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Temple & WKU to MAC Rumors

Category: expansion, Featured News, MAC Expansion & Realignment

Some rumblings by The Spectrum (Buffalo). But I think they might be basing their reports on something Andy Katz wrote about in 2008, not recently. I think this is the case because in 2008 I wrote a similar blurb based on the same Andy Katz article.

There was more talk about expanding the league to 14 teams with adding Temple (Atlantic 10 for all sports but football) and Western Kentucky (Sun Belt) as full members. Temple plays a MAC schedule in football and has added MAC nonconference games for basketball. This kind of decision would be made for football, but if they did ever join the league in hoops, it would make this league even tougher and potentially put it in position to earn multiple bids (which hasn’t happened since 1999).

WKU has always seemed like a logical fit. Although Marshall was a logical fit as well. But when given the opportunity to join CUSA, they did. While the Sunbelt is not as attractive as CUSA, WKU is in a good situation: they could stay put and if the Sunbelt ever imploded due to moves by it’s current members, WKU could then move to the MAC.

Temple is another story.

The Atlantic 10 has been an ideal home for Temple. And this year alone, there were 6 teams going into the final month of basketball play poised for NCAA bids. Even with collapses by Charlotte, URI and Dayton, the A10 still will get 3 teams in. If URI or Dayton advance to the A10 finals, they will potentially get an at-large bid as well. The MAC might be too much a step down for Temple at this time. Right now, they can succeed in MAC football and A10 basketball, and improve their profile should the Big East ever split and need a Philadelphia presence.

If WKU were to join the MAC, the Sunbelt might be more aggressive in their pursuit of UTSA or Texas St, which have considered an upgrade. Other targets might be Georgia St. or Charlotte whom are launching football and hope to one day be FBS level.

If Temple were to leave the A10, the conference might just remain at 13 members. If they were to expand to 14, the A10 might revisit schools they once considered such as Butler, Detroit, Boston University and ODU.

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  • bevo

    Why did Marshall leave MAC?

    To get to the Big East. Seriously. They have had that dream since the late 1990s.

  • I don't see the Big East adding a MAC school either.

    In my opinion, if the Big East loses Rutgers and Syracuse to the Big Ten, then the remaining six would be better off trying to team up with other existing leagues than just plugging and replacing. Memphis, UCF, ECU, and any other usual suspects are no replacement for schools with such a presence in New York. Some say "the Memphis market" would be an asset. No it wouldn't; metro Memphis is NOT that big. As for football quality, they're nowhere near the level that, for example, Louisville was when it joined the league. They're barely even among the top ten best NON-BCS programs; I'd rank TCU, BYU, Utah, Boise, Houston, Central Michigan, and Nevada ahead of all of them.

    If the ACC were at all willing to expand once again, they'd take UConn & Pitt, but not anyone else. I'm 100% certain about that. The ACC takes pride in its standards for academics. All ACC schools are Tier 1. Among the six and none of the others would make the cut. (They would also add very minimal TV market value compared to what it already has.)

    If the ACC doesn't call for anyone, then the remaining six should, individually, lobby for the Big 12 to take them in. I happen to think it could work. Such an expansion could immediately give the Big 12 a presence in new, surprising places like Pittsburgh, New England, SE Ohio/Kentucky, and/or Florida. Besides, if the Big 12 loses one or more teams to the Pac-10 or Big Ten, it would need replacements, and who better than teams who are ALREADY at the BCS level?

    Whoever doesn't get accepted into the Big 12 would have few alternatives than to build an alliance with the Mountain West. (This idea's been tossed around on this site before.)

    Think that's crazy? Well consider this: If you're the president of the University of West Virginia, and you've just lost one of your most valued programs in Syracuse, despite its struggles over the past decade, AND you've lost a program that can capture the New York market in Rutgers, at least when they're winning, would you rather be doing business in a league with established programs like Oklahoma, Texas A&M;, Kansas, K-State, and hopefully Texas, or would you rather stay in a league in which four of the schools have been at the BCS level only since 2005 (L'ville, Cincy, USF, & UConn), only to add two more unproven programs? I'd try to go the Big 12.

    And the Big 12, if it loses, say Colorado and Nebraska, would be smart to add BYU, but no one else near them would add as much value as a Big East team. TCU would add next to nothing–not in terms of football quality– because virtually no new viewers would tune into the Big 12 in Texas than it already gets.

  • What's in it for Temple to move to the MAC? Seriously: what's their motive for leaving the A-10? We know they'd be on TV less often. We know they'd leave behind rivalries they've had for years.

    WKU might make more sense. The Sun Belt seems to me the rock-bottom conference in the FBS. The MAC, by contrast, seems to have much more stability and cohesiveness between its members. Most schools are around the same size, and all are public. The Sun Belt has huge schools like FIU and FAU, mid-size like MTSU, and small ones like Denver. I could see why WKU would accept an offer from the MAC.

    That leads me to a question perhaps someone could help me with: Why did Marshall leave MAC? Marshall was extremely successful in the MAC but has mostly struggled since leaving. Its rivalries were much closer, while ECU, the closest C-USA opponent, is about as far as its farthest MAC opponent.

  • Perhaps. But I still think it's just a case where The Spectrum used a Katz blog article from 2008 = old news.

    And I don't think there is any scenario in my lifetime where a MAC school would be a Big East candidate…not when virtually all the CUSA schools are better options from a market and success standpoint.

  • This could be the MAC making the first move before the Big East takes a couple of its schools. They would be a great addition for the MAC in basketball. The likely schools that the Big East would take would be Ohio, Kent State, and perhaps Buffalo. They could possibly take other schools, but those would be the top targets if the Big East wants to expand after possibly losing Pittsburgh or Rutgers. This is all hinging on what the Big Ten wants to do.


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