I agree whole-heartedly.
C-USA would seek better, closer replacements than Idaho, Louisiana Tech, New Mexico St, San Jose St, Utah St, UT San Antonio, and Texas St.
C-USA's top candidates should Houston or UTEP leave would be:
#1 - North Texas. Could easily slide in and maintain travel partners if Houston, UCF, or UTEP were to leave: HOU: UNT/SMU, UTEP/Tulsa, Tulane/Rice
UTEP: UNT/SMU, Tulsa/Tulane, UH/Rice
UCF: UNT/SMU. UTEP/Tulsa, UH/Rice, Tulane slides to East and pairs with So Miss if UCF leaves.
They don't bring a massive market, but few candidates do. With an enrollment of 36,000 they have a larger alumni base than anyone in the WAC. And there's no additional travel expense. It might make things cheaper/easier if UTEP leaves.
And their MBB program is decent. They've been to the dance a couple of times. I know 2007, I believe 2010 as well.
#2/#3 - Florida International or Florida Atlantic (or both).
If UCF were to leave, I'd imagine C-USA would want a Florida presence. Athletically, they don't offer much success outside of FIU men's soccer, and probably softball/baseball. But with C-USA revenue significantly higher than Sun Belt, they could improve, like USF/UCF did (on a smaller scale than they did, of course)
#4 - Troy
Have had some football success. Tiny, Tiny market, but would fit travel wise.
Now, we're not talking about athletic heavy-hitters at all... but when was the last time San Jose State did anything besides play a body-bag game? NONE of the remaining WAC members would provide any significant pop to justify the expense of travel. -- With the exception of Texas State or Texas San Antonio; who fit the footprint, but North Texas has the leg-up in establishing their program.
And that says nothing of a MAC school. While it might be difficult to pry a school like Ohio or Miami; you could certainly see Buffalo making the switch.
Then there's Temple. Who might not want to give up Atlantic 10 comforts for C-USA in all sports; But they would certainly re-assess their situation depending on the Big East's actions.
If Nova goes FBS, and the Big East stays together, then maybe they go to C-USA.
If Nova goes FBS, and the Big East splits, they'd want to be in the new hoops league and continue with the MAC in football.
If Nova stays FCS and the Big East stays together, they would try for football membership in the Big East and keep the rest in the A-10
If Nova stays FCS and the Big East splits, they'd be in the mix for the Big East Football Group if they want to maintain an Eastern seaboard presence.
And then, sitting idly by is Charlotte. With plans for FCS within three years, an opening in the Big East/C-USA membership effective in 2014-2015 could make them push forward to FBS as soon as possible. And that would instantly leapfrog them to the front of the list for C-USA; if not the Big East football group.
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