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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:07 pm 
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Here's a general starting point for misc discussions about the Big Sky. In the even there are special articles or news about the Big Sky that get their own threads, that's fine. We'll just use this one as a general thread about the Big Sky and any conference changes.

If you want to reference the old Big Sky expansion thread (that had been building for many years), here it is.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 11:55 am 
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Quinn,thanks for setting up this brand new Big Sky realignment thread.
It should be interesting to see whether the economic recession will cause some Big Sky members to eventually go to the WAC and other Big Sky members to drop down after cutting their FB programs.Time will tell.

Thanks
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 1:12 am 
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Agreed. But I still think that despite the economics, that it is still viewed as an upgrade for Sunbelt teams. In time, I wouldn't be shocked to see the sunbelt refocus in, well, the Sunbelt with the Florida teams playing a larger role.

it's sad to see any problems with the WAC. It's a region that already lost an entire I-A football conference with the Big West.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 10:32 am 
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Quinn -

Back during the conference scramble in 2003, I thought the Sun-Belt was a joke.
They were clearly at the bottom of the 1-A (now FBS) pecking order, and were scrambling to add schools (seemingly ANY schools in the Southeast) that would upgrade to 1-A.

In terms of athletic budget and school size and prestige, they are still at the bottom rung of the ladder, but they hardly look like a mess. I think Wright Waters has a vision, and the conference is coalescing nicely into a cohesive 12-school SE regional all-sports conference.

Yes, they are currently 13, but Denver will be departing (by mutual consent), and that will help tighten their geography even more, since losing far-flung Utah State, New Mexico State, and Idaho to the WAC back in the 2003-04 time frame.

Western Kentucky has upgraded their football to FBS, Southern Alabama will start up FBS football. Soon you will have a 12-team conference with 10 football teams. A few years ago, their football teams were laughable. Some (FIU comes to mind) still are awful in terms of FBS performance.... they play a lot of "body-bag games" for money. But the football across the board is slowly getting better. LSU had to stage the biggest 4th qtr come-back in school history to overcome Troy this past year. Sure that game was more of an abberation, but a few years ago, that would not have just been stunning, that would have been unthinkable.

North Texas would probably jump ship to a new Southwest Conference, if the CUSA West breaks off and forms one. The 2 non-football schools New Orleans and UALR may be under pressure to add football or leave the conference. Schools that leave can be replaced with some Southeastern FCS -> FBS upgrades like Appalachian State, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, UNC Charlotte (the latter 2 currently adding football with FBS aspirations).

In 10 years the conference could be 12 southeastern schools with solid all-sports repertoires, and it will look a lot more cohesive than the hybrid mess that is the Big East, and used to be the Sun-Belt.


But this thread is about the Big Sky.... I do NOT see massive movement between the Sun-Belt and WAC. I view the Sun Belt as Southeastern USA, and the WAC as Western USA. Ultimately Denver will move west, and Louisiana Tech will move east, and that will complete the separation.

Out west we have 4 conferences that play football....
PAC-10 (10)
MWC (9)
WAC (9, 8 if La Tech leaves)
Big Sky (9)
(I'm leaving out the GWFC, I know)

That's 36 schools. Note that 36 = 3 x 12... If somehow the PAC and MWC each expand to 12, however it happens, the WAC will be down to 3-4 remaining schools (which will likely include Utah State and Idaho still left behind in the WAC, New Mexico State, too if they don't move into a new Southwest Conference). They will be forced to look toward the Big Sky, and collectively those 12 or so schools have athletic budgets and attendence much more comensurate with FCS than FBS, so that scenario bodes better for the Big Sky than for the WAC surviving.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 2:52 pm 
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there are a couple Big Sky schools that have the goods to move to the WAC, Montana topping the list.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 2:30 pm 
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Quinn wrote:
there are a couple Big Sky schools that have the goods to move to the WAC, Montana topping the list.


100% right, however Montana has one big albatross hanging around their neck as far as moving up: they won't be able to go anywhere without Montana State. The MSUs board is adamant about not breaking up that rivalry (especially after Idaho's move to the then-Big West broke up that rivalry), and the Bobcats definitely didn't have I-A quality facilities when I was out west, and as far as I know still don't. But depending on which way the BSC turns to, they may have to choose between sinking money into MSU's facilities and still risking them being in an Idaho-like situation (as well as putting more pressure on DII MSU-Billings and NAIA MSU-Northern, UM-Tech, and UM-Western), or letting Montana move up and adding new life (and likely $$) into the system by moving to the WAC.

Denver is also a wrench in everything because instead of football, it's hockey that's their main driver, and they're also the "high private" school of the WCHA (the other private is mostly D-III Colorado College). School-wise they fit the WCC the best, but the closest schools are in Spokane and Los Angeles, which is over 1,000 miles away each by car.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 3:15 pm 
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I do have reasonable doubts as to whether any WAC schools (asides from SJSU's back & forth about dropping football) would seriously consider dropping down (or back down) to I-AA level. The precedent is there that schools that drop down usually continue to sink, rather than thrive, when they drop down, which I also think is why Idaho is still trying to stick it out at the I-A level. I also have to think that should the MWC expand to 12 (post-Pac 10 expansion), UTEP would be part of that, which would leave four schools in the WAC (USU, Idaho, NMSU, and let's say SJSU), with LaTech replacing UTEP in CUSA-West.

The logical step for the WAC in this case would be to bring in the two Big West fb schools (UC-Davis and Cal Poly) and 2 or 3 BSC schools (likely Montana, Sac State, and possibly Weber State). Using three, this leaves the BSC at six, with Eastern Washington, Idaho State, Montana State, Northern Arizona, Northern Colorado, and Portland State. This would probably open the door for all four Dakota Schools to come in (with football logic, only Minnesota and Northern Iowa are anywhere in the area), if only to ensure the conference stays intact. This does leave SUU in some dire straits, as they're now in the same boat with Denver being out in no-man's land with nowhere to go. The best they can do is hope NAU drops football, then become included with Denver to make a 12 school BB, 10-fb conference.

Travel partners would be alright (except for one obvious exception) in FB, and not too bad in BB, though there would be some distance to cover for everyone:
FB:
UND-NDSU
USD-SDSU
EWU-PSU
ISU-MSU
UNC-SUU
BB:
East
UND-NDSU
USD-SDSU
Denver-UNC
West:
EWU-PSU
ISU-MSU
NAU-SUU

If the WAC only takes two, this leaves SUU in much better shape. This makes them the prime candidate to move in if the BSC wants to come back to eight, or includes them with the Dakota four to make a full 12 with a similar travel situation to the BB example, just replace Denver with Weber State.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 2:38 pm 
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bump

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 2:54 pm 
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First off, contrary to rumors, NAU is not dropping football.

There was an egghead professor calling for the elimination of all sports at NAU to help save his department from cuts, as well as the first "everything is on the table" discussion that the Board of Regents ordered ALL three Arizona Universities to do. Cutting football would not save much, if any money over the next few years, which is where the savings are needed.


Montana football clearly has the support to go to FBS. Other sports, not so much. Montana would have to add at least two women's sports to make the jump. Factor in Montana State, and I don't see that happening right now.

I don't see the Big Sky adding anyone in the near future, unless it is Denver. 9 members is great for football, sucks for other sports. Denver would make a great travel partner with Northern Colorado.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 3:10 pm 
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Welcome, Jon.

I agree about Denver. Because of UNC being in the Big sky, Denver makes sense. So while Denver would bring much to the WCC (Denver market is one that they don't currently have that is convenient for travel, similar affiliations to the WCC schools) they would bring balance to the Big Sky.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 5:41 pm 
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What's up dback, I told them to talk to you about this NAU matter. My word wasn't good enough. I'm new here, so I guess I don't get the respect yet like I do on the FCS and D-II board.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:42 pm 
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Fresno St. Alum wrote:
What's up dback, I told them to talk to you about this NAU matter. My word wasn't good enough. I'm new here, so I guess I don't get the respect yet like I do on the FCS and D-II board.


LOL! "my word wasn't good enough". I think you might have taken it too hard when whomever asked for some followup info. But that's just my opinion.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 10:19 pm 
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Quinn it was freakedforcollegefb, that guy is the ultimate in digging up info with links. Quinn I know you know my info is good since you asked me to blog with you on here back in the day.

PS I should have done one of these :o :D with my last post so you know I wasn't taking it hard. I don't blame the guy. If some new guy said something to me w/o a link I'd ask for one too.

We need to get Cardinalsfan from the D-II board in here. The guy told me over a year ago that Malone and Walsh would be moving to D-II and last month they applied. I gave him props on my thread about it over there but I haven't heard from him in a couple months. He's been right about a lot of things.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 7:14 pm 
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With news of South Dakota going to the Summit League, North Dakota working on their nickname situation, Eastern Washington possibly dropping football, and Cal State-Fullerton possibly resurrecting it, I wonder if its time for the Big Sky to finish off the Great West.

The key would be Sacramento State going to the Big West and playing Great West (or Big West) football alongside UC Davis, Cal Poly SLO, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The Big Sky would then invite three more schools:

Denver (Sun Belt)
Utah Valley (Great West)
Seattle (Independent)

The Big Sky could then split into divisions for basketball:
North - Seattle, Portland State, Eastern Washington, Idaho State, Montana, Montana State
South - Northern Arizona, Weber State, Utah Valley, Northern Colorado, Denver

The unbalanced schedule would be temporary, until one of the following happens:
Grand Canyon moves up from Division II (travel partner for Northern Arizona)
San Diego State drops football and leaves the WAC (travel partner for Northern Arizona)
A Big Sky member falls below Division I requirements

The two Texas Great West schools are stuck hoping for a Southland invite. Chicago State and NJIT are forced to find more geographically compatible homes.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 12:25 am 
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wbyeager wrote:
With news of South Dakota going to the Summit League, North Dakota working on their nickname situation, Eastern Washington possibly dropping football, and Cal State-Fullerton possibly resurrecting it, I wonder if its time for the Big Sky to finish off the Great West.

The key would be Sacramento State going to the Big West and playing Great West (or Big West) football alongside UC Davis, Cal Poly SLO, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The Big Sky would then invite three more schools:

Denver (Sun Belt)
Utah Valley (Great West)
Seattle (Independent)

The Big Sky could then split into divisions for basketball:
North - Seattle, Portland State, Eastern Washington, Idaho State, Montana, Montana State
South - Northern Arizona, Weber State, Utah Valley, Northern Colorado, Denver

The unbalanced schedule would be temporary, until one of the following happens:
Grand Canyon moves up from Division II (travel partner for Northern Arizona)
San Diego State drops football and leaves the WAC (travel partner for Northern Arizona)
A Big Sky member falls below Division I requirements

The two Texas Great West schools are stuck hoping for a Southland invite. Chicago State and NJIT are forced to find more geographically compatible homes.



Some pretty drastic changes you got here. My own observations:
* Sac St has had years now to join the Great West and has had no interest. But if the Big West sponsored football, and due to budget issues, Sac St. admins favored an all-sports switch to the Big West, then it could happen. I agree it is key though.
* But if Fullerton adds football, it's likely that the Big West would sponsor football since they'd have 3 members for all-sports, and UND, USD and SUU would simply be associate members in the Big West (much like the A10 to CAA name change a few years back).
* Sac St. would be the 4th Big West all-sports member in the 7 team football league.
* It is very unlikely that the Big Sky would make the moves you mentioned. They require all-sports membership when they sponsor a sport (which is why Sac St. was in the Big Sky for all-sports, not just football). The Big Sky toyed with the idea of a SINGLE non-football school for scheduling purposes (9 football, 10 basketball) but that was years ago. They have had no interest in the available schools including Denver. In fact, they invited No. Colorado to get into the basic Denver market while getting an all-sports member. If the Big Sky were to lose Sac St., they'd likely have (2) options:
~ invite Southern Utah for all-sports
~ invite both NDSU and SDSU as they'd be travel partners
* It's unlikely that the Big Sky would ever expand to 11, an uneven number, and split into two divisions.
* If EWU or say, some other Big Sky member were to drop football or downgrade, you'd likely see the Dakota scenarios play out. Again, SUU MIGHT be a candidate for a single expansion since they are ideal for both NAU and Weber St. But in scenarios where the league looked for stability in numbers, the Dakota St. schools will surely be in play.
* Denver and Seattle are hoping for WCC invites, with Seattle gaining more appeal should the WCC ever decide to expand.
* Again, with more appealing candidates such as the Dakota State schools and even SUU (since they have football), it's unlikely that a conference like the Big Sky would ever look at Grand Canyon until they do something spectacular (ala UNLV's rise to eventually get to Mountain West status).
* San Diego St. is a proud member of the Mountain West...the same Mountain West that is pushing to be included in the BCS. They aren't going to be dropping football (and if they did, the state admins would put them in the all-California Big West).
* NAU is an interesting situation. SUU would be the ideal school to the Big sky for the NAU location. But they've been in the Big Sky for 40 years. They just aren't going to leave. dbackjon can add in here. They would be an interesting addition to the Big West though, and in a Big West football scenario, they'd be a 5th all-sports member along with Sac St.
* The Great West is simply the new Summit League. I used to say "when looking to upgrade and seeking a home, look no further than the Mid-Con (now Summit). Well, that is the case now for the Great West. They will take any independents that upgrade. Or schools that shoot themselves in the foot like Chicago St. If you recall, they left the Mid-Con hoping for better conference, but found no takers. They went to the Great West since nobody would have them. Fast forward and the Mid-Con/summit is now a midwest conference with only 3 members outside the region...Chicago St. really lost out on that one.
* If the Southland were to lose a school or two to FBS like UTSA, Lamar or Texas St., they would likely need a football school to come in. Jacksonville St. might be a candidate. After that, perhaps some other OVC school(s) or even a regional D2 football-playing upgrade. But they could look at non-football schools, but you'd think Oral Roberts and Centenary of the Summit might be more appealing. But UTPA and Houston Baptist might be right there as options, so who knows.

* This is gospel: a D2 school with football that upgrades will always be more attractive to a conference with football than a D2 upgrade without football...or a GW school without football. Central Arkansas and Northern Colorado are key examples.
* Chicago State and NJIT have found the only homes willing to take them.



Discussion from the Big West thread:
viewtopic.php?f=14&t=1687&start=10

Similar discussion on Championshipsubdivision
http://www.championshipsubdivision.com/ ... f=4&t=5548

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