The Sun Belt will stand the test I do believe.
I can see current scenarios where Rice, Tulsa, and SMU join CUSA and complete that conferences expansion with the addition of Central Florida.
MAC loses one team. The WAC loses three teams.
MAC looks over to Temple to replace Central Florida. Temple will exit the Big East after this year.
MAC is now has recovered for the loss of UCF.
The WAC will likely pronounce themselves more as a Western conference. To replace Tulsa, Rice, and SMU they will likely pick up a combo of Idaho, New Mexico State, and Utah State from the Sun Belt.
After this takes place, that would recover the WAC temporarily while the Sun Belt with Arkansas State, North Texas, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Middle Tennessee, and Troy State would have six football members, but five full-time members.
New NCAA requirements will require every league to have at least eight full-time members in order to sponsor football at Division 1-A. So the Sun Belt needs three full-time members.
My guess is that they will pick up 1-A newcomer, Florida A&M, as one of those three teams.
And then try to offer a full-time membership to Louisiana-Monroe who may be more prone to do so since they would no longer have to travel to Idaho, New Mexico State, and Utah State and pay high travel costs for all other sports teams which has been declared too much of a feat for the school based on their athletic budget.
That would give the Sun Belt seven full-time members.
The WAC without SMU, Rice, and Tulsa would put Louisiana Tech on an island all by itself, where their nearest conference mate would be 900 miles to the west in El Paso, Texas. Louisiana Tech would come back to the Sun Belt in all sports and give the Sun Belt their mandated eight full time members that they'd need.
Now the WAC could turn around and try to pull away North Texas. It would then be up to UNT on whether or not they want to play in an 8-team league with Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana-Lafayette, Arkansas State, Troy State, Middle Tennessee, and Florida A&M or play in a 10-team league with Boise State, Idaho, New Mexico State, Utah State, Nevada, Fresno State, San Jose State, Texas-El Paso, and Hawaii.
Then again, UNT could stay with the eight-member set up in the Sun Belt and let the WAC figure out what they want to do from there. The WAC would still have nine members without UNT. If the Sun Belt gains La Tech and keeps UNT and I think the WAC would be content on nine members.
The Mountain West currently fields eight teams. They'd need to add four teams in order to get a conference championship game. The Mountain West quite honestly has been quiet through this whole thing. I think the MWC is content on what they have.
I think 1-A Independents will be sealed as well. Beyond 2004, you probably won't see anymore until new 1-AA schools move up such as FIU or FAU if they will be allowed to move up.
You already have UConn going to the Big East. They will replace Temple. You have Troy State going to the Sun Belt. You have Army leaving CUSA.
I think there will be a league of 16 teams and I think that conference will be the MAC and here's why. The MAC will remain solid with everyone they have except Central Florida in which they will likely be simply replaced by Temple. You have the original 14 teams. But you still have Army and Navy without homes and with the Big East not likely to call for them, I think the MAC takes them and forms a 16-team league in effect ending a league of 1-A Independents.
Oh yeah, and Notre Dame goes to the ACC.
So to summarize, every conference will remain the same except for the ACC, the MAC, the Big East, the Sun Belt, CUSA, and the WAC.
As far as football is concerned. . . .
The new ACC will have these teams: Florida State, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Miami of Florida, North Carolina State, North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Wake Forest, Duke, Maryland, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Notre Dame.
The new Big East will have these teams: Boston College, Syracuse, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Connecticut, Cincinnati, and Louisville.
Conference USA will consist of these teams: Memphis, Southern Miss, Alabama-Birmingham, South Florida, Central Florida, Tulane, Texas Christian, Houston, Rice, Southern Methodist, Tulsa, and East Carolina.
The new Mid-American Conference would consist of these teams: Marshall, Miami of Ohio, Army, Navy, Temple, Toledo, Akron, Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, Central Michigan, Northern Illinois, Ball State, Kent State, Bowling Green, Ohio, and Buffalo.
The new Western Athletic Conference would consist of these teams: Fresno State, Hawaii, San Jose State, Boise State, Idaho, Utah State, New Mexico State, Texas-El Paso, and Nevada.
The new Sun Belt Conference would consist of these teams: Florida A&M, Troy State, Middle Tennessee, Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana-Lafayette, Arkansas State, and North Texas.
And in this scenario there are no Indy's left.TEXT