’s been a long time coming. It was months of speculation and waiting, and then excitement and waiting. But today, no more waiting. Western Kentucky University is now an official member of Conference USA.

Goodbye Louisiana (or Louisiana Lafayette, or whatever the heck you call yourself. I still hate you), South Alabama, Monroe, Troy and UALR. Hello, again, to FAU, FIU, North Texas, and of course, Middle Tennessee. We also say hello to some old rivals (UNC-Charlotte and Old Dominion), as well as new ones (Southern Miss, Rice, and Marshall).

The Tops will (hopefully) no longer get passed over for bowl opportunities. The Tops can have a magnificent regular season on the hardwood, and can sleep at night well knowing that an at-large bid isn’t out of the question. And, probably most importantly, if you aren’t in the Bowling Green area, Fox Sports 1 and CBS Sports Network, the Tops will get a lot…and I mean a lot…of national coverage, recognition and attention.

Yes, this is the first step for WKU to play with the big boys – I mean the real big boys – but it also will come with some growing pains. Be prepared for that. You can’t expect the big fish from a little pond to jump into the big pond and have the same type of success. But, why we won’t expect it, it’ll sure be fun to see me be proven wrong on that.

But, let’s not think of that. Today is a happy day. Hello, Conference USA.

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