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Sportgeog, I live in Arizona so yes it is a growing state and so is Florida.
ASU did not quite fit the Pac 10 profile during expansion, however, is making strides to catch up on the academic front. Arizona was always Pac 10 in theory.
Central Florida and Florida Atlantic could be considered as BE expansion candidates if you were looking at growth.
Any team can improve in academics if they follow ASU and change admission standards. WVU could very well become a tier 2 school and be considered ACCish if the school decided to follow the same criteria as ASU. One downside is Arizona is a growing state and turning down students and revenue that comes with it is easy in certain states that have many more applicants applying for admissions than openings.
Yes, I know that ASU was originally a Normal School. It is the only historic normal of the entire BCS. But because Arizona is a rapidly growing state and because it had historically only one flagship. But by the time 1978 came around. Phoenix became huge, and now its even huger. That metro area is now the 14th largest metro area with 3.5 million people. There are no other large scale universities in Phoenix other than ASU. There is more corporations and business growth that can give to a second university. When a state grows that rapidly there is room for a second state flagship, especially when 3/5th of the state's population lives in that metro area. Not only that ASU had a 70,000+ seat stadium and was performing incredibly well in the early to mid 70's. Undefeated teams, upsetting Nebraska in the 1975 Fiesta Bowl. All of these elements made ASU a growing school in a majority/City-State market (a metro area that contains more than 1/2 of the population of a state and the university there represents that market). This is what makes ASU different than Memphis, UCF, USF, Louisville, Cincy, UAB, USM and ECU. Its location gives it the ability to have a 2nd status or even an equal status to the original 1st flagship of U of Arizona.
There is a potential that UNLV and Boise State could have these similar roles, provided their academics improve and their populations can reach large, large sizes. Maybe for UNLV this is possible, but Boise that market growth may take awhile. This is what makes Urban Grant schools more important in the west. They are located in the population center where that population center contains more than 1/2 of the population of the state. For Phoenix, it has 3.5 million of Arizona's 5.5 million people. A public university with a large enrollment like that is a second status or an equal status to the original U (U of A). But beyond that, ASU is a 3rd Tier National U, which is slightly below Pac 10, status. But its not the only 3rd Tier as Oregon State is also one. For the Pac 10 to go to 10 teams, if that was their goal, there is simply not a better school located near the Pac 8/Pac 10 alignment, except for Utah and BYU, which are farther away. The Pac 10 wouldn't have taken Fresno, San Diego State, or San Jose State. ASU was the only option for the Pac 10 at that time for a 10th team.
As far as WVU, yes they could become Tier 2. That is if they tighten their enrollment and have Marshall take more students. So you would have to grow the university. The other thing about WV lately. The state is losing population as always, in most of its counties. All except the county Morgantown is located in and two counties in the far eastern portion including and near Martinsburg. These are commuter residents to the DC-Baltimore metro area, as these two counties are actually a part of the DC-Balt-North Va metro. Maybe that could bring some resources to help expand or build upon WVU academics.
But the bottom line with regard to the ACC. Its not expanding anymore, its maxed-out.
Now as far as UCF and FAU or FIU. They need to really improve academics. They are both 4th Tier schools. Only California has demonstrated that its branch campuses of the University of California system can be on par and highly regarded like the flagship UC-Berkeley. The 4 flagship campuses of the SUNY system in NY have also demonstrated that they can be on any equal basis. Right now SUNY-Binghamton, SUNY-Stony Brook, SUNY-Buffalo are all 2nd Tier National U's and SUNY-Albany is 3rd Tier and alternates to 2nd Tier some years.
The UTexas system has yet to achieve this. Only UT Austin is a 1st Tier school, Texas A & M is a very high 2nd Tier, TTU is a 3rd Tier. Houston, UT-Arlington, UTSA, UTEP, UNT, Texas A & M Commerce and Texas A & M Kingsville are all 4th Tier schools. Also UT-Dallas is the only 3rd Tier branch of the UT system. Urban Grants do not go statewide, nor do their markets are more than the metro area and nor do they compete with the statewide teams. Except for the UCal system and maybe the SUNY system do branch universities or more than 2 flagships go above a 4th tier university status.
The State of Florida has UFla and FSU as their flagships. UFla is a 1st Tier school and FSU is a 2nd Tier school. USF is a 3rd Tier, is growing and has become a large university, and its research status has improved. But USF and UCF, and FAU, and FIU are not ASU's. They don't exist in City-states cities (Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-WPB is less than 1/3 of Florida's pop, and has 3 universities with Miami as a private and a huge following, FAU and FIU, and these are not ASU-like). Tampa-St. Pete has about 1/7 of the state's population and Orlando has 1/9 of the pop of florida. These schools of USF, UCF, FAU, FIU can not rise above UFla and FSU statewide flagship roles and followings, as well as the private Miami to be like ASU in Arizona where they are the only major U in Phoenix, which is 3/5th of Arizona's pop. The geographic distribution of pop in the west is different than that of the east, and the UNLV's and Boise State's have a 2nd status in City/state cities/markets. The only city-states East of the Mississippi are Chicago and Illinois, NYC and New York, Atlanta and Georgia, DC-Balt in Maryland, Boston in Massachusetts, Detroit in Michigan, Minneapolis-St. Paul in MN. The rest of the city/states are in the west. See my first 15 posts when I first came here I posted about how the West is different than the east. It was in an Idaho Plans Thread.
So UCF, FAU, and FIU and USF all have very regional and metro-like followings. They are not going to be new ASU's for Florida, nor is it unlikely that these Universities are going to become the UCal system like. Because to increase their capabilities means decreasing the role and importance of UFl and FSU. Even if academics do improve, they are not going to get statewide market following like an ASU. They will always compete with UFla, FSU and Miami. USF is the 4th BCS school in Florida. There are no states with more than 4 BCS schools. UCF doesn't have that capability -- its attendance is not reflecting it, nor is its academics.
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