MTSU to Conference USA

November 28, 2012 · Filed Under Sun Belt Conference · Comment 

Multiple outlets are posting that Middle Tennessee has accepted an offer to join Conference USA. This comes on the heels of the announcement that Tulane and East Carolina were joining the Big East. However East Carolina is only joining the conference in football.

They have also mentioned FAU as a possible target to fill the empty 14th slot left when Maryland and Rutgers announced that they were leaving the Big East recently.

The Sun Belt faced conference realignment last season when FIU and North Texas accepted offers to join Conference USA. The Sun Belt then extended offers that were accepted by Georgia State and Texas State to fully join the conference in all sports including football. They also added Texas-Arlington, however they do not sponsor football and was an addition to replace Denver.

Georgia Southern recently voted to possibly join the FBS ranks and have expressed interest in joining the Sun Belt before. Other possible targets to join the Sun Belt that have been tossed around is Appalachain State and Lamar University.

Watch for more conference realignment dominoes to fall if MTSU or FAU decides to check out the pastures on the other side of the fence.

ESPN Reports That WAC Commissioner Karl Benson To Replace Wright Waters As SBC Commissioner

February 16, 2012 · Filed Under News · Comment 

Benson is a 60-year old Boise State alum who has been the WAC commissioner since 1994. During his tenure, he has helped to reshape the conference numerous times as teams came and went.

Recently Boise State left the WAC for the Mountain West while Nevada, Fresno State and Hawaii are all leaving after this season for the Mountain West. The WAC is left with Utah State, Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State, Idaho and San Jose State and it has Denver, Seattle, Texas State, Texas-Arlington and Texas-San Antonio joining for the 2012-13 season. Denver, Seattle and UT-Arlington do not have football programs. Boise State plans to rejoin the WAC in everything but football when it joins the Big East in 2013.

While the Mountain West and Conference USA are dissolving to for a new conference, the WAC is in danger of losing more schools as the new conference is targeting 18-24 schools.

Doing The Conference Shuffle 2010 Edition

June 6, 2010 · Filed Under Football, News · 1 Comment 

Some interesting things have popped up lately about conference expansion/realignment. There have been speculation about the Big10 (actually 11 teams) grabbing at least one more team to make the NCAA required 12 teams in order to have a conference championship game.

The Big10 (actually 11) first inclination was to offer to Notre Dame who already has some well established rivalry games within the conference. They are in the right place in the region and, well, it just plain makes sense. However, Notre Dame holds onto this notion that they are special and that their name means something in College Football. Unfortunately, it only does to Notre Dame alums, elderly college football fans and Lou Holtz. If you face the facts like Kirk Herbstreit said on College Gameday late last year, Notre Dame has been irrelevant for about 20 years. The best thing for the Irish to do is to join the Big 10 (actually 11) while they looking for a 12th team.

Other Big10 (actually 11) candidates would be getting Connecticut as well as luring Syracuse and Rutgers to the fold. This would bring in the New York market and money. But UConn isn’t part of the AAU. Plus they aren’t that good anyway.

Next on the list would be Missouri. Pulling them from the Big 12 might prove to be a tough proposition but Mizzou fits in much better than UConn, Rutgers or Syracuse. The bottom of the short list has Pitt. They are rivals to Penn State and the Big 10 (actually 11) is already in Pennsylvania. Nebraska is another Big 12 school that could be lured to the Big 10 (actually 11) and would fit in like Missouri.

The Big 12 has given both schools, Nebraska and Missouri, a deadline of Friday at 5pm to tell them what they are going to do. If they don’t meet the deadline, then another very interesting twist could unfold.

The Pac-10 is also looking to expand their ranks. If Mizzou and Nebraska fail to meet the deadline then six Big 12 schools could possibly bolt the conference for the Pac-10. Those teams would include Texas and Oklahoma. The Big 10 (actually 11) has not formally extended any invitations to anyone but continues toward trying to land a major program. Texas is in play for every league exploring expansion.

Mike Slive, commissioner of the SEC Conference is currently sitting atop the mountain right now. The SEC is the superconference that everyone wants to be like. The Big 10 (actually 11) wants to join them on that mountain as another superconference. Slive is ready to react if the Big 10 (actually 11) expands to 14 or even 16 teams.

Some people have said that the SEC would be ready to extend an invitation to Texas and Texas A&M. Other possible schools could be Florida State, Clemson or Virginia Tech. Tech was actually being courted when the SEC was looking to expand last time but they added Arkansas instead. Some Georgia Tech fans might try to pull for their school but they don’t really fit the SEC model.

So all of this talk about Big 12, Pac-10, Big 10 (actually 11) and SEC but what does it mean for South Alabama? Could USA be the dark horse and sneak into the SEC? Doubtful at this time. But with this talk of superconferences what about a merger between Conference USA and the Sun Belt?

Looking at football schools, this would bring together South Alabama, Western Kentucky, Arkansas State, Louisiana Lafayette, Florida International, Middle Tennessee State, North Texas, Louisiana Monroe, Troy and Florida Atlantic together with Alabama-Birmingham, Memphis, Southern Mississippi, Tulane, Houston, Central Florida, Marshall, Rice, SMU, UTEP and Tulsa for a very large conference.

Do they need all of those schools? Not really. Who to pick for a 16 team conference? South Alabama, UAB, Louisiana Lafayette, Louisiana Monroe, Southern Mississippi, Troy, North Texas, Houston, UTEP, Tulsa, Memphis, Central Florida, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Middle Tennessee State, (Marshall, Rice or SMU). But what would be better would be if this new megaconference (not quite a superconference) could lure someone like East Carolina, Georgia Tech or Clemson to the conference.

But how all this will shake out is anyone’s guess at this point. The ball is in the Big 10’s (actually 11) court with Notre Dame. If they can convince them to join, it’s mostly all over from there. The PAC-10 will still probably look to expand but trying to convince six Big 12 schools to join them would be infinitely more difficult if Missouri and Nebraska do not have to face a choice of joining the Big 10 (I won’t mention the 11 this time) or staying put.