Some interesting observations about opportunity and FSU and Miami. I believe that is one of the motivating factors in the BCS. They don't want anyone else to be able to move up and challenge them.
Its because we are now in the age of almost total conference alignment and conference bowl-tie-ins. When there were 20+ Independent teams, teams that had good records, could go to major bowls with at-large bids (Orange, Sugar, Cotton, Fiesta). That doesn't exist anymore, anywhere. FSU wasn't anything until they has a 1-loss season and played in the Orange Bowl twice against Oklahoma 1979, 1980, and beat them once. Miami didn't get there until the 1984 game against Nebraska. You know the rest.
So there isn't this free-form nature to college football anymore. But the fairness now isn't the open access to a bowl and close proximity. Its with the 85 scholarship rule.
You need to go further back to understand Temple's attendance problem:
In 3 years combined, they didn't equal ONE Penn St. game attendance. With only 4 home games in 1995 they had only 17,624 fans for the entire year. I believe it was a WVU game where the number of fans was in the hundreds. That was when the serious talk about kicking Temple out started.
I don't have access to those numbers. Yes, that is bad. But look at their improvement. They are now, last season, 6 times what they were in 1995. I still think its unfair, and the contempt that people have is far-fetched.
New Orleans is not much bigger than Memphis and Memphis IS growing and growing much faster than New Orleans (13% in the 90s vs. 4% for NO). Also Tulane has the disadvantage of being a relatively small (10k) private school that is only 80 miles down the road from LSU and is in a town with pro football. Tulane has a recently revived bb program vs. Memphis with a national reputation. Tulane doesn't compare to Memphis except in academics.
But Memphis is an absolute misfit in the BE as an institution. Tulane is actually 13K which is the same size as Duke, U Miami, Syracuse, Boston College and is bigger Wake Forest. Memphis would be the oddest member of any major conference if it joined and would be confusing as a BE member.
My cousin who is a very traditional fan (allum) of U of Michigan, the Big 10 and the Rose Bowl. We had a conversation about 2 years ago about what we thought was major college football. He said it was the Big 10, Big 12, Pac 10, SEC, and ACC. He said that the Big East, which he could barely identify as a conference, was not a major conference, even with Miami. He said it was an anomoly. He then said BYU, Colorado State, Utah and all those teams in the WAC weren't major. He couldn't even identify that there was a breakaway league with those teams called the Mountain West Conference. To him its still the WAC.
When I said CUSA, he looked confused as to what that conference is all about. He knows of the MAC but not CUSA and UAB. He is into a 1975 to 1985 definition of college football, hates the BCS, but if it had to exist, the WAC and the Big East (or whatever that name of that conference Miami is in) should not be a part of it. If I told him that Memphis was playing Rutgers in a conference game. He would go, what conference is that in? The Big East has a household name and identity. But you say Memphis vs. Rutgers and I bet a number of people will not make the connection or will be confused at their household tables. My cousin wouldn't know Memphis existed and would think you are talking about Memphis State or some school like that.
North Carolina has 4 with 8 million people,
So. That is an historical alliance. Duke and Wake Forest are in the ACC because they have always been and because of Bball and their academics. They are a part of the ACC character. They are not normal teams in that league. There's technically 4 teams, but Duke and WF are really in the shadows of UNC and NCSU. Its not a normal comparable. This historical alliance captured these teams and they have not nor will not depart from major football.
Kansas has 2 with 2.6 million,
Again a very historical alliance. The Big 8/Big 12 would never kick these teams out. I've talked about this before. When the Big 8 (MVIAA) originally formed, Kansas had about 3 times the population of Florida and it was the 21st ranked state in populaton. They have been captured in major football ever since.
Mississippi 2 with 2.8 million
A yet again a very historical alliance. About the 18th largest state in pop when the Southern/SEC formed their alliances. They have been capture in major college football ever since.
and Nebraska has 1 very strong program with only 1.7 million.
Nebraska was the 27th largest state in pop, and Omaha was the 3rd largest city west of the Mississippi River at the time they began playing football. Nebraska academic rep in the early years of college football was on the level of being in the top 5 state universities in the nation, behind U of Michigan, U of Illinois, U of California, and U of Wisconsin. It was the 18th member of the AAU, joing in 1909, 9 years after the association formed. It was captured in the early years of the Big 8, and in the 1960's, it began the long run of being a national competitive team with a strong strong statewide following, with an NCAA record 260+ consecutive sellouts and soon will have an 80,000 seat stadium. Its a different dynamic.
Memphis market is 1.5 million and not growing. It doesn't go statewide. You can tell from the coverage of having a special section on other major Newspaper in TN on their websites (like the Nashville Tennessean). There is no Memphis Tigers:
Can't get this paper
The only place is Memphis:
It is not a statewide team and does not have the ability to be a statewide team. The TV stations in Memphis will cover UM Tigers. But I can't see them 200 miles away in Nashville, 350 in Chattanooga, 400 in Knoxville, 500 in Kingsport-Johnson City-Bristol. It is a very regional team for Memphis and the western 1/3 of the state. Only Memphis is growing in that region.
I will agree ND is kind of a fluke, but I don't think Vanderbilt really counts either. Having TN, Memphis and Vanderbilt would not be the same as having 3 state schools, especially considering Vanderbilt's nature. Its kind of aloof and draws students from throughout the south. While I agree there wouldn't be much sense in the SEC adding a 3rd team from Tennessee, the state's population alone doesn't preclude a 3rd BCS team in a different conference.
I do -- meaning I believe the pop of Tennessee and the geographical distribution of the pop does preclude them, because its market again is the same size as Idaho, and it is a 1st or 2nd Team behind U Tennessee in the western 1/3. Idaho doesn't have any BCS teams. Boise State is good, but still no BCS. Nebraska has 1.7 million but see above as to why. Memphis is not going to become a Nebraska.
Ohio could certainly support another BCS team. But I also don't see Cincinnati moving to the level of an Oklahoma St. or NC St. It is too much of a commuter school. That is where schools like UCLA and Pittsburgh have an advantage. It is also in a town with pro football and baseball. The best fb attendance in Ohio after Ohio St. is Toledo. They are in a decent size metro area (unlike Ohio U.) without pro sports (see Kent St., Akron, Miami U., Cincinnati). Only Michigan #1 and Washington #19 compete with pro football of the top 20 schools in attendance. 8 of the bottom 14 compete with pros.
Right, and here unlies the problem with urban grants. They are NOT statewide teams. Ohio's problem is that it has 7 non-BCS teams that are all very regional, with Ohio U and Miami U only being able to go somewhat statewide with the allumni and some fans. Their attendnance doesn't necessarily reflect, but their allumni does and so does their academic rep compared to the other 4 MAC schools and UCincy. Only UCincy's Law and Medical schools and Architecture college, and research base give it some noteriety. But nonetheless, UCincy doesn't mean much of anything to people in Youngstown, Astubula, Cleveland. They have many regional U's with sports programs there. The state is too fragmented with followings below Ohio State. All of these schools are in the shadow of the Big 10 and OSU. Just compare Toledo's attendance to Ohio State's, it should be easy to see that.
Urban Grants are not statewide teams because other people in the state in other metro areas and other farther out rural areas don't have an identity with an Urban Grant school. The name doesn't connect with them, not like a Land Grant Flagship that OSU, the behemouth is, does. Pitt, UCLA, and maybe Louisville are the exceptions. Memphis, UCF, UAB, Houston, are all not statewide schools.