Back to the start- Finite Man puts out a challenge to be the commissioner of this conference and to not just nay-say, but to give suggestions as to what you'd do. I usually don't whiz on people's cornflakes when it comes to dream scenarios, though I might offer a couple doses of realism.
Here, I simply do not envy Karl Benson. I don't want this job. I wouldn't have it for long, nor would anyone else....
In preparation of this momentus occasion I have taken the liberty to pare down your response into more bite sized chunks...
San Jose State
What are Karl Benson's current problems?
Four schools completely drag the conference down in the money sport:
New Mexico State... I'm not surprised that the two true dreamers here both want to ship off this school....
Then there's San Jose State's overall stature. Any number of things could happen to them.
Ouch...I do want to clarify my stance a touch here. It isn't that I WANT to run off NMSU --- like you I am merely acknowledging that travel costs will become debilitating for distant schools and frankly will increase in-conference pressure to force those schools out.
Having said all this, having warned you about these schools in mountain climes, there's the other issue. What do you do about this?
The important point: $4/gallon gas is KILLING business out here right now. The nice resort towns 2-3 hours from Boise are hurting, central Washington resorts are hurting, this economy stinks. What happens now DOES matter 20 years down the road. What can be built now matters greatly. That's where Boise's work this summer helps. That's where funds pledged in the June Jones aftermath should help Hawai'i. That's where what Fresno has built to this point helps. That's where Utah State's donor base might save their hides.
The questions: who else can do that? And where? That's where Finite's hybrid declaration fits well, because that's the only option the WAC has besides imploding.
They have to attack the Big West... and I mean attack. .... For the WAC to survive, they have to convince someone to dream before Fresno and maybe Boise runs to the Mountain West and causes a collapse.
Institution Nickname Location Affiliation Enrollment BB Stadium capacity
Cal Poly Mustangs San Luis Obispo, California Public (California State University system) 18400 3K
Cal State Fullerton Titans Fullerton, California Public (California State University system) 35040 3.5K
Cal State Northridge Matadors Northridge, Los Angeles, California Public (California State University system) 34560 1.6K
Long Beach State 49ers Long Beach, California Public (California State University system) 35574 5K
UC Davis Aggies Davis, California Public (University of California system) 30475 8K
UC Irvine Anteaters Irvine, California Public (University of California system) 25000 5K
UC Riverside Highlanders Riverside, California Public (University of California system) 17000 3K
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos Santa Barbara, California Public (University of California system) 19800 6K
Pacific Tigers Stockton, California Private/Methodist 6250 6K
I think it is important to note that the california schools have a pretty good setup already. It they want to play in the NCAA tourney, they go with scholarships and play in the Big West. If they don't have a special love for that, they go Div II and play in the CCAA. With VERY few exceptions that is the status quo. It is a stable status quo and cost effective.
And it makes sense. There is very little money flowing to allow schools to make the jump from scratch for football or to jump to FBS. The status quo allows schools like Cal State bakersfield to jump up to DI and have a comfortable and viable home waiting. For this reason I think the conference is too important to all of the UC and Cal State schools to allow it to be killed or crippled.
Now on the same token, some California schools DO want to play football and would not have to start from scratch. Those schools would be willing to leave the Big West. Cal Davis and Cal Poly would likely jump to a sensible FCS conference like the Big Sky for all sports. Sac State dreams of an FBS future one day.
____the Pounder Plan at last______
Portland State without football....
(no) Sacramento State....
(no) Northern Arizona... lots of people seem to think Flagstaff is getting part of Phoenix' growth....
UC Davis... They might be worth an attack on the Big West.
Perhaps Cal Poly is worth it as well...
After that, you really are trying to aim at Montana and Montana State.
You're trying to convince a WCC school to add football, or to break up that conference and try to fill the hybrid notions of a plan.
Even as potentially a non-football member, Portland state makes sense --- even if the academics are not there. (I am not ready to throw dirt on the PS football grave though.)
Sac State makes some sense because they have the legit FBS stadium, the city has shown some inclination to support football, and the schools seems determined to make their mark there first. Tell them you intend to admit them as a football only member in 5 years. Admit them as a football only member to start and see what the numbers look like. I think they could match the lower tier in the conference from day 1. That may not seem like much, but their relative proximity to SJ St. helps. Basketball membership and the rest will come when they build a 6K arena.
Northern Arizona I can understand passing on, but I think the fact they are working so hard to upgrade their athletic facilities does imply they are only going to be a better candidate in future years. Regarding Flagstaff getting Pheonix's growth, I haven't seen anyone suggest that. If you want to go to a public School in AZ there are 3 main ones, UA, ASU, and N. Az. UA is the flagship and best academic school. If you can't get in there, you have NAU or ASU. ASU is enormous. N. AZ could be very appealing to the crowd that might consider ASU.
UC-Davis is a great athletic school and on the rise. They are a good candidate as a non-football member with a distant FBS football future, but the upgrading they will need to do to their stadium capacity suggests 10 to 15+ years before they are ready for FBS.
Cal Poly is a football school, but they are a FCS football school. Unlike SAC state or Davis they have little stated desire for an FBS future. They may be content to try to get into the Big Sky or just stay a football only school in the Great West. Simply put, they don't have the fan base for athletic fund-raising that Davis does, probably not even what Sac St. does (with Sac City support as it is).
Montana and Montana St. split a small state market. Montana State is probably another idaho at best. Montana may only be a slightly better Idaho in a smaller state. May not be worth the effort.
I think in general the WCC is a much tougher conference to chip because there are not obvious signs of freying. They have a good thing and they know it. They are stable, sensible, and probably profitable. All schools are christian privates with similar goals and budgets. They don't play football because it is outside of their financial pain threshold. Maybe targeting one of the schools trying to get in like Seattle, Denver, or that other school would work out better, but I doubt any of those schools go for football either, so you are talking hybrid if you include any of these privates.
Institution Nickname Location Affiliation Enrollment BB Stadium capacity
Gonzaga University Bulldogs Spokane, Washington Private/Catholic 6736 6K
Loyola Marymount University Lions Los Angeles, California Private/Catholic 8972 5K
Pepperdine University Waves Malibu, California Private/Church of Christ 6053 3K
University of Portland Pilots Portland, Oregon Private/Catholic 3200 5K
Saint Mary's College of California Gaels Moraga, California Private/Catholic 3962 3.5K
University of San Diego Toreros San Diego, California Private/Catholic 7548 5K
University of San Francisco Dons San Francisco, California Private/Catholic 8722 5K
Santa Clara University Broncos Santa Clara, California Private/Catholic 8377 6K
So...with no further ado...the Pounder WAC
2) Boise St.
3) Fresno State
5) Utah State
6) San Jose State
9) LA Tech
10) Montana (all sports)
11) Montana St. (all sports)
12) San Francisco (IMO the best bet to bite on adding football as a lure to leave the WCC. A very long shot still, IMO. They hit me as the best bet to leave other than Pepperdine ---which is not going to add football)
+ PSU (non football)
+ UC Davis (FCS football)
+ Cal Poly (FCS football)
You stated that you would probably get fired too. I'd tend to agree. :P
...Texas is almost certainly the fallback if Boise gets poached, because you can count on Idaho getting jettisoned, THEN pare away another northern school or two, then the geography gets more reasonable toward that end. Montana is not an option in this scenario.
"another northern school or two?" Based on your prior comments I am guessing you mean SJ State and Utah State. Correct?
Texas? I have to think you are talking about the UNT and the 3 of the 4 Southland upgrades (SHSU, UTSA, Texas State, and Lamar). That would be a viable plan in TV revenue terms if you retreat from the north, but then your travel budgets become astronomical for all of the schools. You would be essentially doubling the travel budgets of your 3 strong schools --- that hardly seems the way to improve the conference. UNT would likely turn it down again for the same reasons they did last time.
2) Fresno State
6) Texas St.
9) LA Tech
You'd do better to go with a 12 team layout with 6 in the TX, NM, LA region and 6 in the Northern Cali, Reno, Idaho, Utah region and try to add FCS members with FBS dreams in anticipation of the west /east split 6 years down the road.
2) Fresno State
5) SJ St.
6) Utah St.
9) Texas St.
12) LA Tech
As you fairly pointed out when you accepted the challenge, it is a tough thing to be the WAC commisioner.
I still I like thelurker's plans better. His suggestions seem more likely to be OKed by the "Legit 4" than yours. Still the forum is all about the exchange of ideas. Maybe in a few days, I'll take another stab at it.