So am I to presume that Memphis is the new "Louisville/BYU/Notre Dame" of C-USA?
An interesting pose! With TCU leaving after next year, Memphis basketball is clearly the dog pulling this sleigh, and their case only got stronger with a successful year in football as well. Marshall, UCF and the others have some attraction, but Memphis has a decent market and national recognition. It doesn't hurt that four of the schools in CUSA will be small private schools, either.
But, there's that cloud hanging overhead called the BE. Should that conference split/reform in 5-7 years, there's a good chance Memphis will be a leading candidate for expansion, as will several other CUSA schools. Thus, how should the commissioner treat those schools?
If I'm the CUSA commish, I'm paying extra attention to the needs and potentials of the following members
Not the makings of a BCS conference, to be sure, but at least some national name recognition and decent markets. Most importantly, there's a commonality among these members in a) they're not likely to be going anywhere anytime soon, and b) they're all trying to take the next step up the athletic program ladder.
- CUSA must position itself wisely to maximize revenue and reinvest it in facilities and marketing. Should it become more of a regional conference in terms of TV contracts, etc., think like the MAC and hope someday to produce several solid teams in the same year. I'd also propose a name change, and blanket the east Texas/ Mississippi River basin area with the conference image. (Big Southland?) Suggestions anyone?
- I'm still waiting for the renaissance at UAB. Bball could be modeled after Charlotte, football must find a foothold among SEC wannabes. And as soon as the state experiences an economic boom, I'd push again for renovations to Legion Field or a new stadium. Think bowl game. Think SEC or CUSA title games. Think Iron Bowl every 3rd year. Think big, and put yourself in a position to capitalize.
- Four decent private schools, tight regional form in the south east: Surely there's something in the realm of economic and community development the schools can capitalize on for public outreach. Perhaps not in the research capacity of the SEC schools, but there are other avenues for involvement with student service and community participation. The more you show investment into the community, the more likely the community will respond. Best I can tell CUSA was lacking in that department before.
- As for Memphis, ECU and UCF Make them happy but don't grow dependent on them until the BE is in it's final form.