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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2005 8:13 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2003 10:57 pm
Posts: 1341
Location: Portland! (and about time!)
Well, now I know why nothing was added to the pinned Big Sky expansion thread when they announced "negotiations" with Northern Colorado. At least on my system, the reply option was removed. Naturally, I wouldn't mind if this post was merged into it.

As the discussion on, of all places, the Austin Peay board, has turned to some upset over why Northern Colorado is in consideration and the Dakota schools aren't, well, merit isn't everything.

I promised a spicy comment or two on Portland State.

The fan base turns their noses up at "way out there" ag schools. Well, the fan base wants in the WAC without realizing how it has to act to get there, but that's just part of the self-unfulfilling prophecy these fans are working towards.

More importantly, the PSU administration doesn't want to add conference games that feature (1) travel way out there, and (2) probably no away fans when they come to Portland. They would rather split OOC games up with California schools, both for the better travel AND the recruiting opportunities (I doubt the Cal schools bring a lot of away fans). I'm pretty sure they'd also like to find a way to bring UC Davis and Cal Poly into the conference... but I'm also fairly convinced that Davis and Poly like their "emerging"/current setup (in the order of the circumstance of the schools listed).

Last edited by pounder on Mon Apr 18, 2005 8:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2005 2:18 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2003 10:57 pm
Posts: 1341
Location: Portland! (and about time!)
I am guilty of being spicy... but there's another way to put this.

Not necessarily a bias AGAINST ag schools...

...but a bias for other major metro areas.

Much more than once, I hear this "why can't we be in a conference with Sac St, San Jose St, San Diego St, et cetera" Really rather funky, because the discussion usually ends up centering on California schools that are having a hard time continuing to justify playing football. Moreover (though this isn't an accident), it's centered on markets that are pretty much Pac-centric.

Some of that has morphed into longing for 1-A (of course, then the discussion becomes "Fresno will actually come to Portland"). Long story, but not a good one.

PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2005 10:01 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2003 10:57 pm
Posts: 1341
Location: Portland! (and about time!)
If I were the Big Sky...

QUESTION 1: Do I really want Portland State and Sacramento State?

Answer: HECK YES. Big Sky schools WANT to recruit the coast.

QUESTION 2: Do Portland State and Sacramento State really want to remain in the Big Sky?

Answer: In terms of potential, NO. In terms of where both budgets are at present, Portland State is a reluctant yes, and Sac State wishes they could be in the Sky for football and the Big West for everything else.

These schools seem to be the ones demonstrating that they could do without the Dakota schools... but it's also obvious to me at this point that an Idaho State, a Northern Arizona, an Eastern Washington, and maybe a Montana school or two have reasons for a particular focus west... though the foray into Colorado doesn't hurt to that end.

So here's my guess for expansion candidates in the following scenarios:

If the Sky isn't losing anyone, one school further appeases either west or east... and it's not Southern Utah. I'm going to assume that you won't get Davis or Poly out of the Big West / Great West gig (both would be top of the list otherwise), and that may be a dangerous assumption.

Choices: (1) Western Washington (probably by a wide margin, IF you can get them a new stadium or an expanded Civic Stadium in Bellingham). Frankly, I don't think there's a realistic #2 - Central Washington doesn't have enough juice, Western Oregon can barely afford D-2 as it is, and Humboldt State would need a new gym, much less being truly isolated from about everything out by Eureka.

Alternate: if the Big Sky has any thoughts about non-football membership, this is where you go after Denver. Would Denver accept? Eh...

PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2005 10:43 am 
Pounder, I didn't know you were an internal employee of Sac State athletics. Saying Sac State wishes to be in the Big West is wrong. If so why are they moving their baseball and gymnastic teams into the WAC.

The Big West is what they don't want to become.

PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2005 10:54 am 
Unless Denver has a realistic shot with, for example, the Missouri Valley (too west), West Coast (too east), or WAC (no football), it's hard to understand why they would reject overtures from the Big Sky...why would a Catholic school at the foot of the Rockies need a "presence" in Jonesboro, Little Rock, Lafayette, Monroe, Murfreesboro, Mobile, Troy, and Bowling Green...Denver is in a strange location for a school of its ilk...Denver and Utah Valley State are the only I-AAA programs between Wichita and Spokane...

PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2005 1:55 pm 
Since the announced departure of Idaho, Utah State, and New Mexico State from the Sun-Belt, Denver sticks out like a sore thumb.

From other postings, it sounds as if they are looking for a new conference home, and the Sun-Belt (which reduces to 12 southeastern schools upon Denver's departure), fully understands Denver's position, and expects them to be looking around.

I wonder if the Big Sky insisted that a D-1AA FB program be started as part of Denver's consideration for mmebership ? That would certainly create a budget crunch, and might have caused Denver to reconsider their application / terminate discussions.

Denver is hardly near the center of any conferences - it is near the perimeter of the Big Sky, MVC and Mid-Con.
The latter two (if interested in Denver) would not require FB as part of the package. From a stability stand-point, I would think the MVC would be preferable.

PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2005 2:46 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2003 10:57 pm
Posts: 1341
Location: Portland! (and about time!)
I have no idea if the Big Sky wants to add a non-football member. I know that Karl Benson is saying that he's considering it for the WAC, though I'm not sure if the membership is all that hyped about the possibility. Denver "could" provide some linkage either way (a nominal travel partner for Utah State, even though Logan is closer to Boise). It makes sense for the Big Sky to have a travel partner for Northern Colorado for basketball, but I can't assure anyone of any sense in any conference.

I may rethink my position on how the Montanas regard the Dakotas... but it's evident to me that some folks on the coast need some MAJOR selling for the Dakotas to join. The recruiting issue and the travel issue are paramount. Your best hope may well be killing Portland State football... which isn't a far-fetched idea, frankly.

BTW... it's the president at Sac State that threw the Big West bone out there. The only reason Sac State sends baseball and gymnastics to the WAC is lack of alternatives... it means nothing unless Sac State can do something with their football program.

Last edited by pounder on Wed Apr 20, 2005 2:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2005 10:45 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2003 10:57 pm
Posts: 1341
Location: Portland! (and about time!)

This is for 2003-2004 season.

Looks like Denver barely broke 1,500.

Nobody in D-2 or D-3 approached 5,000.

Kind of funny that (1) North Dakota outdraws NDSU for basketball, however, at UND, 2,550 for basketball, 10,870 for hockey the same season.

As for the WAC, this is what they get to look at (oh, you take me 100% seriously... at your peril):

Alaska Anchorage 2,275
Augustana 2,591
Cal Davis 2,313
Cal Poly 2,792
Cal State Bakersfield 2,427
Creighton 12,016
Denver 1,569
Eastern Washington 2,765
Lamar 4,063
Louisiana-Lafayette 4,881
Montana 3,605
Montana State 3,644
Nebraska-Kearney 3,324
North Dakota 2,550
North Dakota State 2,440
North Texas 2,031
Northwest Missouri State 2,081
Oral Roberts 5,575
Pacific 3,801
Pittsburg State 2,179
Portland State 981
St. Cloud State 2,764
South Dakota 3,076
South Dakota State 3,375
Southern Utah 1,932
Texas Christian 4,623
Texas-Pan American 1,889
UC Irvine 2,768
UC Santa Barbara 2,374
UMKC 3,074
Weber State 4,984
Western Kentucky 5,372
Wichita State 10,090
Wyoming 8,201

Speaking of Karl Benson:

Boise State 5,356 (the highest it will be for a while)
Fresno State 13,686
Hawaii 7,443
Idaho 2,482
Louisiana Tech 2,085
Nevada 8,061
New Mexico State 6,139
San Jose State 1,167
Utah State 8,465

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