fighting muskie wrote:
I've toyed with the idea of non-football schools becoming part of the American but I just don't see that happening. The members who were part of the 2005-2012 Big East were all burned by basketball schools who put their own interests over the greater good of the conference and they don't want a repeat of that experience. Also, consider that almost the entire American was part of C-USA, who expelled two good basketball schools in 2005--St Louis and Charlotte, because they wanted a league where every member played football.
I also don't think its a guarantee that UMass just automatically gets the nod if UConn leaves. The only friend they have in the American is Temple. I see the American replacing them with a C-USA school that is more geographically compatible with the rest of the conference. UTSA is my personal pick but they might add Rice, USM, or maybe even Charlotte.
No hybrid. The American is an all sports conference except with an Associate Team for FB only aka Navy.
Nothing is automatic for UMass but if UConn leaves if there is realignment after the CURRENT TV contracts and the current GOR expire. They would seriously be considered as a regional partner for Temple who already has a prior relationship with them through the A-10. Their BB would be a plus and the New England market would remain for TV purposes. Football is improving with Whipple back and they are now solid with a full compliment of scholarships for FB. They need to continue with up grades to their FB stadium and get to a seating capacity of at least 25k on campus if not 30k with the continued ability to move a high end P5 game to Gillette once a year. They would also have support from Navy regionally for admission. Army would be another NE choice but they aren't coming as of now. If Marshall continues with their success then they would be a decent regional add too surrounded by Memphis, Cinn, Temple, Navy, and ECU. They would be third on the list in that area though. The American would not go past 12 schools for FB though because of the CFP money which only goes up to $12 million or one million per team. If the G5 could get a bump in that money to 14 schools with the other P5 conferences going to 14, 15, and 16 team conferences I could see the following American Conference with the loss of UConn to the ACC/B-10/B-12, and possibly Cinn to the B-12:
Temple, UMass, Army, Navy, Marshall, Memphis, ECU
USF, UCF, Tulane, Tulsa, SMU, Houston + another SE or SW regional school
Mix and match the 7 team divisions which ever way you want, N-S, E-W, Zipper, for FB depending on Army and Navy and their desire to play in the SE and SW for academy recruiting purposes.
If UConn and Cinn remain with out further alignment and the American expands for TV contract purposes with the possibility of picking up an additional 2 million dollars CFP money to $14 million to be distributed evenly, then Army and UMass would be great NE adds for future TV contracts. You would have 14 schools for FB and 12 schools for BB. My guess would be that the conference would stay status quo for the time being though especially with the P5's refusing to share more their share of the egg from the golden goose with the G5 schools they are trying to bury without the government stepping in with anti-trust legislation.