Keeping Score

C-USA Top 5: 1998 Tulane squad's undefeated season best in league history

Tulane's football history has been inconsistent at best, but the program lays claim to the best season in Conference USA history.

The Green Wave put together an incredible 1998 campaign, going 12-0 and finishing ranked seventh overall under head coach Tommy Bowden, who left for Clemson after the season.

There may have been better C-USA Teams before and after 1998, but that Tulane team deserves the right to stand atop top this version of C-USA Top 5.

Shaun King led the way for the Green Wave offense at quarterback, throwing to a pair of talented receivers in JaJuan Dawson and P.J. Franklin.

Here are you top five seasons in C-USA's 20-year history:

1. Tulane 1998 (12-0): The Green Wave fell short of earning a BCS bowl bid because it didn't beat a ranked team, but it was dominant throughout the season. With offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez calling the plays, Tulane put up big numbers and won every game by double digits. Tulane capped the season with a 41-27 win over BYU (9-5) in the Liberty Bowl and finished ranked seventh.

2. Louisville 2004 (11-1): Louisville destroyed the competition for much of the season, but a 41-38 loss at Miami prevented the Cardinals from an undefeated campaign. Louisville averaged 50 points a game behind quarterback Stefan LeFors and beat previously undefeated Boise State, 44-40, in the Liberty Bowl. Louisville finished ranked No. 6.

3. Southern Miss 2011 (12-2): The Golden Eagles were an offensive juggernaut and had one of the most opportunistic defenses in college football history. USM stubbed its toe on the road against Marshall and UAB to prevent a BCS bid, but stunned previously undefeated Houston, 49-28, in the C-USA title game. The Eagles finished ranked No. 20 with a win over Nevada in the Hawaii Bowl

4. Southern Miss 1997 (9-3): The 1999 and 1997 USM teams are almost interchangeable here, but the 1997 squad gets the edge because legendary coach Jeff Bower considers this team his best. USM's only three losses were on the road to Florida, Alabama and Tennessee. USM finished ranked 19th and pummeled Pittsburgh, 41-7, in the Liberty Bowl.

5. Houston 2011 (13-1): The Cougars' BCS bowl hopes were dashed and Heisman Trophy plans for quarterback Case Keenum came crashing down in the C-USA title game loss to USM. Houston managed to rebound with a win over Penn State in the TicketCity Bowl and finished ranked No. 18.

Also receiving consideration: 2001 Louisville (11-2), 2010 UCF (11-3) and 1999 Southern Miss (9-3).

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