Comments for BirdIsTheWord
There is a very important consideration here that is being ignored.
In 2004, the NCAA's new Division I-A requirements for football will take effect. To summarize, a Division I-A school must average 15,000 home attendance over the course of the season, and schedule at least 5 home contests (barring cancellations, emergencies, etc.) to remain in I-A.
This will wreak havoc on the mid-major conferences. The following schools were not up to snuff this year, and if continuing down the slippery slope, will be contending as I-AA independents in '04:
Arkansas St. (13200)
Middle Tenn. St. (11200)
Of those teams, I'd say the only ones in any real danger are UL-Monroe (they'll probably be back in the Southland by 2007), and Idaho. Middle Tennessee is borderline as is ASU. I'm guessing that they'll probably make it. Idaho is a big question mark to me right now.
Something tells me, they might make it, especially if their new coach works out.
Not too bad, but definitely room for improvement.
San Jose St. (10400, 4 home games)
Considering that SJSU's prez is decidely anti-football, I'm guessing that he'll probably drop the program soon, and will join the Big West.
Troy St. (13400, 4 home games)
TSU will be staying alive. Iowa State will be coming to play Troy State at Troy State. That will be huge. Also, there's a rumor that Nebraska is thinking about playing at Troy State also. However, a conference is desperately needed to continue to stay alive.
Ball St. (12800)
Eastern Michigan (10800)
Kent St. (10100)
From the looks of things, I'd say EMU is probably out as is Akron. However, I think the MAC will work with Kent State to keep them IA because of their great basketball program. That is Kent's one saving grace right now. The rest need to either put up, or shut up.
The next 10 teams on the brink (highest 18200) include 5 from the MAC, UAB, all but New Mexico St. from the Sun Belt, La Tech and Connecticut, the only team of all these threatened that is anywhere close to a BCS conference berth. (The next closest BCS team is Temple at 19100 per game.)
UAB is teetering right now. Their situation is not as bad as some schools (like ULM), but it is definitely alarming. La Tech is coming up with some very innovative ways to attract more fans in that they are playing many games in Shreveport/Bossier City. Having been to S'port before, I can tell you it is pretty big.