fighting muskie wrote:
I would really like to see the Big Sky assemble enough FBS aspiring schools together to create an FBS conference home for Idaho and New Mexico St. Montana, Montana St, Portland St, Eastern Washington, and Sacramento St could probably do it. Then get Cal Poly, UC Davis, North Dakota St, and South Dakota St as football affiliates. The trick will be getting enough schools to get on board initially to make it happen. Realistically, I think they need 8 schools to Get the plan off the ground--Idaho and NMSU make 2 so they need 6 more.
Assuming there is no legislative relief from the NCAA, it may be easier for Idaho to return to the WAC, and then the WAC claim under its rights as a former FBS conference to invite six (or more) schools from FCS. The Big Sky then takes a school from the WAC for every member it loses to the WAC. The two could set it up to where the Big Sky is guaranteed six full members who play FCS football, forcing the WAC to actually grow the pie by inviting a Summit or Southland school.
The challenge is during year two of the transition process. The WAC football schools can't count each other as a FBS opponent - but every existing FBS program can. Cooperation with BYU is paramount to the plan's survival, as BYU could in theory play six WAC games each year for the final transition year, and the first full season of WAC football, all after October 15. BYU could even make them all 2-for-1s by playing a WAC school as its FCS opponent during the first transition year, and then scheduling the other five at its leisure.
If Idaho and New Mexico State are independent at this juncture as well, the same can be done with them. Depending on the level of urgency in Amherst, UMass might even be an option. That potentially gives all the transitioning schools four FBS opponents for year two (I believe the requirement is seven, and of course a full post-transition schedule would have eleven FBS opponents).
The WAC and Big Sky could conceivably swap charters or names if the Big Sky really wants to be the FBS league.
Good thought about the WAC and its charter. They could argue that the WAC still has the right to be an FBS conference because it formerly sponsored at that level. Then there is the question about what to do with the schools that moved into the WAC when it was left as a shell:
Chicago St traded to Summit for North Dakota St
UMKC traded to Summit for South Dakota St
Seattle traded to Big Sky for Eastern Washington
Cal St Bakersfield traded to Big Sky for Sacramento St
Utah Valley traded to Big Sky for Montana
Grand Canyon traded to Big Sky for Montana St
I'm going say Portland St goes to the new FBS WAC. Add New Mexico St and Idaho and that makes 9 which is enough for full conference schedules. UC Davis and Cal Poly could potentially be football affiliates as members 10 and 11.
Not sure where UTRGV goes. They don't fit geographically with the a Big Sky and the Southland is a little crowded. Maybe they wander to the A-Sun?
I think there are enough schools at the top of FCS who feel like they need to be in a bigger pond that Idaho and New Mexico St can find conference mates if they can just hang on a little longer to get those schools lined up.