Could Georgia Southern Be Added To SBC Next Week?

December 14, 2012 · By · Filed Under Football, Sun Belt Conference 

When could we hear the first about possible new additions to the Sun Belt Conference? It could be as early as next week.

Tonight is the semifinal round of the FCS playoffs kickoff with #1 North Dakota State and #5 Georgia Southern playing for a slot in the FCS National Championship game. Kickoff is set for 8pm.

Rest assured that Sun Belt Conference officials and Georgia Southern officials have been in contact and talking about their interests in moving up to the FBS level and the Sun Belt’s interest in adding a strong team within it’s regional footprint.

Earlier this year the students voted to move up to the FBS level with an increase in student fees to help support the move. I believe that these meetings have been occurring since the students voted for the move but were going to wait until after the season was over to get serious about talks. But with Middle Tennessee and Florida Atlantic accepting invitations to Conference USA, I believe those talks were accelerated.

If Georgia Southern loses their Semifinal game then we could hear an announcement as early as next week. However if they win and earn a spot in the National Championship Game against the winner of the #2 Eastern Washington vs Sam Houston State game, then the announcement would probably be delayed. The FCS National Championship game is set for January 5th in Frisco, Texas.

That would put the Sun Belt back up to nine football playing schools. Who else would the Sun Belt consider adding? There are rumors about New Mexico State, Appalachain State, UT-Chattanooga all the way to Lamar, Liberty or Sam Houston State.

New Mexico State is already an FBS school but were a bottom dweller in the WAC with only one win last season that came in their season opener against Sacramento State. They would bring a very tall basketball team as the Jags learned in a recent game.

Appalachain State is another team in the regional footprint of the Sun Belt and has been a powerhouse in FCS for some time. However their location in Boone, NC is a very beautiful place, it is also a difficult place to travel for sports.

UT-Chattanooga is an interesting school to consider. It is located in well-known Chattanooga, TN which makes travel quite easy for sports and also fits in the regional footprint as well. They could be a very good replacement for Middle Tennessee who is just up Interstate 24 from Chattanooga towards Nashville.

Many South Alabama fans may know some about Lamar University. The Jags played their first true road game against the Cardinal in Beaumont, TX a couple years ago in the Jaguars second season of football. Football had been dropped from Lamar back in 1989 but in January of 2008 the students voted to add an athletic fee to bring football back to the University. Their stadium had a huge overhaul and a large jumbotron screen was installed. Their campus is very nice and could be a nice hidden gem in conference expansion.

Sam Houston State, as mentioned above, is in the semifinals of the FCS playoffs. They are located in Huntsville, TX which is north of Houston on I-45. Either school Sam Houston State or Lamar would be a nice addition to compliment Texas State out in the Lone Star State.

Then there is Liberty. I haven’t heard much about the possibility of Liberty joining the Sun Belt. Liberty is a private christian university located in Lynchburg Virginia. They have an enrollment of about 12,500 and 80,000+ studying through their online program. Their chancellor is Jerry Falwell Jr. I don’t see them moving to the FBS level, but stranger things have happened.

Who do you think would be good additions to the Sun Belt to comprise a 10 or 12 (football) team conference? Post your suggestions here or on our Facebook page.

Comments

3 Responses to “Could Georgia Southern Be Added To SBC Next Week?”

  1. huan on December 14th, 2012 5:38 pm

    I think the teams should have a regional partner nearby for fans to travel to
    USA & Troy
    ULM & ULL
    Western Kentucky & UT Chatanooga?
    Ark State & ? ? ?
    Texas State & NM State? Lamar? Sam Houston State?
    Georgia State & Appalachian State?

  2. Brian on December 15th, 2012 1:16 pm

    A regional partner is definitely a big incentive for fans to travel with their team. But a good, strong regional footprint can help get fans traveling to multiple away games rather than every other year to your nearby foe.

    With the news about the Big East coming out, there may be a glimmer that a couple teams could be courted for the Sun Belt. I would expect CUSA and ACC to really go after some of them hard as well.

  3. Huan on December 16th, 2012 9:53 am

    Agree.
    Regional footprints start with local fans, then regional fans for rivalries.

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