football god, the moves made by CUSA to form a more southwest based conference have been fairly public. It's doubtful any new league would form when it is not a guaruntee that there would be an automatic berth for the NCAA basketball tourney.
It is hard to say. I suggest this, because the elements for a new league forming are certainly present. If the league was able to land a nice TV deal--- a possibility I will get into shortly, the league would have a chance to move ahead of a number of other second and third tier conferences in short order.
If they were to mimic the BE's half basketball/half football structure, I think there is no way they don't get an automatic bid. The schools I am mentioning generate a lot of graduates and some are in pretty good markets.
North Texas (enrollment: 30k+)
Largest school in #7 market (2.255M TV households)
Second to A&M in #11 market (1.848M TV households)
Texas State (formerly SW Texas St.) (26K+)
Second to UT in #54 market (557K TV households)
Texas-El Paso (17K+)
Largest school in #100 market (283K TV households)
Now the other 4 schools don't give you a thing in terms of market share, but they would likely be game to join. Travel costs seem to be a little better in this for most established Div 1 teams.
Would this generate more income than the MWC TV deal? (SD 1.029M+ Utah 786k + Denver 1.399M)
If so, would UNM bail? If no BCS bid is there to hold them and an automatic basketball bid for the new conference seems likely, would they jump to be the big fish in the conference? (a bird in hand is going to be worth two in the bush, but lets let this play out and say they do.)
Largest school in #49 market (633K TV households)
Does this conference now look better to Memphis than the remaining CUSA?
Largest school in #43 market (662K TV households)
that gives you 10 schools for football, and should make you strong enough to justify an automatic bid.
But if you go with the BE/CUSA model and add non-football schools....
UT Arlington (21K+)
Second to UNT in #7 market (2.255M TV households)
UT San Antonio (19K+)
Largest school in #37 market (736K TV households)
New Orleans (17K+)
Largest school in #42 market (665K TV households)
Central OKlahoma (14K+)
Third to OU & OSU in #45 market (647K TV households)
Houston, UNM, Memphis, La. Tech, UTEP, and NO should be enough legitimacy for a automatic BB bid, although with those schools in place, I don't see that as an issue. This looks nearly as attractive as the OLD CUSA in terms of markets.
Just a side note---with Memphis, New Orleans, San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston, this would be a fun travel conference for fans.