The Southern Miss football team is expected to contend for a Conference USA championship in 2016 and it has a favorable conference schedule to do so.
C-USA released the schedules for each of its 13 football teams on Thursday.
The Golden Eagles will have a four-game non-conference slate - a road game at Kentucky on Sept. 3, a home game against Savannah State on Sept. 10, a contest against Troy in Hattiesburg on Sept. 17 and a road game at LSU on Oct. 15.
The bye week on Oct. 22 will give USM a chance to rest following the tough trip to Baton Rouge.
The best news for USM in its conference schedule is that the two best teams it will likely face in 2016, Louisiana Tech and Marshall, both have to travel to Hattiesburg.
USM will host Marshall, which is coming off a 10-3 season, on Oct. 29 and Louisiana Tech on Nov. 26 in the regular season finale.
There's a good chance USM and Louisiana Tech will again battle for the C-USA West. The Golden Eagles won in Ruston, La., in the 2015 regular season finale, 58-24, to take the West Division.
With Marshall likely the favorite to win the C-USA East, Southern Miss will have a good chance to clinch home field for the C-USA title game with a win over Marshall.
The other two conference home games are Rice on Oct. 1 and Charlotte on Nov. 5.
Southern Miss will not face one opponent who had a winning record in 2015 in its four conference road games. The four road opponents went a combined 14-34 in 2015.
Southern Miss goes to UTEP on Sept. 24, UTSA on Oct. 8, Old Dominion on Nov. 12 and North Texas on Nov. 19.
Southern Miss is coming off a 9-5 season that included a C-USA West title and a trip to the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
Todd Monken stepped down as USM head coach last month and his replacement, Alcorn State's Jay Hopson, was announced on Saturday.
Southern Miss returns three-year starter Nick Mullens for his senior season at quarterback and plenty of talent on both sides of the ball.
SOUTHERN MISS SCHEDULE
Sept. 3 at Kentucky
Sept. 10 SAVANNAH STATE
Sept. 17 TROY
Sept. 24 at UTEP
Oct. 1 RICE
Oct. 8 at UTSA
Oct. 15 at LSU
Oct. 22 BYE
Oct. 29 MARSHALL
Nov. 5 CHARLOTTE
Nov. 12 at Old Dominion
Nov. 19 at North Texas
Nov. 26 LOUISIANA TECH