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Topic:  AAC, C-USA, and Sun Belt Realignment

Topic:  AAC, C-USA, and Sun Belt Realignment
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GoCats105
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  Message Not Read  AAC, C-USA, and Sun Belt Realignment
   Posted: 10/13/2021 5:40:05 PM 
According to Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated, Conference USA has reached out to the AAC in hopes of realigning all three leagues to be more regionally beneficial for all.

https://www.si.com/college/2021/10/12/conference-usa-aac-...

This is no doubt a cost saving measure, as C-USA and the AAC are now so far spread out across the country it has to be hitting their wallets with all the airplane travel.

However The Athletic is reporting the AAC is not interested, even after being turned down by several schools in the Mountain West regarding expansion.

https://theathletic.com/news/conference-usa-sends-letter-... /

I hate to say this, but for once the MAC not doing anything may mean they're ahead of the curve. Unless they plan on inviting a relatively close C-USA member still in the footprint, I'm not sure what else can be done. And to mind, the only ones close in the footprint are Marshall, WKU and MTSU. That would be a dream scenario adding two of those three, but at this point highly unlikely. And schools like EKU and JMU wanting to move to FBS is another thing to keep in mind.


Last Edited: 10/13/2021 5:42:32 PM by GoCats105

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Pataskala
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  Message Not Read  RE: AAC, C-USA, and Sun Belt Realignment
   Posted: 10/13/2021 9:05:08 PM 
Interesting that the SI piece doesn't include Navy in either of the two proposed conferences. An oversight, or could the Middies be about to jump ship from the AAC to become an indy again?

The two "potential" teams for the proposed eastern conference are likely App St and Coastal Carolina. Also, the 12-team western conference has Wichita, which is b-ball only in the AAC and seems to have no plans to add football again. Louisiana would be the logical football filler.

During the first realignment there was a lot of discussion here about the potential pitfalls and pratfalls of these conferences, and many of us pointed to the extra travel and lack of many natural rivalries as reasons why many of these elongated conferences might fail. The financial hit from the past year may have brought these issues to a boil.

I really don't think much will come of this with the AAC because they still harbor dreams of being a "P" conference. Could happen with CUSA and Sun Belt, though.

Last Edited: 10/13/2021 9:07:07 PM by Pataskala


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GoCats105
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  Message Not Read  RE: AAC, C-USA, and Sun Belt Realignment
   Posted: 10/14/2021 9:01:29 AM 
Pataskala wrote:
Interesting that the SI piece doesn't include Navy in either of the two proposed conferences. An oversight, or could the Middies be about to jump ship from the AAC to become an indy again?



From what I understand is they're not happy with how it has played out thus far, a lot of it because they were placed in the West Division.
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OUcats82
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  Message Not Read  RE: AAC, C-USA, and Sun Belt Realignment
   Posted: 10/15/2021 10:08:59 AM 
GoCats105 wrote:
Pataskala wrote:
Interesting that the SI piece doesn't include Navy in either of the two proposed conferences. An oversight, or could the Middies be about to jump ship from the AAC to become an indy again?



From what I understand is they're not happy with how it has played out thus far, a lot of it because they were placed in the West Division.


That did never make much sense to me. Cincinnati is the western most team in the East. They are also the only team in the division that isn't on or very close to the Atlantic Ocean.

The conference was left an at even number when Louisville and Rutgers both left IIRC, so when they were brought on why not put them into the east since there would be an imbalance anyways?

Could be that the AAC braintrust didn't want to ruffle any feathers with Cincinnati? Just guessing here.


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Pataskala
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  Message Not Read  RE: AAC, C-USA, and Sun Belt Realignment
   Posted: 10/15/2021 10:51:35 AM 
OUcats82 wrote:
GoCats105 wrote:
Pataskala wrote:
Interesting that the SI piece doesn't include Navy in either of the two proposed conferences. An oversight, or could the Middies be about to jump ship from the AAC to become an indy again?



From what I understand is they're not happy with how it has played out thus far, a lot of it because they were placed in the West Division.


That did never make much sense to me. Cincinnati is the western most team in the East. They are also the only team in the division that isn't on or very close to the Atlantic Ocean.

The conference was left an at even number when Louisville and Rutgers both left IIRC, so when they were brought on why not put them into the east since there would be an imbalance anyways?

Could be that the AAC braintrust didn't want to ruffle any feathers with Cincinnati? Just guessing here.


Cincy probably didn't want to be in the same division as Houston AND Memphis, so they likely pressured the AAC powers that be to put Navy in the West. But since UConn left, they have only 11 teams so they did away with divisions. I'm guessing that with Cincy, Houston and UCF going -- and without adequate replacements -- the AAC isn't as attractive to Navy as it once was. They probably believe they can do better on their own, and may be right. They could easily schedule five or six "P"-level teams each year as an indy, but if they stay in the AAC they'd maybe get one in-conference and maybe two others OOC because they annually have Army and Air Force on the schedule.


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OUcats82
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  Message Not Read  RE: AAC, C-USA, and Sun Belt Realignment
   Posted: 10/15/2021 11:06:24 AM 
Pataskala wrote:
OUcats82 wrote:
GoCats105 wrote:
Pataskala wrote:
Interesting that the SI piece doesn't include Navy in either of the two proposed conferences. An oversight, or could the Middies be about to jump ship from the AAC to become an indy again?



From what I understand is they're not happy with how it has played out thus far, a lot of it because they were placed in the West Division.


That did never make much sense to me. Cincinnati is the western most team in the East. They are also the only team in the division that isn't on or very close to the Atlantic Ocean.

The conference was left an at even number when Louisville and Rutgers both left IIRC, so when they were brought on why not put them into the east since there would be an imbalance anyways?

Could be that the AAC braintrust didn't want to ruffle any feathers with Cincinnati? Just guessing here.


Cincy probably didn't want to be in the same division as Houston AND Memphis, so they likely pressured the AAC powers that be to put Navy in the West. But since UConn left, they have only 11 teams so they did away with divisions. I'm guessing that with Cincy, Houston and UCF going -- and without adequate replacements -- the AAC isn't as attractive to Navy as it once was. They probably believe they can do better on their own, and may be right. They could easily schedule five or six "P"-level teams each year as an indy, but if they stay in the AAC they'd maybe get one in-conference and maybe two others OOC because they annually have Army and Air Force on the schedule.


Ahh forgot about the UConn departure.

And yes, the shine is definitely coming off the conference with the Big 12 departees.


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Club Hyatt
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  Message Not Read  RE: AAC, C-USA, and Sun Belt Realignment
   Posted: 10/15/2021 3:04:32 PM 
Its going to be tough to tell who is in these Texas to Florida conferences when the chairs stop moving. When CUSA was formed it included a mix of markets and some that didn't play football. This whole movement to make it a 12+ football playing leagues has called up almost any D1 that could have football.

They would be more effective at 9 in football and 11 or 12 in basketball with a few of the best basketball schools in their region included instead of these giant one bid basketball conferences.


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Pataskala
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  Message Not Read  RE: AAC, C-USA, and Sun Belt Realignment
   Posted: 10/15/2021 3:48:09 PM 
SI mentioned UAB as a target for the AAC and it got me thinking about who else might be on their list. From CUSA I expect T'erd because they've had good football and b-ball programs. Charlotte is an up-and-comer in a larger TV market (24th). La Tech has been consistently good. Probably not FIU or FAU. They're only so-so and might have to come as a package. Rice would be my dark-horse candidate. They don't do particularly well in either football or basketball, but they occasionally shine in baseball and would be a presence (albeit minor) in the Houston market. And they have a history going back to the Southwest Conference; they're sort of like Temple. Not sure whether anybody else in CUSA would catch AAC's eye.

The pickins are kind of slim in the Sun Belt. Louisiana and Coastal are the flavors of the month but it might be too early to tell where they're going. If AAC takes Louisiana they'd probably pass on La Tech (and vice versa) because they probably don't want three teams from that state (they already have Tulane). App St is another solid contender, but ECU is already in the league, and Charlotte might have a leg up on App St. Doubt they'd give the time of day to anybody else in the Sun Belt.


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Club Hyatt
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  Message Not Read  RE: AAC, C-USA, and Sun Belt Realignment
   Posted: 10/16/2021 10:34:30 AM 
Pataskala wrote:
SI mentioned UAB as a target for the AAC and it got me thinking about who else might be on their list. From CUSA I expect T'erd because they've had good football and b-ball programs. Charlotte is an up-and-comer in a larger TV market (24th). La Tech has been consistently good. Probably not FIU or FAU. They're only so-so and might have to come as a package. Rice would be my dark-horse candidate. They don't do particularly well in either football or basketball, but they occasionally shine in baseball and would be a presence (albeit minor) in the Houston market. And they have a history going back to the Southwest Conference; they're sort of like Temple. Not sure whether anybody else in CUSA would catch AAC's eye.

The pickins are kind of slim in the Sun Belt. Louisiana and Coastal are the flavors of the month but it might be too early to tell where they're going. If AAC takes Louisiana they'd probably pass on La Tech (and vice versa) because they probably don't want three teams from that state (they already have Tulane). App St is another solid contender, but ECU is already in the league, and Charlotte might have a leg up on App St. Doubt they'd give the time of day to anybody else in the Sun Belt.


We don't know with any of them who is going to be the next Boise State in 10 years which is half the problem of setting up conferences over and over again on potential. There is no way to out resource in G5 football with success over the longer term. Cincinnati decided to go for broke for 5-10 years in an attempt to get into a P5 conference and it worked. Had they not made it they might be forced to scale back.


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Pataskala
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  Message Not Read  RE: AAC, C-USA, and Sun Belt Realignment
   Posted: 10/18/2021 11:23:22 PM 
Word is that AAC will get applications from FAU, Charlotte, North Texas, UTSA, Rice and UAB from CUSA this week. https://sports.yahoo.com/sources-the-aac-close-to-massive...


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GoCats105
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  Message Not Read  RE: AAC, C-USA, and Sun Belt Realignment
   Posted: 10/19/2021 10:05:52 AM 
Pataskala wrote:
Word is that AAC will get applications from FAU, Charlotte, North Texas, UTSA, Rice and UAB from CUSA this week. https://sports.yahoo.com/sources-the-aac-close-to-massive...


So basically Conference USA version 2.0. If I'm Navy I want no part of that. And Memphis has to be ticked off here as well.

Charlotte and UAB could do way better for themselves joining the Sun Belt, making their opponents more regional. Good luck with all that air travel.

Last Edited: 10/19/2021 10:07:28 AM by GoCats105

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GoCats105
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  Message Not Read  RE: AAC, C-USA, and Sun Belt Realignment
   Posted: 10/19/2021 10:14:53 AM 
So looking at that a future AAC contains:

Old: Memphis, ECU, USF, Temple, Navy, Tulsa, Tulane, SMU
New: Rice, UTSA, North Texas, UAB, Charlotte, FAU

Navy and Temple really stick out like sore thumbs here. I can't see them going along with this.

That leaves C-USA with:
Marshall, WKU, MTSU, FIU, Old Dominion, UTEP, La Tech, So Miss

Not a lot of punch there.

If this all goes down, C-USA might blow up and the remnants are picked up by the MAC, Sun Belt and new WAC.
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OhioCatFan
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  Message Not Read  RE: AAC, C-USA, and Sun Belt Realignment
   Posted: 10/19/2021 10:54:22 AM 
Pataskala wrote:
Word is that AAC will get applications from FAU, Charlotte, North Texas, UTSA, Rice and UAB from CUSA this week. https://sports.yahoo.com/sources-the-aac-close-to-massive...


This is interesting. Just last week a Marshall board that I'm a member of was sure they were getting an invite to the AAC. Now they are contemplating a move to a revamped Sunbelt. They think it will look like this:

East
App. St....................................Boone, NC
Coastal Carolina.....................Conway, SC
Marshall..................................Huntington, WV
Old Dominion..........................Norfolk, Va
James Madison......................Harrisonburg, Va
Georgia Southern..................Statesboro, Ga
Georgia State........................Atlanta, Ga

West
Arkansas St............................Jonesboro, AR
South Alabama.......................Mobile, AL
Troy..........................................Troy, AL
Southern Miss........................Hattiesburg,MS
Texas State............................San Marcos, TX
Louisiana...............................Lafayette, LA
UL Monroe.............................Monroe, LA

Does this look reasonable? I think, as I posted there, they would be better off in a revamped MAC that added WKU and Marshall, and maybe MTSU, whilst dropping Akron and EMU, if possible.


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bobcatsquared
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  Message Not Read  RE: AAC, C-USA, and Sun Belt Realignment
   Posted: 10/19/2021 10:58:14 AM 
The MAC is not dropping Akron or EMU, although that is not an uncommon theme here or on other MAC message boards.
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Pataskala
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  Message Not Read  RE: AAC, C-USA, and Sun Belt Realignment
   Posted: 10/19/2021 11:58:43 AM 
I doubt that T'erd would make a third run with the MAC. They seem to think that the MAC is beneath them, no matter how watered down their own conference becomes.

Interesting what the T'erd board came up with. Don't know what all their thinking was but they have JMU moving up to D1A -- which isn't in the cards at the moment -- and left WKU, MTSU and LaTech somewhere in limbo. Assuming they could scratch JMU from the list, they could add WKU and MTSU to the east and LaTech to the west. A 16-team conference proved cumbersome for the WAC a few years ago but this might work, since it isn't breaking up any particular rivalries.


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OUcats82
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  Message Not Read  RE: AAC, C-USA, and Sun Belt Realignment
   Posted: 10/19/2021 12:22:39 PM 
Pataskala wrote:
I doubt that T'erd would make a third run with the MAC. They seem to think that the MAC is beneath them, no matter how watered down their own conference becomes.

Interesting what the T'erd board came up with. Don't know what all their thinking was but they have JMU moving up to D1A -- which isn't in the cards at the moment -- and left WKU, MTSU and LaTech somewhere in limbo. Assuming they could scratch JMU from the list, they could add WKU and MTSU to the east and LaTech to the west. A 16-team conference proved cumbersome for the WAC a few years ago but this might work, since it isn't breaking up any particular rivalries.


Just going from memory, this new conference seems much more compact than the old WAC was geographically, when looking at each division separately.

I believe a fair amount of the teams in the East were once Southern Conference rivals which could be fun for the fans that go back that far.

Last Edited: 10/19/2021 12:23:58 PM by OUcats82


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GoCats105
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  Message Not Read  RE: AAC, C-USA, and Sun Belt Realignment
   Posted: 10/19/2021 12:43:18 PM 
bobcatsquared wrote:
The MAC is not dropping Akron or EMU, although that is not an uncommon theme here or on other MAC message boards.


Nor does the MAC need to. Yeah, sure, lets drop one of our best basketball programs. Keep what you have and see if anyone in the regional footprint would like to join.
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GoCats105
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  Message Not Read  RE: AAC, C-USA, and Sun Belt Realignment
   Posted: 10/19/2021 12:47:16 PM 
Pataskala wrote:
I doubt that T'erd would make a third run with the MAC. They seem to think that the MAC is beneath them, no matter how watered down their own conference becomes.

Interesting what the T'erd board came up with. Don't know what all their thinking was but they have JMU moving up to D1A -- which isn't in the cards at the moment -- and left WKU, MTSU and LaTech somewhere in limbo. Assuming they could scratch JMU from the list, they could add WKU and MTSU to the east and LaTech to the west. A 16-team conference proved cumbersome for the WAC a few years ago but this might work, since it isn't breaking up any particular rivalries.


What makes you think JMU isn't in a position to move up? They really want to and they'd fit amazingly in that league with other schools who recently made the move.
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OhioCatFan
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  Message Not Read  RE: AAC, C-USA, and Sun Belt Realignment
   Posted: 10/19/2021 1:15:54 PM 
OUcats82 wrote:
I believe a fair amount of the teams in the East were once Southern Conference rivals which could be fun for the fans that go back that far.


Yes, and for that reason some posters on the Marshall board in question (herdfans.com) have said they don't like this idea simply because to them it seems like a move back to FCS football in the Southern Conference.


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Pataskala
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  Message Not Read  RE: AAC, C-USA, and Sun Belt Realignment
   Posted: 10/19/2021 1:32:13 PM 
GoCats105 wrote:
Pataskala wrote:
I doubt that T'erd would make a third run with the MAC. They seem to think that the MAC is beneath them, no matter how watered down their own conference becomes.

Interesting what the T'erd board came up with. Don't know what all their thinking was but they have JMU moving up to D1A -- which isn't in the cards at the moment -- and left WKU, MTSU and LaTech somewhere in limbo. Assuming they could scratch JMU from the list, they could add WKU and MTSU to the east and LaTech to the west. A 16-team conference proved cumbersome for the WAC a few years ago but this might work, since it isn't breaking up any particular rivalries.


What makes you think JMU isn't in a position to move up? They really want to and they'd fit amazingly in that league with other schools who recently made the move.


Some at JMU want to but the higher-ups have been reluctant to make the move. They turned down both CUSA and Sun Belt a few years ago. The biggest hang-up has been the travel, since both CUSA and Sun Belt have a lot of teams west of the Mississippi. They might change their minds, depending on the arrangement. Having teams in closer towns and teams that they're familiar with would be a boost.

In my previous post I forgot that FIU and UTEP also were left out. FIU in the east and UTEP in the west would make for two nine-team divisions/conferences.


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OhioCatFan
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  Message Not Read  RE: AAC, C-USA, and Sun Belt Realignment
   Posted: 10/19/2021 3:07:23 PM 
I remember an article a few years ago saying that the MAC was looking at an FBS upraded JMU as a possible member. Nothing came of it at that time. Maybe there was nothing to it.


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Victory
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  Message Not Read  RE: AAC, C-USA, and Sun Belt Realignment
   Posted: 10/19/2021 3:21:04 PM 
At the start of the thread CUSA wanted to regionally reorganize in the collective best interest of most of the schools in 3 conferences. Not surprisingly, most (all?) of the remaining American schools didn't think that was in their own best interest. So we have more chaos.

In a collective realignment like what we started with it might make some sense for Marshall and WKU to end up in the MAC. UTEP and La. Tech to the MWC, the others to the Sunbelt and CUSA just disappearing. But we all know that won't happen either.

Last Edited: 10/19/2021 3:25:05 PM by Victory

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colobobcat66
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  Message Not Read  RE: AAC, C-USA, and Sun Belt Realignment
   Posted: 10/19/2021 4:51:42 PM 
OhioCatFan wrote:
Pataskala wrote:
Word is that AAC will get applications from FAU, Charlotte, North Texas, UTSA, Rice and UAB from CUSA this week. https://sports.yahoo.com/sources-the-aac-close-to-massive...


This is interesting. Just last week a Marshall board that I'm a member of was sure they were getting an invite to the AAC. Now they are contemplating a move to a revamped Sunbelt. They think it will look like this:

East
App. St....................................Boone, NC
Coastal Carolina.....................Conway, SC
Marshall..................................Huntington, WV
Old Dominion..........................Norfolk, Va
James Madison......................Harrisonburg, Va
Georgia Southern..................Statesboro, Ga
Georgia State........................Atlanta, Ga

West
Arkansas St............................Jonesboro, AR
South Alabama.......................Mobile, AL
Troy..........................................Troy, AL
Southern Miss........................Hattiesburg,MS
Texas State............................San Marcos, TX
Louisiana...............................Lafayette, LA
UL Monroe.............................Monroe, LA

Does this look reasonable? I think, as I posted there, they would be better off in a revamped MAC that added WKU and Marshall, and maybe MTSU, whilst dropping Akron and EMU, if possible.



I think that makes a lot of sense and it would be a pretty good football conference with quite a bit better travel distances it seems to me, although Texas state seems like an outlier

Last Edited: 10/19/2021 4:52:43 PM by colobobcat66

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GoCats105
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  Message Not Read  RE: AAC, C-USA, and Sun Belt Realignment
   Posted: 10/20/2021 10:59:46 AM 
Victory wrote:
At the start of the thread CUSA wanted to regionally reorganize in the collective best interest of most of the schools in 3 conferences. Not surprisingly, most (all?) of the remaining American schools didn't think that was in their own best interest. So we have more chaos.

In a collective realignment like what we started with it might make some sense for Marshall and WKU to end up in the MAC. UTEP and La. Tech to the MWC, the others to the Sunbelt and CUSA just disappearing. But we all know that won't happen either.


I think these schools are finally realizing what the MAC and Sun Belt knew all along: keep your travel costs at a minimum for both the school and fans. Seriously, if you're a fan of Marshall do you ever get to go to road games in Texas or Louisiana? I don't care how well you travel as a fan base, it simply doesn't make sense for schools and departments of these sizes to travel as far as they do for away games.

UTEP would fit pretty well in the MWC, but not so sure about La Tech. I think people underestimate how far El Paso, TX actually is from the rest of the state. It's an 8.5 hour drive from me here in Austin. If all this goes down and UTSA/Rice end up in the AAC, UTEP's closest primary opponent would be La Tech, a hefty 13 hours away. Conversely if they went to the MWC, Albuquerque (home of UNM) is 4 hours away. Hell San Diego is closer to El Paso than Ruston, LA. Weird to think about, but it's true.

Put La Tech in the Sun Belt and watch that madness ensue with Louisiana and ULM.



Last Edited: 10/20/2021 11:01:00 AM by GoCats105

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SVAC83
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  Message Not Read  RE: AAC, C-USA, and Sun Belt Realignment
   Posted: 10/20/2021 8:16:21 PM 
I think conference USA is gone. I bet the MAC is receiving calls from western kentucky and Middle tennesse. These seem to be two schools with no where to go. The only way conference USA survives is if ODU gets left out of the mix. Then you might see a regional league form down that way.
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