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PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 12:52 pm 
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If James Madison is eying a reunion with ODU in C-USA I don't understand why they don't go ahead and make the SBC a temporary home unless the plan is to keep athletics costs low, squirreling away money until they make the big jump.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 2:26 pm 
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fighting muskie wrote:
If James Madison is eying a reunion with ODU in C-USA I don't understand why they don't go ahead and make the SBC a temporary home unless the plan is to keep athletics costs low, squirreling away money until they make the big jump.


I think CUSA lost its luster as the original or long-time members started leaving. It was easy to sell decently sized FCS schools on Memphis, UCF, Houston, and ECU...it becomes harder when it's FIU, FAU, UNT, and WKU, who you were politely refusing in the Sun Belt. You're "stuck" with them anyway, so to speak.

I think their location is probably their greatest foe. They need a CAA-like conference in FBS...but none exist. Their best hope is MAC with more eastern schools...


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2013 2:35 pm 
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I wonder what the C-USA would have looked like had realignment this offseason occurred all at once rather than in 3 phases?:

Phase 1--UCF, Memphis, SMU, and Houston leave; FIU, La Tech, N Texas, UTSA, Charlotte, and ODU join

Phase 2--ECU and Tulane leave; FAU and Middle Tenn join

Phase 3--Tulsa leaves; WKU joins

I'm inclined to think that ODU and Charlotte would have been passed on without ECU campaigning for geographically friendly additions. I also think that if Marshall knew that only 5 members were going to remain they would have campaigned to join the MAC rather than stay in C-USA--ditto for UTEP and the MWC. Had C-USA essentially dissolved the SBC would have found themselves in a position to power broker, choosing which schools they wanted to add with the WAC taking in the schools who were passed over. Many of the FCS upgrades and start ups--ODU, Charlotte, Appalachian St, Georgia Southern, and Georgia St would have been without a FBS league to join unless they banded together and tried to form one together.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 9:15 am 
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For a little while in the 2000s and the early 2010s, Conference USA had 12 teams. Of those 12, the teams that have yet to find a new home include: UTEP, Rice, Southern Miss, UAB, and Marshall. I'm sure none of these schools are impressed with the direction of the conference. Adding non-FBS programs (Old Dominion and Charlotte) and Sun Belt programs. What will happen with them?

UTEP will find its way into the Mt West. Most people seem to be in agreement there.

Marshall should be in the MAC. The MAC is growing in strength and would benefit by adding Marshall back to its lineup.

Rice is AAU, in Houston, has a terrific baseball program, and their football is on the incline. I've heard everything from XII, PAC, AAC, Mt West, or sit still. Has anyone heard anything about them or from them regarding a potential move?

Had Southern Miss not had the 2012 they had, I think they'd be in the AAC, but I don't see them moving anytime soon.

UAB is just kinda there. Not going to move.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 9:44 am 
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BePcr07 wrote:
For a little while in the 2000s and the early 2010s, Conference USA had 12 teams. Of those 12, the teams that have yet to find a new home include: UTEP, Rice, Southern Miss, UAB, and Marshall. I'm sure none of these schools are impressed with the direction of the conference. Adding non-FBS programs (Old Dominion and Charlotte) and Sun Belt programs. What will happen with them?

UTEP will find its way into the Mt West. Most people seem to be in agreement there.

Marshall should be in the MAC. The MAC is growing in strength and would benefit by adding Marshall back to its lineup.

Rice is AAU, in Houston, has a terrific baseball program, and their football is on the incline. I've heard everything from XII, PAC, AAC, Mt West, or sit still. Has anyone heard anything about them or from them regarding a potential move?

Had Southern Miss not had the 2012 they had, I think they'd be in the AAC, but I don't see them moving anytime soon.

UAB is just kinda there. Not going to move.


If the Big XII is looking for expansion, then Rice should be that candidate, to join with several former SWC members. Otherwise, they should stay or go to either the AAC or MW. UAB should stay, but they should also join the AAC, if UConn or Cincy plan to join the ACC. Southern Miss should be another candidate to join the AAC, and one of the Sun Belt members (pre-Appalachian St./Georgia So.) like Louisiana-Monroe or Louisiana-Lafayette (or both) shift into C-USA. Marshall must re-join the MAC. The Thundering Herd nearly put the MAC on the map with nearly great records, despite no BCS bids at that time. Marshall on football were a dominant school while as a MAC member. UTEP is a possible candidate to join the MW, joining with other old former WAC schools (with that, maybe Hawaii would drop affiliate membership).

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 10:06 am 
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My impressions - take with a grain of salt.

UTEP joined CUSA to fill a hole when TCU jumped to MWC in about 2004. UTEP was in the WAC.
When you look at El Paso on a map it is WAY WEST (south of central New Mexico).
Geographically it fits into the MWC nicely. I think they have wanted to be in CUSA to have exposure in the rest of Texas for recruiting.
At this point, MWC's priofile is quite a bit higher than CUSA's and they might jump if offered.
Under the new bowl distribution formula, FBS conferneces that expand beyond 12 teams get a share based on a 12-team legue, and split it however many more ways.
So unless BYU suddenly agrees to come back to the MWC, and the MWC needs a 14th for balance, UTEP may be stuck in CUSA.

Marshall was in the MAC. That's where they belong. They had some big seasons under Chad Pennington and Byron Leftwich, and saw CUSA as a way of raising their profile in 2003.
Since then the travel has to have been brutal. They would be well-served to re-join the MAC. Perhaps at one tiem the TV money wsa much better in CUSA.
Not sure that is still true, but their travel for all sports has to have become so much more expensive that it's hard to imagine traveling to Hattiesburg, Birmingham, El Paso, Boca Raton
isn't killing their athletes.

Southern Miss has had some very good football teams from time to time.
In terms of market, Hattiesburg is tiny, and my guess is htat the average Mississippian follow SEC FB to a much greater extent than CUSA.
No invitation to AAC, due to lack of market / share.

UAB - similar story. Birmingham certainly larger than Hattiesburg. UAB hasn't been much of a force in FB in recent memory.
And they're buried in Alabama, behind 'Bama and Auburn, who've won the last 3 national Championships in FBS.
They don't bring much in terms of market / share for FB. UAB has had decent BB over the years, but FB rules the roost.

Rice - Fine academic institution. Good in baseball. We'll get back to ya, once you've accomplished something in football / basketball....


I think CUSA is a good southeastern regional conference, and Southern Miss, UAB, and Rice ae RIGHT WHERE THEY BELONG.
Let's not get delusional over how much they invest in sports, or the size of their following.

UTEP and Marshall are really outliers. Marshall has been helped recently with addition of WKU, MTSU, ODU, Charlotte. (maybe JMU in the future ???)
UTEP (in the Mountain Time Zone) would be amuch better fit in the MWC.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 10:57 am 
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What would happen if (let's just say) that several old C-USA schools plan to make a new conference for all-sports (with football and basketball primarily) and it's mission should be similar to the old defunct Metro Conference? Plus, having Cincy, Memphis, Tulane, Louisville, Florida State, Georgia Tech, South Carolina and Virginia Tech in the that mix. Would it work?

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 12:54 pm 
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tute--great thoughts as always.

UTEP in a lot of ways shot themselves in the foot. In 2005 going C-USA and following Tulsa, SMU, and Rice (as well as meeting up with Houston) made a ton of sense--the quality of the WAC was severely diminished at that point and like you said the move was great for instate recruiting. Where UTEP goofed was not jumping on board the MWC when the MWC was looking for new members when they thought they were losing Boise St and San Diego St. UTEP should have seen what was going on in the Big East and known that the Texas C-USA schools would be heading out and C-USA's quality was about to plummet the same as the WAC had. Instead Utah St and San Jose St got those MWC openings and unless the rule capping non-Power 5 conferences off at $12 million the MWC is not going to reach into Texas for UTEP and a 14th.

Right on about Marshall--they would have been better off staying in the MAC but the same rule that keeps the MWC from expanding also blocks the MAC from doing so leaving Marshall stuck in a geographically far flung league where they have no real rivals.

I have to disagree about Rice. I don't see what they would bring aside from their academic reputation to any conference. They don't make much sense for the American as long as that conference has Houston and if that league wanted an up-and-comer in Texas I think UTSA is the better pick as they are growing a program and Rice is a shadow of its former glory. I see Rice being a school that will remain in this C-USA/Sunbelt 2.0 league.

I'm on the fence as to whether or not USM would have been headed to the American had they not had a lousy season. The American's strategy was basically to go after markets without regard to the quality of football program they had. Hattiesburg is not exactly a metropolis.

UAB is right where they should be. Until they can acquire a winning tradition they just aren't an upwardly mobile program.

Had things played out they way I would have preferred UTEP and Marshall would have joined geographically logical conferences and Rice, UAB, and USM would have rebuilt C-USA on their terms. LA Tech, UTSA, and Texas St from the dying WAC would have been added and then I think luring away SBC programs like North Texas, Arkansas St, UL Lafayette, UL Monroe, and maybe Middle Tenn would have been my next move, the result being a FBS conference with a strong Texas/Louisiana presence. The Sunbelt wouldn't be completely left for dead though--FAU, FIU, S Alabama, Troy, and WKU would still be around and could have rebranded as an ACC-lite league by adding ODU, JMU, Charlotte, App St, Georgia St, and Georgia Southern.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 1:47 pm 
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There seems to be a "4-tier system" of conferences in the FBS: ACC > AAC > CUSA > Sun Belt (except for Idaho and New Mexico St - 2014 additions - who would never be considered by the other 3 conferences unless CUSA was desperate)

All 3 are unstable. The remaining members of those conferences from a couple years ago for this season:

AAC (Big East): Cincinnati, Rutgers (leaving for B1G), South Florida, Connecticut, and Louisville (leaving for ACC)

CUSA: UTEP, Rice, Tulsa (leaving for AAC), Tulane, (leaving for AAC), UAB, Southern Miss, East Carolina (leaving for AAC), and Marshall

Sun Belt: Arkansas St, UL Lafayette, UL Monroe, Western Kentucky (leaving for CUSA), and Troy

Does anyone see a time in the near future of any "merging" of these conferences (eliminating 1 or more)?


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 3:19 pm 
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BePcr07 wrote:
There seems to be a "4-tier system" of conferences in the FBS: ACC > AAC > CUSA > Sun Belt (except for Idaho and New Mexico St - 2014 additions - who would never be considered by the other 3 conferences unless CUSA was desperate)

All 3 are unstable. The remaining members of those conferences from a couple years ago for this season:

AAC (Big East): Cincinnati, Rutgers (leaving for B1G), South Florida, Connecticut, and Louisville (leaving for ACC)

CUSA: UTEP, Rice, Tulsa (leaving for AAC), Tulane, (leaving for AAC), UAB, Southern Miss, East Carolina (leaving for AAC), and Marshall

Sun Belt: Arkansas St, UL Lafayette, UL Monroe, Western Kentucky (leaving for CUSA), and Troy

Does anyone see a time in the near future of any "merging" of these conferences (eliminating 1 or more)?


With the WAC out of the picture as an D-I FBS conference, I see a time in the near future of any conference merging, etc. And that's within the C-USA/Sun Belt issue. At this moment, I cannot explain my theory yet until I brainstorm a bit. But I do expect that most non-football schools in the FBS level should upgrade football to maintain certain conference membership alive or so. I think that it's not a wise move for the Sun Belt to add Idaho and New Mexico State (as football-only members) because both of them are in the Western U.S., which technically these two should stay, and they could have remained as FBS Independents. Sadly for the both of them, the MW doesn't want any of them. By 2014 (next season), Idaho will leave the WAC to re-join the Big Sky as a non-football all-sports member. I think that New Mexico State should to the same, which is to find a different athletic conference for its other non-football sports, whether re-joining the Big West or joining the WCC. Unless the Aggies would consider full membership status with football, they should plan on joining C-USA or re-joining the Sun Belt full-time.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 3:41 pm 
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In some aspects, Rice University could be viewed as capable of being on par with some other private universities such as Vandy, Northwestern, and Syracuse. They have strong academics and professional schools. Their undergraduate enrollment is very modest. Their location is attractive in many regards. They have old Southwest Conference history.

Rice Stadium was once a bigger deal. Built in 1950, it had a seating capacity of 70,000, not that far behind the Cotton Bowl of the old Southwest Conference days. It hosted Super Bowl VIII, the Houston Cougars used it from '51 to '64. The Houston Oilers once played there. It hosted the Bluebonnet Bowl from from '57 to '67. It hosted a famous JFK speech in '62 about a future moon landing.
The upper decks got unstable, and the bigger games starting around 2006 were moved to nearby Reliant Stadium. With re-modeling and cutting out endzone parts a few years back, the seating capacity is now 47,000 with improved field turf placed earlier. Yet, the stadium is still expandable to reach former levels.

Attendance remains poor. In 2009 average attendance was 13,552. Good years they may draw 20,000 plus. That's the problem with Rice University. Their fb and basketball have not produced substained success in recent decades to attract attention from the major conferences.

If a conference such as the Big 12 invited Rice in, certainly attendance and recruiting would be enhanced. They could draw at least 30 to 35K from near all B12 opponents, and some would fill the place (Texas, OU, OSU, etc.). But currently, a number of FCS schools exceed what Rice delivers in attendance. Rice can match TCU's stadium in size, but what about attendance? TCU has had recent fb success, and came into the B12 with it. With some effort, Rice could come up with a level that could exceed what Wake Forest does in the ACC. But that is not an impressive standard.

I believe several conferences have taken a hard look at Rice and see some things they indeed like. But they know it is a big risk if Rice cannot deliver at a significantly higher level in fb and basketball. These major conferences are looking for certainty, and Rice has unfortunately not shown that in recent times. Had Rice won a string of CUSA titles in fb and/or basketball, somebody higher would have grabbed them.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 9:56 am 
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Article out of Norfolk(previously posted in another thread)with comments from ODU AD and others indicating that C-USA will "likely"not be adding JMU at this time.Link at http://hamptonroads.com/2013/09/reports ... pear-false


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 2:55 pm 
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I know that C-USA says they are happy at 14, but if JMU is interested in joining the league.....then I have to guess that it will happen. JMU is a pretty strong contender in the 'available' school category. JMU: excellent market(Va.), about 20k students, large stadiums, good history, $$ in the program.

So, which conference should JMU go to? MAC or C-USA?

I believe that they should shoot for C-USA. C-USA's teams seem to make the jump up a bit faster then the MAC teams do. And there are some good rivals within traveling distance to the school.

If JMU does head to the USA.....who will go in to get the #16? Ark State, NMSU, Lou. Laf or maybe UAB???


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:02 am 
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mozilla wrote:
I know that C-USA says they are happy at 14, but if JMU is interested in joining the league.....then I have to guess that it will happen. JMU is a pretty strong contender in the 'available' school category. JMU: excellent market(Va.), about 20k students, large stadiums, good history, $$ in the program.

So, which conference should JMU go to? MAC or C-USA?

I believe that they should shoot for C-USA. C-USA's teams seem to make the jump up a bit faster then the MAC teams do. And there are some good rivals within traveling distance to the school.

If JMU does head to the USA.....who will go in to get the #16? Ark State, NMSU, Lou. Laf or maybe UAB???


UAB is already in CUSA. I would say Arkansas St. It'd be a new state for CUSA. While Texas is not an island in the conference map, it would look smoother going from Texas to Louisiana and Arkansas then on to Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Virginia. The only major gap on their map would be in Georgia and South Carolina. From Georgia, the only options would be Georgia St and Georgia Southern which would most definitely not be going to CUSA anytime soon. From South Carolina, an FCS team would have to upgrade which would most definitely not happen soon.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:03 am 
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mozilla--welcome to the site! The problem with JMU to C-USA is that the Power 5 conferences determined that when it comes to playoff money the Little 5 either get $1 million per school or a a max of $12 million for the conference to share. This rule hurts Little 5 conferences with more than 12 members because it causes them to divide their pie into smaller pieces. This is a real deterrent for C-USA to expand beyond the 14 they already have.

What I would like to see happen is for the smaller conferences to work together to create a 6th league (by shifting around members of the MAC, SBC, C-USA, and some FCS upgrades). Schools like JMU, Delaware, and Liberty could be a part of this new sixth league along with Buffalo, UMass, ODU, Marshall, Charlotte, and Appalachian St.

This idea might sound a little crazy but I believe that there is a lot of discontent in C-USA and that the current line-up isnt entirely pleased with the conference make up and giant footprint.


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