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 Post subject: MAC realignment
PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2003 2:48 pm 
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Since the MAC is a target to be raided for schools by other conferences, and could suffer from new or proposed rules, they need a thread. Here it is.


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 Post subject: MAC realignment
PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2003 3:04 pm 
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MAC Raided? By who a 1-AA conference. How many of their schools will hit the new 1-A standards for attendance? Say goodbye to Buffalo, E Mich, Kent St, Ohio, Cent Mich and possibly others. ::)


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 Post subject: MAC realignment
PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2003 3:09 pm 
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I will start out on a positive note. This suggestion was origionally designed to cure a problem that the SEC had.

When you have 2 divisions, you can have a problem with teams in different divisions not playing each other very much. To stop this you can have 1 team in each division swap divisions every year. In a 12 team conference, a 2 year swap would have each team spend 2/3rds of in its origional division and 1/3 in the other. Each team could still have 1 team in each division that they played every year.(Traditional opponents in SEC parlance-very important there.)

To accomidate a 14 team conference, you could either drop the traditional opponents, or change the duration of the swap. Either way, you play every team fairly often.

Now for the negative. How long will it be b4 Marshall gets a chance to move up to a BCS conference? ???

FBfan


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 Post subject: MAC realignment
PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2003 2:26 am 
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the old 16-team wac tried the switching division system, and they hated it. that was the biggest reason the 8 teams bolted for the mwc. when you have established rivalries, then take them away in place of newer, less-established games, the whole conference suffers.

the mac used to be one of those conferences where everyone played everyone else, until they started adding teams. akron in '92, northern illinois and marshall in '97, buffalo in '99 and now central florida. well, you can say three of the teams improved the league, at least.

the funny thing is, so far it's kind of working. i don't know how buffalo is fitting in, but the marshall-toledo and marshall-miami (oh) games are turning into true rivalries. and northern illinois is holding up its end.

but still, a 14-team conference is ghastly.

i see only two teams that could legitimately be "raided" -- marshall and ucf. but neither is going anywhere until we find out what happens after 2005. i have serious doubts that many of the mac schools will be relegated to division 1-aa. possibly buffalo. kent should be, but its basketball program is too valuable. eastern michigan as well. honestly, i have a strong feeling that at least 11 of the current members will still be in the mac in 2006 and beyond.


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 Post subject: MAC realignment
PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2003 1:21 pm 
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Ty-Bull,
You have admit that going to a 9 team conference would be a MAJOR realignment! ;) However, I think that Sbro is right about the number of teams dropping to 1AA. See the new poll thread. Most of the responders think that there will only be a handfull of teams will drop. As for raiding, see Sbro's post or my reply.

Sbro,
My thoughts on raiding were based on Marshall. It is IMHO the only big time team in the MAC. UCF if making strides, and may be a target soon, but only Marshall has a real chance at this time to knock off a top 10 team IMHO. If they leave, the MAC will have no excuse to complain about being left out of any future play off.

My idea of the rotating between divisons was influenced by the SEC. I developed it for them. TN traditionally played more SEC west teams than east teams. As a TN fan, I would like to see more games against the SEC west and fewer against the east. The idea had 2 merits.
One concerned expanding to 14 teams, which was why I put it on the MAC tread. In the SEC, you already had long term rivalries established. I was trying to keep them. Yhis would not be true for other conferences.

The other, is that in a 12 team league like the SEC, you could still have a good rotation with only 7 games. The other game would be scheduled against a BCS school that requires home and home, leaving the last three games available for a 2 for 1 with non BCS schools. This would help some non BCS schools to get home games. Hopefully, all of the non BCS schools that would be in the top 50 would be able to schedule at least 2 BCS schools. Then they could either earn a spot in the BCS, or more often than not, get beat.

FBfan



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 Post subject: MAC realignment
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2003 2:21 am 
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I'm not sure just how many can stay 1-A over the long haul even if Marshall, Toledo or Central Florida aren't cherry-picked by another conference.

In addition to the above three, I don't think that Ohio, Western Michigan and Miami have too much to worry about. Maybe that list could be expanded to include Central Michigan, Northern Illinois and Bowling Green. I would also guess that Ball State will make it the first year but what about future years?

There needs to be a lot of work to maintain a nine or ten team league. If C-USA picks off 2-4 teams, I have serious doubts that eight teams could have 15,000 every year to keep their conference status.

There really isn't a lot available except Troy State and perhaps Middle Tennessee. C-USA could turn down Temple and that would be another possibility.

The MAC has had considerable improvement on the field; now it needs to transfer some of that success to the stands.


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 Post subject: MAC realignment
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2003 9:37 am 
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I agree it'll probably take until 2006, but I think both Marshall and UCF are heading out. UCF is really ambitious, and if the BE is expanding in a few years, they'll put the full court press on them. Actually winning the MAC would really help them out, since they don't bring tradition, basketball, or fan support with them. Despite being a one-trick pony, I'll be shocked if C-USA doesn't go after Marshall. The quality of football in the MAC (even if the talent is a notch below) really isn't much different than C-USA. Promising teams like Louisville, So. Miss, and ECU rarely put things together in the same season. Marshall would take a slight step up in competition, but would also receive a boost in recruiting (IMO). By the time they join, TCU will have made a case for moving up to the Big 12, and USF may have several bowls behind them. I don't think any other MAC squads will head out, though Toledo would be interesting in C-USA. The Big 10 will continue to inflate the attendance figures at several of the schools to keep them afloat for a while, but if the Big 10 ever goes to 12 members, that might change.


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 Post subject: MAC realignment
PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2003 9:52 am 
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To be honest I have no clue what mac may look like in 5 years. 3 to 5 teams on bottom will not make new standards. You may be able to gain 1 or 2 from sunbelt. Marshall is ready for a step up right now. Ucf is working on building a 13 thou bb arena and could easily add seats to new baseball stadium. Think they will step up within 5 years. Mac has improved over last few but afraid its going to take big step backwards.


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 Post subject: MAC realignment
PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2003 4:55 pm 
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;D thought this needed to be moved back up the list. I know mac fans are few n far between.... so were back!!!!


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 Post subject: MAC realignment
PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2003 10:46 pm 
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MAC Raided? By who a 1-AA conference. How many of their schools will hit the new 1-A standards for attendance? Say goodbye to Buffalo, E Mich, Kent St, Ohio, Cent Mich and possibly others. ::)


You've got your list wrong.

CentMich hasn't fallen below any discussed minimum average attendance level - even when they were winning only 1-2 games per year. Even in bad years they draw over 18,000. In good years, they draw over 21,000. Pretty stable, by any standards. Ohio and Miami(OH) are about the same. Toledo, Marshall and WestMich have better, more consistant attendance. UCF has a short history - but they average over 17,000 consistently. 2 MAC teams have attedance that fluctuates above and below 17,000 - depending on their record - BGSU and BallSt. Presently BGSU is over 17,000 - and BallSt is under 17,000.

Buffalo, KentSt, Akron and EMU are all consistently below 17,000.

The other 9 (Marshall, UCF, Miami(OH), Ohio, WestMich, CentMich, Toledo, BGSU, NoIll) are in no danger of falling below the 15,000 or 17,000 rule right now. That's 9 MAC teams - all above all the proposed minimums - which is enough to maintain the minimum 8 I-A all-sports teams required (even without adding UCF for all-sports).

Now, that doesn't mean the MAC is the picture of I-A FB health. They are in no danger of the MAC being invited (in whole or in part) to the BCS --- nor are they even on par with the MWC or C-USA for attendance, or TV interest or bowl games. They are however clearly healthier than the SBC is (or will be in the forseeable future). And the argument can also be made that they are on par - or even healthier than the WAC in many respects.

========================================
Let's compare the MAC to the SBC:

At the bare minimum, more MAC teams will survive the 17,000 rule teams than are even in the SBC now. The SBC has several teams consistently below the minimum (ArkSt, La-Laf, La-Mon, MTSU, Idaho) and several of those have managed to crest the 17,000 rule with dubious counting methods (like counting away game attendances), free tickets and counting practices that make the Florida Presidential ballot look like the textbook defintion of precision.

Idaho counts a game AT WashSt as a home game in their averages every other year (the years they do manage to be above the minimum). Yes, they ARE located close to WashSt - but they ARE mostly WashSt fans in the stands. MTSU does the same against Vanderbilt in Nashville. La-Laf counted a game in the Superdome mostly attended by their I-AA opponent. If EastMich counted a game AT Michigan (5-7 miles away) as a home game, they would need no other fans to show up all year to average more than 15,000 fans per game (5x17,000 = 85,000; Michigan averages over 100,000 per game).

Adding UtahSt will bolster the SBC for a while - but the SBC will still be short of the 8 full time members required to continue to be a I-A conference - EVEN IF La-Mon or Idaho is added for all-sports and manages to survive. Actually, to survive the 8 count - BOTH Idaho AND La-Mon have to be added for all-sports - and BOTH must survive. At the same time, La-Laf, MTSU and ArkSt must continue to maintain attendance (or continue pretending to).

As an even stronger indicator of the lack of SBC strength - their ONE bowl team (UNT - one of the best attendance draws in their conference), going to their ONE bowl game (so every SBC fan was concentrated on one - and only one, bowl game), in a MAJOR tourism town (not Detroit in December or Mobile, Alabama - like the MAC bowl games have), drew less than 20,000 fans! That's horrendous! The MAC bowls (by comparison) both average more than twice that.

The only SBC advantage over the MAC is the location of their bowl - but the MAC is more stable, better attended, in less danger from the proposed 17,000 rule, has more bowl games, has better attended bowl games, has better rated teams, and has enough teams to survive.

========================================
Let's compare to the WAC:

1) A weak Half: The WAC has SJSU in the west - which is like KentSt for FB support. Neither has any support.

But the WAC-east doesn't have a team that could compete for the MAC title - or even a division. The entire group (La-Tech, Rice, Tulsa, UTEP and SMU) are all horrible. This terrible eastern half is the main reason that the WAC lost the GMAC Bowl. The nearest good WAC team is west of the Rockies. The WAC doesn't need an eastern bowl. The bowls recognize that - so the WAC doesn't have a eastern bowl. This may also be the reason the WAC doesn't expand to 12 teams --- who wants to see a WAC-east champion in the WAC championship game .... or ... at all?

Compare that to the MAC: At least the MAC championship is competitive. Pick any likely east champion (Marshall, Miami(OH) or UCF) and match them with any likely MAC-west champion (Toledo, WestMich, BGSU or NoIll) and you have a competitive game.

Back to the WAC: The WAC-west (the MUCH better half of the FB conference) has tons of instability because 4 of the teams would jump to the MWC if they were ever invited (Hawaii, BoiseSt, FresnoSt and Nevada) - and any of them could be invited any time. The 5th west team (SJSU) is unstable because it is unlikely to continue to be a I-A team. So there are no reliably "WAC teams" in the WAC-west!

Compare that to MAC instability: In the MAC, 5 teams are likely headed to I-AA (BallSt, EastMich, Akron, KentSt, Buffalo) - leaving 9. Only one team (Marshall) has ANY chance of being invited to another conference in the forseeable future - maybe UCF will as well someday. That leaves at minimum - 8. Invite UCF for "all sports" and the MAC survives no matter what.

WAC Bowls: Aside from losing the GMAC Bowl to the MAC (an obvious outside comparison between the two conferences that went the MAC's way), the WAC bowls are a mess.

The Silicon Valley Classic Bowl is probably dead. They had no sponsor last year - and have no prospects for this year. The attendance was horrible - even with nearby FresnoSt as the WAC representative. They could not pay last year's teams what was promised so the WAC cancelled the payment owed the WAC conference.

The Humanitarian Bowl only does well when BoiseSt is the WAC representative.
-- UTEP was the WAC rep a few years ago (they played BoiseSt from the BigWest - the last year before BoiseSt joined the WAC). UTEP was one of the best attendance draws in the WAC (40,000 plus), was the conferance champion - and took fewer than 300 people to Boise for the bowl game.
-- Several teams have turned down H-Bowl invites - and last year several Big12 teams threatened not to go if they were selected. This year the Big12 dumped the game in favor of the new CowTown Bowl.
-- A few years ago - after UCLA turned them down, Clemson was brought in by subsidizing their costs to attend. In other words, the H-Bowl has to bribe schools to come there!

I'm not saying Detroit is a better place to come - but at least the game is indoors!

The Hawaii Bowl has a special deal to take Hawaii whenever they are available - so it's only "kind of" a WAC Bowl. When Hawaii stinks, another WAC team may go to play - but few will go to watch. It's too far for anybody's fan base to come. If you paid to go all the way to Hawaii - even as a football fan of the team in the game - how much time would you spend at a game? How much time would your wife or girlfriend allow you to spend in a stadium?

Add to this set of bowl problems the fact that the WAC subsidizes its bowls - i.e. they PAY to have bowl games! Now instead of bowl payouts being used to travel and stay at the bowl site - the WAC teams PAY to bring the OTHER team in and for the OTHER team to stay. On top of that, the WAC team that gets to go also has to pay it's own costs.

So while they have 3 bowls presently - 1 which will most likely die this year - and the other 2 only work if the home city team is invited. Yea - that works!

That being said, the WAC has some teams that year-in and year-out are probably better than all but Marshall in the MAC - like FresnoSt, Hawaii and BoiseSt. The MAC has a group of 5-6 that are just as bad as the worst 5-6 in the WAC, but the MAC still has good teams in both halves of the conference - the WAC does not. The lack of balance in the WAC makes it unprofitable to expand to 12 teams and hold a "championship" game.


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 Post subject: MAC realignment
PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2003 6:46 am 
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Interesting post. The mac as i see it have 2 major needs now in fb. #1 get the lowest teams meeting att requirements..... and 2 get a 3rd bowl game so the best of the non div winners has a bowl to go to. a 3rd bowl game will help with the overall apearance of the league. A miracle season by Marshall Toledo or UCF where they beat 2 or 3 big guys... Run the table incl the champ game and steal a bcs berth would also be huge.


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 Post subject: MAC realignment
PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2003 1:56 pm 
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Nert,

Overall, a very good assessment of the status of the wearker teams.

One thing though, while the requirment is 17,000 tickets sold now, it drops to 15,000 (but they have to BE there) in 2005. Which makes it difficult to predict. All must meet the requirements every year (or at least realistically every other year) to stay eligible. Previously it was once every four years.

True, last year was a terrible for the eastern WAC teams but Louisiana Tech was the WAC champion the previous year. If you look at the overall history of the teams, SMU, Rice and Tulsa rank ahead of almost all of the MAC teams.

The MAC may very well lose 4-5 teams due to attendance but those that are left will be strong, and not having to play the weaker drawing teams will improve the attendance of the existing teams. They may still be able to pick up a couple of more teams, so I look for them to be a 10 or 12 team conference in the future.


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 Post subject: MAC realignment
PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2003 6:08 pm 
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3 things:

1) The "butts in the seats" issue is NOT an issue for the 9 well attended MAC teams - they sell enough tikcets AND have in attendence enough fans. For at least the 8 best attended MAC teams - there are no seasons below 15,000 or 17,000 in a long time. The ninth and tenth place teams (BGSU and BallSt) fluctuate above and below that range with their record. If the rule is once every two years - then they'll both manage to remain (haven't read that). The other 4 (EMU, Buffalo, KentSt and Akron) robably can't make the minimum no matter how poorly they count or how easy it becomes to remain.

EMU and KentSt obviously fiddled with the numbers a little this year - but weren't daring enough to lie THAT big. I went to 2 EMU games this year and the attendence numers they reported were abou 50% too high for what was actually there. It appears that they're preparing to fight the minimum with "double vision counting" like the SBC did this year.

2) You have to go back a long time (to SWC days) to find a time when SMU and Rice were better than the average MAC teams. Their new conference is actually part of their problem - their fans don't show for games against WAC teams.

The historical stats for Tulsa and La-Tech are more hit and miss - as independents a lot of their schedules were other independents and I-AA teams. It's difficult to say they are clearly better - even going back a few years. Even then, there are few strong years in Tulsa football history.

I agree La-Tech WAS good a few years ago - but no longer. The weight of WAC travel is killing them and Tulsa. The longer they stay - they weaker they'll get. The fact that bowl prospects are slim to none will also start to weigh more heavly on La-Tech recruiting as the years go by.

3) I see a smaller MAC differently than you do - without the weaker teams - the records of the rest will suffer - which may cause their attendence numbers to go down - not up, with better competition.

Ohio and CentMich probably don't have to worry much about this (what else is there to do within an hour's drive? - which is probably why their attendence doesn't seem to fluctuate much with their record).

Toledo, WestMich and Marshall have a lot of cushion to give. Miami(OH)'s biggest issue is that their stadium is so small that bad weather one weekend (giving them less than average attendence) can't be "made up for" much in other games.

It seems that one BCS home game a year pretty much sets UCF up for the year - and the opportunity to win before potential Florida recruits will always make getting at least one BCS team to come to Orlando each year a much easier prospect for UCF than other non-BCS teams.

NoIll seems to be building - but I'm not sure it will remain if they start to falter in talent. BallSt and BGSU attendence - as was mentioned before - fluctuates a lot with their record. These are the teams that may suffer the most from a better MAC - top to bottom.


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 Post subject: MAC realignment
PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2003 3:50 pm 
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Curious, what do you base this statement on.

It appears that they're preparing to fight the minimum with "double vision counting" like the SBC did this year.


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