I have to say, i am tired of people saying that the SBC is the "armpit" or bottom of the FBS. Lets look at what they have done just the past year alone. They finished at the top of the soon to be called (Go5) conferences in money paid by the BCS, they won both of their bowl games, and they had most of their conference finish at 6-6 or better. (Not to bad for a bunch of FCS call ups)!
No one said they are an armpit nor ahorrible conference, in fact I really like the SBC and think that they have a solid group of schools with similar missions which can make this a real good conference in the long run. But let's not kid ourselves, the SBC got more money from the BCS because they had less teams, let's not act like they did anything better than the MWC/WAC/MAC who all had team in the BCS, nor even CUSA who almost had a couple. They won 2 bowl games, that's great but having a bunch of team finishing at 6-6 means they just beat each other up not that they had a good year. Omitting WKU and future SBC teams, the SBC went 9-16 against non SBC FBS teams and just 5-4 against FCS teams (which they pay them to come and play). Now, all things considered, the SBC had a good year with a few good wins but they are still a small time conference with 4 decent sized market and little to no FBS pedigree nor bball that will have trouble most years filling 4 bowls.
The SBC is staying competitive even without stablity in the conference. That speaks highly of the SBC.
Define competitive. Going just over .500 against FCS teams isn't good, going just over .500 against FBS teams would be good but they were typically against the worst of the other Go5 conference like SoMiss (1-11), UAB (2-10), Kent St (4-8), Akron (5-7), and Wyoming (5-7). I'll give them credit for beating a BCS team even if it was Wake Forest (4-8) and for winning their 2 bowl games Ball St (10-3) and Tulane (7-6). To put it in perspective, the SBC had 2 winning teams (3 if you count WKU), CUSA had 7, the MWC had 6, the MAC had 5, and the AAC had 4.
Now lets look at what Karl Benson has done thus far. He came in and stated that he wanted to get 4 primary bowl tie-ins. What just happend this week. SBC has announced that it will have its forth bowl tie in (Cure Bowl, NO Bowl, GoDaddy Bowl, Cam. Bowl) the SBC is also part of the rotation for the Bah. Bowl and Miami Bowl. That means that the SBC more than doubled what it's bowl tie ins will be from last year.
I agree, I think he had a bad rep from the WAC but he's done a good job so far, just needs the 12th and a TV deal (which he'll probably go after once he officially has the CCG).
Karl has stated that he wants and the SBC needs a 12th team to have a CG and that team will need to be out of the east. With everything that Karl has said thus far happening i can not see any reason why we continue to talk about expansion anywhere other than the east. Liberty is now at the top of the list (like it or not), it is about money and a 12th team gets more TV time which will lead to more money. EKU is the 2nd option if Liberty for some reason doesn't say yes (no going to happen).
The only other possiblity is if the SBC votes to throw a life line to Umass and offer Football only, then SBC could look at adding a eastern school for all other sports (like UNCA, UNCG, or Furman) someone close to to App St. to break down the travel. Would be nice if they would offer it to a team like Belmont, but i don't see Belmont leaving to come to the SBC for basketball. (SBC at this point is only a one bid conference).
I think UMass is a real possibility, I just don't know if they could join right away or if the have to finish out their contract with the MAC for 2 more year. If they can get out of it then I think it could be a possibility. Take UMass and a bball school in the East and be done. if Idaho drops to FCS then drop UMass and add add NMSU as a full member and then get a school you really want in the East, because as of right now nobody seems thrilled w/ Liberty or JAX St, and EKU doesn't seem ready, and JMU doesn't return your calls.
But as far a bball only options I think your list is flawed, Furman plays fb so they aren't splitting the fb/bb up, UNCA isn't an option either as they bring nothing. The list would be all quality bball adds, East of the Mississippi, no further North than VA/KY, without scholarship football and not in any other FBS conference nor the Big East/A10. IMO it's just:
Charleston (fills in nicely in the gap between GA/NC)
UNCG (you got this one, nice market really ties in the whole state of NC to the SBC)
FGCU (nice large school in Florida, great for recruiting)
Morehead St (might be streching the geography too much and I think they're comfortable)
Belmont (private school, and the SBC is all public schools, still there bb pedigree and geographic location in the large market of Nashville, TN makes them top candidate).
Jacksonville (same as Belmont but in FL)
I believe that the mass exiting that has occured over the past few years to the SBC is over. With the new bowl games added and the idea that with 12 teams they get CG and then the new CFP payment of 1million per school up to 12 schools. Why would any school leave to go to C-USA that has 14 teams and accept less CFP money? I feel that once the SBC makes that decision on a 12th member for football and other sports then the conference will be set for a good while.
I somewhat agree, I don't see expanding for expansions sake (unless JMU already has an unofficial offer, then ULL/Ark St would be next), but the SBC still has some valueable teams in TX St, ULL, Ark St, and GA St,which could get grabbed up by CUSA to replace any losses to the AAC who gets raided by the Big12 or ACC. Keep in mind the SBC has no substantial TV deal and weak bowl deal with lower payouts so while it is less money from playoffs, its actually more total and the schools are of a higher calibur in bball and most other sports, as well as academics...so there is little no no chance that a school in the SBC turns down an offer from CUSA.
Fan of the Big 12 Conference, the Mountain West Conference and...