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 Post subject: Sunbelt Realignment
PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2003 1:15 am 
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Chris G,

For now, I agree with you about Utah State. It's true that BYU and Utah have kept Utah State out of their same conference for years. If cooler heads prevail, however (which we know never happens), they should embrace Utah State because 1) they play them in most sports now, 2) they are not a recruiting threat and 3) they can cut thousands of dollars annualy from their travel budget by being in the same conference. I'm also a little perplexed why the Utah legislature doesn't pressure Utah and USU to be in the same conference, especially since both can carry their weight in Division 1A.

New Mexico would be a much harder sell until you add the cost of going to Hawaii, Fresno State, Nevada and Boise State into the mix. Their top non-conference games now are against NMSU and UTEP. But actually, I wasn't advocating NMSU joining the MWC but UNM joining the WAC/Sun Belt. New Mexico State is at least the equal of MWC member Wyoming with slightly better attendance.

I, too, have heard Temple mentioned (if the BCS doesn't expand) because the three universities that are strong in basketball and football (Louisville, Cincinnati and Memphis) are the driving force regarding C-USA membership. To a lesser extent UAB and South Florida will also be in the fold. Add Marquette, Saint Louis, DePaul and Charlotte and you can see where the control is.

You ask the benefit of adding teams to an existing conference. If it means that it's just more to divide the pie with, then there is little benefit; except that playing teams that are closer to home develop increased attendance and reduce travel costs. Since the BCS schools control about 90% of the football revenue, the best avenue for funds is basketball. And Utah State brings a better basketball program to the table than would Nevada. Basketball revenue makes C-USA the richest non-BCS conference.

It could be business as usual but in these days of stiffer requirements (especially scheduling) and financial responsibility I think that we will see larger, more homogenous conferences, at least for non-BCS schools. It may be the only way that many Division 1A universities can survive in sports...remember we still have to pay for Title IX until women's sports can pay their own way.


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 Post subject: Sunbelt Realignment
PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2003 1:11 pm 
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Location: Dothan, AL for the time being.
I know this will probably sound pretty far out, but what about Utah State to CUSA? CUSA really wants a state school (i.e. a WVU, Florida St, etc.), and Utah State does kinda meet those qualifications. I know travel would be a killer, but would the Aggies jump for it, if they knew that C-USA was going to be a BCS conference?


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 Post subject: Sunbelt Realignment
PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2003 5:20 pm 
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Quote:
ChrisG,

please help.... Where did you get your information referring to Temple to C-USA and not SMU.

Tks ::)


Temple fans that I've talked to seem to think it's a foregone conclusion that Temple will be the 12th C-USA football team. Whether that's just wishful thinking, or a true liklihood, only C-USA and Temple know for sure.

But it makes sense. Consider this: SMU is in a market (Dallas/Ft.Worth) where C-USA already has a presence. Temple would allow C-USA to spread to a new, very large market. Temple would also make sense geographically, as it "fills in the gap" so to speak from Army in the Northeast to the rest of C-USA. It also creates a perfect situation for a 2-division C-USA

East:
Army
Temple
USF
East Carolina
Cincy
Louisville

West:
Southern Miss
UAB
Memphis
Tulane
Houston
TCU


But - most importantly - Temple is a perfect fit because it would be FOOTBALL ONLY. Temple has a home in A-10 for all other sports. The A-10 is a league on par with C-USA. C-USA doesn't want another all-sports member, as 15 would simply be unmanageable. SMU, on the other hand, would have to be an all-sports member. Temple could be a 12th football team, and would stay in the A-10 for all other sports.

Also, something to consider.. SMU has already been turned down by C-USA. The fact that Temple was getting the boot by the Big East was already known at this time. Why would C-USA turn down a potential member like SMU, when having 12 football teams makes so much more sense than having 11???? Simple: waiting for Temple to finish their term in the Big East.



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 Post subject: Sunbelt Realignment
PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2003 5:23 pm 
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Quote:
I know this will probably sound pretty far out, but what about Utah State to CUSA? CUSA really wants a state school (i.e. a WVU, Florida St, etc.), and Utah State does kinda meet those qualifications. I know travel would be a killer, but would the Aggies jump for it, if they knew that C-USA was going to be a BCS conference?


I doubt C-USA would find Utah State a viable option. There are other schools that C-USA could have that would make more sense (Temple, SMU, Rice, LA Tech, Tulsa).


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 Post subject: Sunbelt Realignment
PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2003 5:32 pm 
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Jfin,

Utah State certainly has a better basketball program than Nevada (at least right now). But ultimately I think it unlikely that USU will ever be in the same conference as Utah and BYU. They already play each other in non-conference games, so they wouldn't really be saving travel $$ iff USU was in the MWC - travel $$ might actually increase for Utah and BYU, as they'd have to replace USU on their non-conference slate with another school.

That being said, I don't think that Nevada is hugely attractive to the MWC. But I think 12 is the magic number, and out of the likely candidates, Nevada makes the most sense, given the political realities surrounding USU.



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 Post subject: Sunbelt Realignment
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2003 1:56 pm 
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Any chance the Sunbelt will realign focusing on southeastern teams? Seems like their best chance of survival. Would cut down on travel costs and might bring in more football revenue. I could be totally wrong, but it seems like a Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama league would have decent attendance. Transportation would be a cinch. Troy St. and La Tech seem like good fits. Just curious if anyone sees the conference headed this way.


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 Post subject: Sunbelt Realignment
PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2003 3:14 pm 
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I doubt that you will see the SBC going very far east. If FIU were ready for 1-A membership, then perhaps Troy State might be considered.

For now, I don't think that Troy is a high priority because of location, size and academics. It's a small regional university (I don't think even first tier) an hour away from Montgomery, with about 6,000 students in a county of less than 25,000. A master's degree is the highest offered and remember, academics is important to the university presidents who pick conference members.

I think that after the great turnover which is to come, that you will see Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana teams added to the mix. Travel is eating La Tech alive and they could very well be a new member. Tulsa is another that needs to reduce (travel) expenses. You mentioned Mississippi and there is only one possibility there, Southern Miss. I think that here have been informal talks with USM but I don't know how productive they were.

SBC Commissioner Wright Waters has expressed that the SBC will have nine members in 2005. I assume that means that have agreed as of now but that, of course, could change. The hard part about predicting future alignments is we don't know which domino topples first. One teams admittance could affect another who had no intention of changing conferences.

My hope is that when the qualifying is completed, that the commissioners would have the presence of mind to try to reorganize conferences on the basis of regionality, thereby reducing costs and increasing attendance.


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 Post subject: Sunbelt Realignment
PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2003 11:36 am 
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Great info J Fin. As far as So Miss goes, do you think they might wait and see who joins the Sun Belt. If it reorganizes regionally to make attendance and travel costs a plus, they may pique their interest, but I think So Miss owuld also want to see some quality opponents enter the conference first before making their own move. La Tech would be a good start.

Do you really think they could attract Tulsa? They've been so succesful in basketball lately I have a hard time believeing they'd leave. Historically the same is true of Memphis. Both would be good fits, but I think they'd miss the basketball credibility of C-USA. Any thoughts there?

This is wild spceulation, but if the Sunbelt does improve itself by focusing regionally, I wonder if Miss St. might join up down the road. If The SEC could find an excuse to trade up for a bigger team, I think they'd do it. Miss St. doesn't have alot of muscle to flex, and Sherril is gonna keep getting them into trouble. And I don't know if Ole Miss would lif a finger to help them out, since they might step up in the world is Miss State took a step down in competition. It probably won't happen, but they'd be a good fit, and would bring football and basketball credibility to the league. If the Sunbelt remains in its embryonic phase for several more years, a move by Miss St. might be enough to bring in some southern C-USA teams all at once.

Ok, I enjoy speculating a little too much.



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 Post subject: Sunbelt Realignment
PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2003 2:06 pm 
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As a Southern Miss fan, I'd have to say the Sunbelt would have to have some major changes to lure Southern Miss. The average Southern Miss fan has dreams of playing Ole Miss Miss State and other teams from the SEC. The sunbelt brings nothing other than the New Orleans bowl and Southern Miss already has that option as the 5th bowl for CUSA. Travel costs are hurting us, but what mid major isn't. I wouldnt mind playing in a Texas Louisiana Mississippi league with TCU Houston SMU Rice U of Louisiana Lafayette La Tech Southern Miss bring in UTEP or Tulas and this isnt a bad league. It isnt great either but it gives you regional rivalries and decent football and ok basketball. Don't think anything like this will happen but it could :-X


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 Post subject: Sunbelt Realignment
PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2003 12:14 am 
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Personally, I don't think that Southern Miss would join unless 1) one or more teams west of them in C-USA were to also join (TCU, Houston, Tulane); 2) Either Louisville and/or Cincinnati goes to another conference; or 3) they can be convinced that if they do join other like-caliber teams will follow. The AD at North Texas is a former player, coach and assistant AD at Southern Miss so I believe that they would at least listen. But accept? Not alone, IMO.

Tulsa is in the WAC, not C-USA remember. When they joined there were teams such as Utah, UNLV and New Mexico drawing well and going to the Big Dance regularly. Now Tulsa furnishes a lot of the conference proceeds from basketball and the Hurricanes can't get their part for something like five years. Meanwhile, travel expenses are eathing them up. They would like to eliminate trips to Honolulu, Fresno, San Jose, Reno and Boise for something closer to home per alumni and rumors. So yes, I think that they will be one making the move, especially if they feel that the WAC may not continue to exist.

If Mississippi State were somehow kicked out of the SEC (and I would think that Vanderbilt would go first) AND Conference USA were undergoing vast change, they could wind up in some sort of coalition of southern/southwestern teams but the odds have to be tremendous. They'd get rid of Sherrill in a minute if he were jeopardizing their continuing as a SEC member.


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 Post subject: Sunbelt Realignment
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2003 9:00 am 
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JFin,

If Miss State is willing to do whatever it takes to stay in the conference, then I guess that makes Vandy and perhaps South Carolina the two most likely (still very unlikely) candidates to be shoved, coaxed, whatever, out of the SEC if it dropped to 10 to try to bring in A&M and Texas.

cyc46,

I've always thought So. Miss belonged in the SEC. They've always been pretty competitive, they've put talent into the NFL, and I can't think of a year (I may be wrong but it seems like this is usually the case) when So. Miss finishes third in the state. Certainly So. Miss has has as many or more big wins than any other Mississippi team in recent memory (counting FSU and Bama as victims). Maybe So. Miss won't ever leave C-USA, but I'd like to see them in the same division with La Tech. That'd be an interesting rivalry between two southern mid-majors who give great programs fits nearly every season. Any reason why La Tech isn't a candidate for C-USA? Seems like they and Tulsa would be solid additions. I don't understand the fascination with Temple. Is a bad team in a large market always a good thing? I honestly don't know. If Temple were considering moving it's basketball program into C-USA then bringing them in would make sense to me.


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 Post subject: Sunbelt Realignment
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2003 11:27 pm 
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Actually I know a good bit about La Tech as I went there before transfering to Southern Miss. From the best I can gather La Tech would not really add much to CUSA. They have pretty good football I think it was 98 they were the top Indy in the Nation at 9-2 and recieved no bowl bid, they even beat Bama that year, and the womens basketball program is stellar. The thing is La Tech doesnt have the best attendance in the world and there is virtually no TV market, in Louisiana its LSU LSU LSU and maybe Tulane or ULL (believe it or not those cajuns around Lafayette love that team) but the last two are after thoughts. I can remember going to a game against Toledo in 97 and i think it might have drawn 5,000 the game against Arkansas State was even less. The games in Shreveport draw alot more but then not alot of the students go. So from what I can gather its mostly a attendance issue and tv market, even though USM isnt in a huge tv market we do have a pretty decent tv following and I think over the last 5 or 6 years averages over 26k attendance *actual*. Another things is La Techs facilities are really lacking. Joe Alliet field is about the equal of West Monroe High Schools stadium. I'd love to give UAB the boot since they arent going to make it anyways and bring Tech in.


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 Post subject: Sunbelt Realignment
PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2003 10:04 am 
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Great info about La Tech. It's amazing that they've been so succesful historically with so little going for the program. It really makes me wonder if Louisiana and Mississippi don't have the most football talent in the country, per capita.

Well, if C-USA is stuck looking for a quality football program, I guess they'd go for Marshall first, since they bring big time fan support and a solid tv draw (and sort of a market in the West Va to DC area) as well as quality football to the table. I think attendance would pick up at La Tech if C-USA needed a team in the region. Maybe not alot, but playing some quality teams in the region, as opposed to WAC or MAC teams, would be more interesting to the few fans there are. Would probably help them upgrade the facilities as well.

BTW, how is So. Miss fairing in recruiting vs. Ole Miss? I hear Cutcliffe is having a banner season this year. Hope you guys can keep up. I imagiine Ole Miss is just benefiting from Alabama not being able to raid their talent this year. Kids are staying home for once, and Miss St. is out of the picture for the moment as well.

I'm an FSU guy, and we won't know for sure til the deadline, but e are getting hammerred thus far. That's actually a good thing for those of us who want a change in the coaching staff. And since Bobby isn't willing to demote is underqualified kid with a crappy personality, that means Bobby needs to go too--if nepotism is you're m.o., then you better make sure that you're relative can do the job well. I'm sure some Penn State folks might agree with many of us FSU fans. They lost Sandusky the same way we lost Amato and Rhicht, and now we both have offensive problems with the head coach's kids having their hands all over the offense, and discipline problems to boot. Maybe the problem isn't quite the same at PSU, but it's definitely the root of the problem down here.


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 Post subject: Sunbelt Realignment
PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2003 4:04 pm 
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I think we have had a very good year recruiting. I was unable to make the signing party today but I did get home in time to see the updated list on Southern Miss.com seems we have gotten a few guys that were offered by MSU and Ole Miss. Even though those two usually get all or most of the states top 24. We got a couple of great players outta Florida. I am especially big on Chris Roden. I think with this years class along with last years we are set to return to the top of C-USA where we belong.
As far as FSU, I agree with you one hundred percent. I believe Bowden has made very good decisions in the past of hiring and bringing up assistants and coordinators. He seems to have slipped by allowing his son to take over. I like to see FSU do well(mainly because So Miss has beat them in the past a few times) but what has been going on down there for the last few seasons is really bad. I understand everyone has a down year or so but it seems FSU has started moving from a championship contender every year to just hopefully winning the ACC. Hope you guys get things turned around. BTW I hear Florida has been cleaing up this year and I know Miami always does ok how is this affecting FSU now that Miami has once again become a contender ?


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 Post subject: Sunbelt Realignment
PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2003 12:28 pm 
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Miami doesn't hurt us much in recruiting, we usually fight over a few south florida kids. Miami is getting pretty much anyone they need and most kids they want in south florida, but UF really cleaned up. Zook makes a good impression and he had tons of starting spots available at a top flight program, that certainly helps. There could be other stuff going on, God I hope so so they'll get nailed, but honestly I think UF has more opportunities to start and they aren't sinking quite as fast as FSU, that was the big difference.

FSU could afford a down year, and we still got two Tallahassee guys who are beyond awesome (Sims is ranked #1 in most recruiting polls), but it's not a good sign. Bobby's age is a factor, but I think the fact that we aren't winning, that our position coaching is terrible (the opposite of Miami, where they train guys to be NFL draft material), that we seem to have no contingency plan, and that we lack discipline and morale makes the age factor much bigger than it would otherwise be. If Rhicht or Amato were here as the annointed successor and we were coaching guys and winning, we'd have no problems. Also, there aren;t many starting slots available. We adressed needs so this class won't hurt us, but if we can't recruit, gameplan, coach-up players, maintian morale and discipline, win, OR recruit, we have to ask ourselves why Bobby is still here. I think most fans feel that way, but we're waiting to see what happens with a difficult schedule including ND, Colorado, Miami, and UF out of conference (but oddly favorable, since Miami, Maryland, and UF are all down, at least in theory). If we do well this season, then the heat will be off. If we get hammerred (honestly either is possible with our combination of phenomenal talent and chemistry, coaching, discipline, and leadership problems), Bobby's got problems.

It kills me to say this with such a great schedule coming, but I almost hope we get pounded, because Bobby has proven to be unwillng to make any real changes, and this was his dumb idea. Just because you are a legend doesn't mean you get a free pass to run the program into the ground (some PSU fans feel the same way about Paterno, same problems with his kid, though at least Paterno is more than a figurehead). I wish some of the knuckleheads around here understood that. Some of them also fail to remember that Bobby twice campaigned for the Alabama job. He only stayed here because the program was better and he was old by the time they were finally interested. Not saying he's a bad guy for it, but he has his own priorities, and he wasn't blindly loyal to us, so we don't own him any blind loyalty either. Staying here was a professional decision for him. Keeping him on should also be based on how well he performs his job.

I guess my point is, we need to have plans for the future, because if it gets worse here, it'll get alot worse, especially with the schedule coming up, qb problems, and the team potentially quitting on this staff. The idiots around here who want to tar and feather you for daring to criticize Bobby may run us right into an iceberg. They're in total denial.

Anyway . . . speaking of awesome Florida recruiting, Louisville just got SEVEN of the top guys from Tallahassee. Watch out for them the next few years. Too bad they didn't play on Ragone's team.


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