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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 2:31 am 
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Snip.
IUPUI's campus is, not counting the teaching hospitals, 600 acres, no smaller than Kentucky, and rather larger than Louisville, Pittsburgh (though admittedly that school is smaller by student body and has the Cathedral of Learning), Georgia Tech, and several other public Division IA football schools.

Furthermore, while the east is blocked off by downtown and two of the three old capitol buildings, and south impinges on luxury housing along the Canal and White River State Park, there is still the imediate north (a very rundown industrial district with land that can be had for pennies on the dollar as far north as 23rd Street and as far West as the 16th Street Speedway and South Grove Golf Course, and more than double campus size.) They can practice at Track And Field And Soccer Stadium and play at the RCA Dome with basketball at Conseco Fieldhouse.



Actually the campus factbook lists the acreage as 512, including the hopsitals and the 16th St. Raceway (used as a parking lot), I'm not sure if it includes the old Herron Art School campus (since moved to the main campus) or not. Furthermore, besides not owning the hospitals (besides IU's), they also don't own the hotel sitting right in the middle of campus, so the actual acreage is quite a bit less.


The only main place that's left to expand is where the old DOH building is on the campus' northwest. I'm not quite sure you do want to expand to the north (as there is no way campus expands west into the Haughville area), there is already enough animosity over the original campus expansion between Michigan and Indiana Aves, not to mention the immediate surrounding neighborhoods tend to be somewhat rough. There's also a question of whether you want a high school (as they're definitely not going to tear down Attucks HS) right in the middle of a college campus, that would cause its own set of problems.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 4:25 am 
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I knew I should have spent the time to find a synonym for "regional" when I wrote that sentence. I know in terms of Universities that word carries a different meaning, I thought the rest of the paragraph illustrated that I was using the the term in a more general sense in describing BYU.

ie. BYU is not limited to just being a state flagship (like Utah), rather it is the flagship of the dominant religion in a multistate ...we will say"area"... stretching from Arizona to Idaho and California to Colorado.


You're close, but while the base does tend to thin out the farther east you go, it's still definitely there. It is without a doubt a national presence. Think of it like the Mormon version of Notre Dame, except without other catholic schools (IE Boston College, Gonzaga, etc) that would claim their own portions of possible fanbase.



Quote:
If you look closely, you'll see I haven't said UVU could or would be admitted without taking up football. This is a school that has a lot of positives in terms of FBS potential. Additionally, it is a school that is trying to redefine themselves. If the WAC offerred a bid to them based on them adding football, this is the kind of scenario where I could see a school administration with no apparrent football plans, seriously considering it.

And yes, just like FIU and FAU they would have to transition through FCS.


Actually, this is entirely different. You have BYU and Utah (by far the first fiddle public school), then Utah State, Southern Utah, Dixie State, Weber State and UVU all competing for state dollars and students. This isn't Florida where the state is swimming with recruits, they would have to go into an already-swarmed California to get players, which without a team or tradition already established, is going to be extremely rough. Unless they either have a foothold in a I-A conference with bb-only schools (Big East, Sun Belt), they are going to have to have sustained success at the I-AA level in order to move up. This would probably take 25-30 years, by which time most of the Big Sky will have moved up, if not the entire conference itself.


Quote:
I think you overstate some of your points. I acknowledge that FBS conference are looking for established football members, but part of the jist of this post is that in the WAC, where membership is at a bare minimum and there are relatively few candidate schools who could make the jump, UVU is a compelling mix of a a school with the potential to do it and no limitations (beyond obvious financial ones --- which may or may not be there).

This is not the frequently mentioned Montana, the only school who could make the jump tomorrow. Montana realizes that if they move up to FBS, they will always be stuck in the worst conference in the region because they lack any media, academic, or attendance clout. Additionally, the prospects of going without Montana State would be, at best, not without rancor. They probably will remain FCS for the next 20 years+.


Actually that's by far off base, especially with Montana. While academically the MWC is recognized over the WAC, the WAC still has more on-field boasts, with Nevada's recent runs in March Madness, making two BCS bowl games and winning one (and don't be surprised if the Broncs are back there this year). I've said this numerous times, but Montana is set up to be the next Boise State, the entire problem is they could never go anywhere without MSU, who would be set up to fail like Idaho. Actually Idaho's move to I-A was fueled quite a bit by Montana winning a national title. Having all 3 main rivals with I-AA titles and UI without (as well as some state snobbery involved) really put the Vandals in the mood to jump to have one up on UM, depsite being ill-prepared for the move. The state Us board system would never let one move up without the other, nor would they both move up would they ever let them split conferences, let a bunch of armed MSU fans storm Helena.


Quote:
So where will the next member school come from? What happens if TCU recruiting flatlines and the team starts losing? If angry alumni force a withdrawl from the MWC and a return to CUSA? Does the MWC just lose face or do they pull Reno or Boise from the WAC? Who does the WAC pick up? Texas State??? That is another travel anchor that financially challenged conference doesn't need.


This is more a far-flung what if than anything, barring an SMU-style scandal, I doubt TCU goes anywhere.


Quote:
The sunbelt added FIU and FAU because they were hurting for members, the schools fit the footprint, offered good potential markets, few local competitors, and were dedicated to the move financially. The recruiting potential was probably not a big factor. Small time FBS schools recruit locally, so while FIU and FAU might quickly become solid sunbelt schools, this isn't like the Big East nothern schools wanting a launching board to recruit blue chip Florida recruits. Additionally, I do not think either school was an athletic power in IAA (ala montana) in their breif IAA stays. One of the schools qualified for the playoffs after they started getting the IA recruits in preparation for moving up, but to call them IAA powers would be a huge stretch.


Considering FIU would have made the playoffs their first year, and FAU did in theirs, I think it's safe to say had the Sun Belt not have been forced to get more schools immediately, both would be perennial playoff contenders in I-AA.


Quote:
Additionally, I think you are looking at it backwards. ULM, and regionally displaced Idaho and NM St., those were probably not an FBS conference's first choices. The sunbelt took what they could get to start. The sunbelt cherrypicked IAA (as best they could) for their later members. FIU and FAU give good media markets. Troy and WKU were FCS powers with long tradion and were likely candidates to transition to competent FBS schools quickly. They didn't get everyone they probably wanted, but no FCS school that wanted to move up in the eastern half of the country thought the sunbelt would shun them if they moved up. The same can't be said about the WAC.


Well, the big problem with that is that the Sun Belt evolved out of the former Big West conference. Arkansas State, North Texas, Idaho, and NM State all came out of the Big West, while Utah State went independent and Boise went to the WAC (Nevada had left the BW the previous year). Louisiana-Lafayette was a former BW member who went Independent, and ULM and MTS were transitioning into I-A already.

Another thing is that you're not taking geography into account. The only actual western I-AA conference is the Big Sky, the Great West is (and always was) more of a mish-mash of the western outliers. The conference started as St. Mary's, SUU, Cal Poly (all I-AA independents), while the rest were move-ups from DII (DakStates, Northern Colorado, Cal-Davis). If you can't even break the Big Sky, you can kiss any I-A aspirations goodbye. It would take UVU a good 5 years of playing solid football (including two playoff years) AND solid academics to get into the BSC (though Cal-Davis would probably be welcomed rather quickly should they ever tire of the BWC or want a home for all sports), then at least another 10 of competitive BSC play to even consider it.


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I haven't mentioned IUPUI at all.


IUPUI was just an example of your typical commuter school, which is what UVU still is right now. It doesn't matter what the administration tries, if the students don't want to a) buy into it, b) help shoulder the costs of building a solid athletic program while upgrading the university, and c) stay on campus (for social events if not live there), it won't happen.


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I think this logic is off a bit. It is dead on for larger conferences, but I don't buy it for the MAC. Buffalo is a great add for all the reasons you mention, but do you really think their addition is an effort by the MAC to rebrand themselves as a more academic conference?


Well, considering they offered nothing sportswise and their fanbase was nearly non-existant for years (possibly to this day), yes.


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Do you really think the MAC added UCF to recruit Florida? UCF is an enormous university in a great maket. That had the chance to be a very high profile add that added TV money --- just like temple.... There were reasons for these schools and the MAC to get together that seem a lot more compelling than your suggestions.


UCF does have the market, but there is no denying that also being in a hotbed of HS football has its advantages (look at what South Florida has done for the BE). Temple has the academics, but to be honest its football market numbers are horrible... it's really Buffalo part II, except it's a football-only partnering.


Where is the WAC as a football conference if Boise or La Tech bolts?
[/quote]

Actually LaTech bolting would probably be a blessing in disguise, as the travel costs would be MUCH more managable. That was actually the plan until C-USA surprised everyone and took UTEP. LaTech could easily bolt for the Sun Belt any time they wanted. However, the fact that they don't is a bigger indication that the Sun Belt IS below the WAC, as it always has been (even as the Big West). Even before the BW decided to stop sponsoring football, they suffered a lot of defections to the gain of the WAC (see the expansion to 16, Nevada, Boise State). Obviously Boise would be a loss, but there is still good football played by Hawaii (look at all of the BCS-affiliated teams who've gotten trounced on the island over the years) and Fresno State.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 10:24 pm 
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You're close, but while the base does tend to thin out the farther east you go, it's still definitely there. It is without a doubt a national presence. Think of it like the Mormon version of Notre Dame, except without other catholic schools (IE Boston College, Gonzaga, etc) that would claim their own portions of possible fanbase.


it is a good compairison. In TV terms, mormonism is probably mostly just a SW thing. I do know what you mean though, there are mormons all over the US, just that in TV terms the areas with significant populations are all in that SW multistate block.

I certainly mean no disrespect to BYU. They are the obvious and glaring gem of the non-BCS crowd.


Quote:
Actually, this is entirely different. You have BYU and Utah (by far the first fiddle public school), then Utah State, Southern Utah, Dixie State, Weber State and UVU all competing for state dollars and students. This isn't Florida where the state is swimming with recruits, they would have to go into an already-swarmed California to get players, which without a team or tradition already established, is going to be extremely rough. Unless they either have a foothold in a I-A conference with bb-only schools (Big East, Sun Belt), they are going to have to have sustained success at the I-AA level in order to move up. This would probably take 25-30 years, by which time most of the Big Sky will have moved up, if not the entire conference itself.


These are some areas in which we disagree.

Recruiting first. BYU pulls from the states in those blocks and hawaii and a little out of california. Utah I suspect dominates Utah mostly recruiting. Utah state and Boise Stgets what is left in Utah, but Colorado and Arizona are compairitively under recruited. Look at what the Dakota schools have been able to do being near to two populous states (WI and MN) with a single FBS school. The 85 scholarship limit and population growth makes competitive viability within reach for a lot of schools that couldn't consider it 20 years ago.




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Actually that's by far off base, especially with Montana. While academically the MWC is recognized over the WAC, the WAC still has more on-field boasts, with Nevada's recent runs in March Madness, making two BCS bowl games and winning one (and don't be surprised if the Broncs are back there this year).


I much less concerned with putting up a good show than i am with the financial viability of athletic decisions and programs. Montana is one of a rare few schools profitable in FCS. They don't scale well for FBS. You can find a number of similar Publics in FBS and none of them are financially healthy. That can really kill a program.


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I've said this numerous times, but Montana is set up to be the next Boise State, the entire problem is they could never go anywhere without MSU, who would be set up to fail like Idaho. Actually Idaho's move to I-A was fueled quite a bit by Montana winning a national title. Having all 3 main rivals with I-AA titles and UI without (as well as some state snobbery involved) really put the Vandals in the mood to jump to have one up on UM, depsite being ill-prepared for the move. The state Us board system would never let one move up without the other, nor would they both move up would they ever let them split conferences, let a bunch of armed MSU fans storm Helena.


I don't think being the next Boise is all that much to aspire to. Montana doesn't have Boise's enrollment, so I am guessing you mean competitively and facilities wise. When Idaho eventually get's their stadium upgrade to 25-30K they will actually probably be a more attractive school than Boise to the rank and file of the MWC.

we agree about the MSU montana tie.


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This is more a far-flung what if than anything, barring an SMU-style scandal, I doubt TCU goes anywhere.


TCU has changed conferences how many times since the SWC died?

Until the MWC is a BCS conference, they won't have any hold on TCU that can't be trumped. TCU is bleeding today and alumni are starting to notice.


Quote:
Considering FIU would have made the playoffs their first year, and FAU did in theirs, I think it's safe to say had the Sun Belt not have been forced to get more schools immediately, both would be perennial playoff contenders in I-AA.


I don't think this is safe to say. These schools made it very clear they were going to FBS. Their recruiting got a lot of FBS caliber players for this reason. If they were an FCS school with no immediate plans for FBS, they would not have landed a lot of good players.



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Well, the big problem with that is that the Sun Belt evolved out of the former Big West conference. Arkansas State, North Texas, Idaho, and NM State all came out of the Big West, while Utah State went independent and Boise went to the WAC (Nevada had left the BW the previous year). Louisiana-Lafayette was a former BW member who went Independent, and ULM and MTS were transitioning into I-A already.


I'd argue that the sunbelt took advantage of the opportunities created by the big West's demise. Two ways of interpreting the same scenario.


Quote:
Another thing is that you're not taking geography into account. The only actual western I-AA conference is the Big Sky, the Great West is (and always was) more of a mish-mash of the western outliers. The conference started as St. Mary's, SUU, Cal Poly (all I-AA independents), while the rest were move-ups from DII (DakStates, Northern Colorado, Cal-Davis). If you can't even break the Big Sky, you can kiss any I-A aspirations goodbye. It would take UVU a good 5 years of playing solid football (including two playoff years) AND solid academics to get into the BSC (though Cal-Davis would probably be welcomed rather quickly should they ever tire of the BWC or want a home for all sports), then at least another 10 of competitive BSC play to even consider it.


I am not denying this is the mindset of the WAC, it's commisioner, and the region, but IMO that is the weakness of the WAC. The sunbelt is simply more aggressive.



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IUPUI was just an example of your typical commuter school, which is what UVU still is right now. It doesn't matter what the administration tries, if the students don't want to a) buy into it, b) help shoulder the costs of building a solid athletic program while upgrading the university, and c) stay on campus (for social events if not live there), it won't happen.


I don't disagree with any of this. I attended UTD for a number of years when the university was transitioning from communter school to tradional University. I am familiar with the challenges, the process, and what can be acheived. UVU's size is an advantage, but someone with more current information (a current UVU or BYU student or employee) would need to provide a lot more information than I have currently to asses what is reasonable there and the transional time frames we are talking. If the university just wants to be a commuter University, well that is one thing. If it is as they say a desire to transform the university that is quite another.




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Well, considering they offered nothing sportswise and their fanbase was nearly non-existant for years (possibly to this day), yes.


we disagree. Buffalo is a very respecatble tv market and things could change quickly for them if the Bills leave, but really it was pure and simple need for a buffer, IMO.


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UCF does have the market, but there is no denying that also being in a hotbed of HS football has its advantages (look at what South Florida has done for the BE). Temple has the academics, but to be honest its football market numbers are horrible... it's really Buffalo part II, except it's a football-only partnering.


Temple needs a 45K on campus or extremely near campus (1 mile) stadium to fix their woes.


The WAC is a 7 member football conference if Boise or La Tech bolts. Where do they dig up #8?


Last edited by finiteman on Fri Feb 15, 2008 10:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2008 8:34 am 
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The WAC is a 7 member football conference if Boise or La Tech bolts. Where do they dig up #8?


Acutally, the WAC is an eight member conference if Boise or LaTech bolts:

1. Hawaii
2. San Jose State
3. Fresno State
4. Nevada
5. Boise State
6. Idaho
7. Utah State
8. New Mexico State
9. Louisiana Tech

If two schools bolt before 2013 (assuming the rules don't change by the time the moratorium ends), the WAC will cease to exist as as Bowl Subdivision Conferece.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2008 4:16 am 
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These are some areas in which we disagree.

Recruiting first. BYU pulls from the states in those blocks and hawaii and a little out of california. Utah I suspect dominates Utah mostly recruiting. Utah state and Boise Stgets what is left in Utah, but Colorado and Arizona are compairitively under recruited. Look at what the Dakota schools have been able to do being near to two populous states (WI and MN) with a single FBS school. The 85 scholarship limit and population growth makes competitive viability within reach for a lot of schools that couldn't consider it 20 years ago.


Look at the rosters. First off, Boise doesn't even factor into this at all, they have one player on the roster from Utah, while they have a ton of Cali/Washington/Oregon guys, some sprinkled from out West, a few from the East, and the pick of the litter at home. They've never recruited Utah heavily, and have never seen the need to. BYU has their kids very spread out geographically, much like a Notre Dame. The Utes do have a lot of Utahans, however they also have just as many other kids from the rest of the west. Actually Utah State and Weber State have more kids from Cali and Washington than Utah, so that should tell you how thin the well is even with Salt Lake City... the same holds true for Arizona and Colorado as well, outside of the cities, it's slow going.


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I much less concerned with putting up a good show than i am with the financial viability of athletic decisions and programs. Montana is one of a rare few schools profitable in FCS. They don't scale well for FBS. You can find a number of similar Publics in FBS and none of them are financially healthy. That can really kill a program.


Montana also has a nice pull of Out of State students that most other I-AA universities don't have as well, not to mention a following that would make the SEC blush (20 hours one way in an RV to go to a 3 hour game?). However, this doesn't happen without on-field results. You have to remember that athletics is advertising for the university, you win I-AA titles or BCS games like Montana and Boise, it gets your name out there.


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I don't think being the next Boise is all that much to aspire to. Montana doesn't have Boise's enrollment, so I am guessing you mean competitively and facilities wise. When Idaho eventually get's their stadium upgrade to 25-30K they will actually probably be a more attractive school than Boise to the rank and file of the MWC.


Refer again to the OOS enrollment. When a good 1/4 to 1/3 of your students come from the Midwest and East, it gives you a nice advantage.

When is U of Idaho getting a new stadium? There's no way they can expand the Kibbie Dome (it would be cheaper to build a new stadium), and there is absolutely nothing on the internet talking about UI getting one. Not to mention the enrollment is actually smaller than Montana's (UI's total enrollment is less than just UMt's undergrads). If you've got any info I'm not finding on this I'd love to see it.


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TCU has changed conferences how many times since the SWC died?

Until the MWC is a BCS conference, they won't have any hold on TCU that can't be trumped. TCU is bleeding today and alumni are starting to notice.


But if you notice that they upgraded every time they moved, the only possible upgrade they could make now is to the Big 12, and they don't seem to have any desire to get rid of Baylor or Tech.


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I don't think this is safe to say. These schools made it very clear they were going to FBS. Their recruiting got a lot of FBS caliber players for this reason. If they were an FCS school with no immediate plans for FBS, they would not have landed a lot of good players.


Not true. FAU and FIU had already had the underworks of football before the Sun Belt picked up football, and neither had made any mention of going I-A until things started with the ACC taking Big East schools. The SBC was a bit nervous (and rightfully so), so they worked with the FA/IU's and the NCAA to fast track them into I-A (much like the Big East did with UConn), and it also gave them enough teams to withstand losing the western schools.


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I'd argue that the sunbelt took advantage of the opportunities created by the big West's demise. Two ways of interpreting the same scenario.


It wasn't taking advantage of as it was the Big West totally refocusing their conference (last time I checked the standings they're still kicking, so there was no demise). They pretty much signed the conference naming over and said "here, you try to handle this".


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I am not denying this is the mindset of the WAC, it's commisioner, and the region, but IMO that is the weakness of the WAC. The sunbelt is simply more aggressive.


You're mistaking aggressiveness for fighting for survival and sheer luck. Had FAU not already been in the Sun Belt, had a short but successful run, and WKU already have been a respected I-AA member, the SBC would be teetering at 7 members today, since there would not have been interest in FAU and WKU if they weren't successful in I-AA.


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we disagree. Buffalo is a very respecatble tv market and things could change quickly for them if the Bills leave, but really it was pure and simple need for a buffer, IMO.

Temple needs a 45K on campus or extremely near campus (1 mile) stadium to fix their woes.


Check those attendance numbers... oof. Plain and simple, no one in Buffalo cares about the Bulls. Temple is in the same boat. They need sustained success to get their attendance and market numbers up to count for anything. Hell, Villanova could jump to I-A and they'd be Philly's college fb team, not Temple.


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The WAC is a 7 member football conference if Boise or La Tech bolts. Where do they dig up #8?


I'll reference wbyeager's post above:
1. Hawaii
2. San Jose State
3. Fresno State
4. Nevada
5. Boise State/LaTech (whoever stays)
6. Idaho
7. Utah State
8. New Mexico State

They're still sitting fine if one leaves. Now if two leave, then it's a totally different story.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2008 12:48 pm 
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Point of order: U of Idaho HAS announced plans for a Kibbie Dome renovation. They're going to dig the field lower to add a few sideline seats, take out a wall and expand at one end, with part of the extension of that end, in a later phase, involving a new basketball arena. That will get them a 20K football stadium. Nothing more. They'll be lucky to raise the funds for the first phase, given their fund raising arm is still gutted after a scandal involving an attempt to establish a Boise satellite campus.

All of Finite's suppositions about Idaho miss the important details. The Boise area was growing rapidly, and is probably still growing despite being hit like most average places with the mortgage crisis (realtors who aren't desperately trying to sell will tell you they're in the gutter). A few resort areas in the state are growing about as fast. Everywhere else is no better than the national average, if that. The new money going into this state goes to Boise. Very little of that goes to ANY public investment (Idaho State, for instance, tried to kick-start their plans by getting Pocatello and suburban Chubbuck to pass a tax levy for maintenance on Holt Arena, failed miserably). People here do not envision grand scales, even to the point where BSU fans hoping for quick stadium expansion are starting to find that they may not even get THAT anytime soon.

Seen gas prices? It's no accident IMO that Texas schools are gaining or returning football programs while almost everywhere else isn't. Doesn't hurt that Texas values football anyway.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 4:16 am 
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Thanks, Pounder. I knew of the Boise campus scandal, but I hadn't heard anything about working on Kibbie. I'm also curious as to how Wazzu and UI handle things when UI has to share a court and stadium, if there's $$$ involved it's going to have to be added in to the renovation costs... though I was thinking more of outward expansion when I said they couldn't do much to the dome, hadn't quite thought of going down.

You're totally right with the money being limited to Boise and the resorts, it does seem like the other Idaho cities (Couer d'Alene, Pocatello, Idaho Falls, Twin Falls, Moscow's a bit iffy) are stagnant, if not declining. And gas prices do factor in as well, it's almost surprising how many people don't realize the state's as big as it is. They just see Idaho on one page of an atlas and think it's small... boy are the surprised when they actually go through it.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 11:35 am 
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Point of order: U of Idaho HAS announced plans for a Kibbie Dome renovation. They're going to dig the field lower to add a few sideline seats, take out a wall and expand at one end, with part of the extension of that end, in a later phase, involving a new basketball arena. That will get them a 20K football stadium. Nothing more. They'll be lucky to raise the funds for the first phase, given their fund raising arm is still gutted after a scandal involving an attempt to establish a Boise satellite campus.


I was aware of the expansion of the Kibbie Dome with the dig down. I haven't talked about it much because expansion to 20K doesn't help you much when attendence minimums are now 18K. They would have to average 90% of capacity to hit the minimum. Now that is doable considering their historic support levels, but is no long term solution. They will always be up against it.

It should be noted that when Dennis Erickson was coach for a month or two there seemed to be optimisim that alumni support would be there to build an upper deck in the Kibbie Dome that would put capacity up to 25K. When he left, that plan went out the window and the more modestly priced dig in became the plan to go with. My point being conditions can change quickly even in a state with an unfriendly legislature.

I don't find the Idaho situation as hopeless as you seem to these days, but yes, I can certainly agree that a permanent solution is not in the immediate future. I think conditions will change in about 5 years and we might see something to really get excited about. Today, the changes are focused on the immediate and admittedly depressing realities of today and are geared to bid time.

I do think it is just a matter of time before Idaho reaches a capacity that allows viability at the FBS level. (When that does occur as a state flagship with the spokane market as their native DMA, they will have a little more going for them than Boise State.) State legislature support aside, it would cost the university far too much in esteem and finances to take a step back to FCS. They have too much on the line to allow that to occur, so for now incremental increases that they can raise the money to finance are the order of the day.

I am at least heartened that the Administration and AD do get the importance of expanding capacity.


Last edited by finiteman on Wed Feb 27, 2008 1:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 1:55 pm 
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Actually LaTech bolting would probably be a blessing in disguise, as the travel costs would be MUCH more managable. That was actually the plan until C-USA surprised everyone and took UTEP. LaTech could easily bolt for the Sun Belt any time they wanted. However, the fact that they don't is a bigger indication that the Sun Belt IS below the WAC, as it always has been (even as the Big West)...


I'll definitely concede your LA Tech point. I don't know why I had it in my head that there were only 8 teams in the WAC. Thank you wbyeager for keeping me honest.

I still question the Sunbelt/Big West equivilancy you are trying to push. With Idaho, NMSU, and Utah State in the WAC, I don't think it is reasonable to say that the WAC is head and shoulders above the sunbelt or that the sunbelt is still big west-esque. I think admitting those 3 schools (which IMO was not only the neccessary thing, it was also the right thing to do) did have the negative effect of narrowing the perceived gap between the WAC and the Sunbelt. As FAU and Troy progress and as UNT rebounds with better recruiting, the perceived gap between the WAC and the Sunbelt will get narrower still. Better, yes. Markedly better? Maybe today, but probably not tomorrow. I can see a day in the near future where all 3 schools go 9-3 to 11-1.

I think conceptually there is a simple disagreement we have here as far as recruiting. The way I see it, as populations grow, more high schools are built. As more high schools are built, more FBS caliber athletes are developed. I think it is fine for a school to scrape by with essentially 22-30 legit FBS players today, because 10 years from now the same recruiting effort will yeild 30-40 --- that is good enough to compete in all but the best BCS conferences.

I look at Utah and see a state population of 2.5M and 3 FBS schools and an FCS school. In a vacuum, I see your point, but Utah is surrounded by states that in my opinion have players who can play FBS football who are not recruited.

I look at Arizona and I see a state population of 6 Million people. They have two FBS schools and an FCS school. I look at Colorado and see a state population of 4.75M. They have 2 FBS schools, 1 FCS school, and a nationwide military academy that plays FBS football but doesn't recruit like a true FBS school. I look at california with a state population of 36.5M and 6 FBS schools and a small handful of FCS schools.

Regarding TCU, while I do recognize that the MWC is considered a better conference than CUSA today, recall that TCU was very torn about leaving CUSA for the MWC. I think to call it a marginally better conference in TCU's opinion would be accurate. Alumni were very split on that move. I think there was a belief that as the MWC was more stable than CUSA it would be perceived as a better conference by the BCS conferences and would be given an automatic bid if TCU joined and gave that conference it's momentum. That has not occurred.

What has occurred is that TCU is no longer on National TV or perhaps more importantly even on Texas TV. Potential recruits in Texas might see TCU once a year now when they play UT, OU, or A&M. TCU no longer is blowing SMU out on the recruiting trail. SMU is doing pretty well with June Jones. UNT, in fact, is making drmatic strides under local high school coaching legend Todd Dodge. That recruiting drop will kill TCU's program in short order. At that point the negatives of the MWC start to outweigh the positives.

Now lets look at CUSA. By 2010, the western block will statisfy the 6/5 rule. If, as has been speculated by more than a few people, they pull memphis and maybe La Tech (throwing out a name) or UAB and break away to become a more regionally sensible SWC with greater autonomy and lower travel costs, I think there will be a compelling arguement that the new conference offers more to TCU than the MWC. CUSA has been very good for the Western schools. All of their programs are a lot healthier than they were. SMU, Rice, Tulsa, and Tulane are all similar schools to TCU with similar ideas/financial models. The SWC would have 4 tier 1&2 schools out of 8 or 9 members --- making that a wash with the MWC. Travel costs would be dramatically less for TCU and per school TV revenue might be a lot more. TV exposure would certainly be a lot better in Texas. It might again be considered an upgrade in TCU's mind.


Regarding FIU and FAU, I think it is overstating to say they had the underworks of football before the sunbelt started playing football. Both schools had an interest in playing football, but the validly of those dreams was dramatically helped by the Sunbelt's hunger for schools. The Sunbelt IMO helped make their presents a reality. I don't think you can divorce the sunbelt equation from the "successes" the two schools have had transitioning.

FIU didn't start playing football until 2002.
Record (Wins-Losses):
2007- (1-11) FBS
2006- (0-12) FBS
2005- (5-6) FBS
2004- (3-7) FCS
2003- (3-9) FCS
2002- (4-5) FCS

FAU didn't start playing football until 2001.
Year Coach Record Conference Finish Bowl
2001 Howard Schnellenberger 4-6 -- --
2002 Howard Schnellenberger 2-9 -- --
2003 Howard Schnellenberger 11-3 -- --
2004 Howard Schnellenberger 9-3 -- --
2005 Howard Schnellenberger 2-9 2-5 T-8
2006 Howard Schnellenberger 5-7 4-3 T-2
2007 Howard Schnellenberger 8-5 6-1 T-1

I am simply calling into question your supposition that "I think it's safe to say had the Sun Belt not have been forced to get more schools immediately, both would be perennial playoff contenders in I-AA." I will concede that FAU potentially could have been on that path, but from day 1 Schnellenberger said that he intended the program to go to FBS. I think that played into his success by helping his recruiting. IMO, Schnellenberger would not have taken the job if he didn't think it was going to be a FBS school, so the idea that they were on the path to be an FCS power is unlikely, IMO. FIU on the other hand is just not as advanced. I cannot see a scenario where they were on the path to being a perenial FCS power.

Additionally, Florida A&M was a FCS power before FIU and FAU announced upgrade plans. I think without FBS talk, it is far more likely that FIU and FAU would have continued uneven play at the FCS level and FAMU would have continued to dominate. I think the changes in designations in florida have entirely shuffled the deck down there. There is a real question today whether a florida player wants to be third string at Miami or FSU or first string at UCF, USF, or FAU. In the day, Miami and FSU were up with florida as a strong first choice and FAMU might be a potential fourth choice if a player wanted to stay in state.

That is kind of what I am getting at. Sometimes it may seem contrary to surface logic, but there can be better opportunites for a school at one level than another even when the logic for upgrading is not readily and glaringly obvious. IMO, Montana is an example of that as were troy, UCF, and USF. Montana could do the move tomorrow and compete, but there appears to be a real FBS ceiling for them. It makes more sense for them to be an FCS power. Troy commissioned a report on moving up and were told not to do it. They did it anyway and it worked out. Rice seems tiny---far too small to be an FBS school, but they commissioned a study on moving down and reached the conclusion they would lose a lot more money moving down. That is sort of the neat part about all of this. You can never really say when it will work and when it won't, you can only look at previous examples for clues on why it might work or might not.

I will stand by my refusal to join the mob kicking Temple and SUNY Buffalo in the teeth. Buffalo is in an NFL killzone. I think they made the wrong decision to jump when they did, but the decision to move up was the right one for that university. Really they should be moving up about now after a successful decade at FCS, IMO, but that is only because they are weather and NFL challenged and needed to be better rooted.

Buffalo is a relatively small market for an NFL team. The Buffalo Bill's owner is going to keep the team in Buffalo until he dies, but has already staked a claim on Toronto. As soon as he dies that team is likely going to Canada. When that occurs, how does U Buffalo look? Pretty darned good. Buffalo Football fans will seek them out. They have a good academic university and are drawing reasonably well for basketball. No pro team will move back into Buffalo, so they will own that fairly sizeable DMA long term. Today they may have issues, but long term that will be a successful FBS school, likely rivaling Syracuse.

Temple is a big school. Their attendence has be slowly trailing off for years and has gotten worse at Lincoln Financial field. They are making a huge mistake by not trying to get an on campus stadium built, IMO. You can leverage a large enrollment into healthy attendance with an on campus stadium. If you can't get get decent attendence, it often boils down to lack of perceived quality competition and proximity of the stadium to campus. Currently their students have a 20 minute drive to get to Lincoln Financial field. That is too far to watch MAC football. Temple might do better to play their games at UPenn's Franklin Feild 15 minutes away. They might get 1-5K Penn students who like football watching a game every now and then. Lincoln Financial field only makes sense when Temple is playing Penn State or Pittsburgh.

I think Temple could be a real winner if schools like UNCC and UMASS do upgrade and Marshall and ECU get frozen out by a CUSA split. Temple's competition will get better in the eyes of Temple fans, but an on campus or near campus stadium would help their cause immensely.





Last edited by finiteman on Wed Feb 27, 2008 2:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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