This is an article from a local TV station in Fargo, ND. North Dakota State, which has won an unprecedented fourth straight FCS national title has been subject to many rumors of moving up to FBS. Dean Bresciani, president of NDSU, states that the Bison are not in a big hurry to move up to FBS. They get schedule FBS foes without the extra cost of being in an FBS conference. Nonetheless, they have the choice of being in the MAC, Mountain West, or the Sun Belt. A lot of speculation points towards the Sun Belt because right now, they are one short of holding a conference championship. Nonetheless, there is a vote coming up that will give more autonomy in how conference will align division and even could have ramifications on the number of schools required to hold a championship, which would make expansion a moot point.
This is your humble narrator giving you the most lurid details of this torture. It seems as if Steve Patterson and the rest of his droogs have tried to snuff all details of expansion from your subconscious. The powers that be seem to be creepily committed to their conference being just an afterthought. Talking heads like Bob Bowlsby have put a lot of people through the Ludovico method of making as if the thought of adding two teams for a conference championship would make them nauseous to the point of death. The Big 12 has seen itself on the outside looking in because they do not have a conference championship. The Big 12 will try to get an exemption but that will not hold water. The other conferences should give a snappy rebuke and tolchock for even trying such a preposterous proposal. Nonetheless, there is a solution, if you are proactive:
1. Try to get that exemption- Like in my previous posts, what a ludicrous idea. Why should they change the requirements when everyone else had to fall in line, just because this is what the Big 12 wants?
2. Add two football-only members- This idea has some real traction. BYU, Boise State, or Air Force are intriguing. BYU would have its sports already in the West Coast Conference and BSU or Air Force could park their other sports in the WAC or Big Sky. The only hiccup I see would be that they still isolate West Virginia
3. Add Memphis and Cincinnati- These two would be great additions overall. Sizable markets for both and they would be closer to West Virginia.Their programs are also stronger as a whole. One plus is the years of consistency of Cincinnati while Memphis could emerge as a power.
Mostly likely, my talk is just mere wishing on my part. Unfortunately, I do not make these decisions. Incompetent dullards like Bob Bowlsby makes these decision. Big 12 fans, enjoy not going to the playoffs, year in and year out.
FYI, this is an article from the Dallas Morning News. It seems they are Big 12 apologists.
The whole college football universe has been buzzing about the first ever four-team playoff that consists of Alabama, Oregon, Florida State, and Ohio State. The first three are obvious but just as you had with the BCS, the final team is always going to have controversy surrounding it. Baylor and TCU have been screaming at the tops of their lungs saying “Why not me?” Well, I respect the committee’s decision and they did not come into it lightly. You have two co-champions with TCU and Baylor but Ohio State is the outright champion of the Big Ten with a convincing 59-0 drubbing of Wisconsin, the best rushing attack in the nation. If you are Memphis, you got your feet ten feet off of Beale. This post will hope to shed light on a sudden revelation I had: Memphis would actually be a great candidate.
They just finished with a 9-3 record and a share of the American Athletic Conference Championship. Memphis, for a while, had a joke of a football program. They were the school that everyone would like to schedule a Mickey Mouse game with. The way things are looking for them, they have nothing but upside and this will not be the case anymore. Elvis has risen back from the dead as it seems, meaning that the job that Justin Fuente has done there is nothing short of but miraculous. He has won more games this season than his first two seasons combined. Memphis has the resources including a great fan-base in the Mid-South and a stadium that could hold almost 60,000 people. It will be interesting to see how their defense stacks against BYU’s explosive offense in the Miami Beach Bowl.
Another great reason would be that they also have a marquee basketball program. Memphis has made it all the way to the Final Four more than once. If them and Cincinnati are added, could you imagine match-ups like Kansas-Memphis, a repeat of the 2008 National Championship, Cincinnati vs. Oklahoma State, etc. Memphis has always been competitive and would only strengthen and bolster the basketball brand of the Big 12.
With the search for markets, Memphis has got it covered. Memphis is a top 50 media market with a metropolitan area, which covers three states, of over 1.3 million people. That is a lot of eyeballs to be had. Not to mention, Memphis is home to some damn good barbeque and hub for great musicians. Also, the state of Tennessee has been attractive for big businesses to move there.
Geographically, they are a great hub. They would be a much-needed travel partner, along with Cincinnati, to West Virginia and Iowa State. Plus, the Big 12 could get a tie-in with the Liberty Bowl through Memphis.
In relation to big business, none is bigger in Memphis than Fed Ex, who decided to put their international headquarters there. If you have seen Castaway, you definitely know this already. When Memphis was in C-USA, they were so desperate that it was rumored that Fed Ex was willing to give the Big East $10 million to sweeten the deal. Fed Ex is tied to the hip with Memphis. Fed Ex could be wild card that could have a hand in the Big 12 pulling the trigger. If what was rumored really did happen, would Fed Ex do the same for them to move up to the Big 12? Perhaps, but only time can tell.
Overall, Memphis would be an interesting addition to the Big 12. They have the tools to be competitive and would ease some of the burden that only a handful of the schools in the Big 12 have. I may have a little bit of a bias going for them because I am an alumnus at Southern Miss. I really lamented the fact that Memphis would accept an invitation to what was the Big East. I miss the Black and Blue Rivalry but I wish them nothing but the best. It is like Mark Cohn said in his song, “you got a prayer in Memphis.” You know what? I am pulling for them too.
I am pouring through various news agencies and here are some juicy articles I have found on potenrial Big 12 candidates:
Another article from Salt Lake Tribune is a “ha-ha” piece by Gordon Monson against the Big 12 snubbing BYU. http://www.sltrib.com/sports/1919204-155/monson-good-news-for-byu-
A radio report mentioning both Memphis and Cincinnati as the two likely schools admitted:http://www.sportstalkflorida.com/big-12-rumors-cincinnati-and-memphis-in-ucf-out/
My prediction has come to fruition: the Big 12’s lack of a conference champioship game has cost them dearly. They will seek an exemption but they will not get it. The other conferences will not stand for it. So the only option left is to expand.
It is official; UAB is dead in the water. Football has been officially been terminated for the Blazers. As per the bylaws set in Conference-USA, in order to be a member, you have to field football. In essence, this means that UAB will not be able to seek associate membership. What does this mean for C-USA? With Charlotte coming in next year, this will give C-USA thirteen members, which they know already is hell for scheduling. They need a new member to even things up. To recap, here are two of their more likely options:
South Alabama- With a city of over 400,000 in its metro area, Mobile is a decent sized market. USA has a strong commitment to having competitive sports. USA has a lot of upside and they just finished this year with a 6-6 mark, which makes them bowl eligible. Their only problem would be that they have the same problem UAB had: the lack of an on-campus stadium. Also, Southern Miss would chafe at another school recruiting in the same region as they do.
Troy- They have an on-campus and athlertics that have been competitive in the past. One big problem is that it is a small town that gives them no large media market.
There are other options if they do not want a school in Alabama:
1. Arkansas State- the town of Jonesboro is just a stone’s throw away from the city of Memphis. ASU has done very well in football in recent years. Arkansas State has top-notch facilities including an on-campus football stadium. If C-USA is trying to keep a continuity with its divisions, ASU would be excellent.
2. Louisiana-Lafayette- ULL has excellent athletics and state-of-the-art facilities. The city of Lafayette has a total metro area of over 600,000 people. The only roadblock would be LA Tech. Would they want a rival program in their home state?
3. New Mexico State- Las Cruces is very close to El Paso, TX. Also, UTEP would like to have a travel partner. New Mexico State would have the benefit of putting all of their athletic in one conference.
Certainly, there would be a ripple effect if the Sun Belt were to lose one or more members. How would reload or would they do so? Maybe ten members might not be so bad. They could do like the Big 12 where everybody plays each other but Idaho might prompt them to expand because of their geography. If they did pull the trigger, here are some candidates:
North Dakota State- with a total metro area of almost 225,000, Fargo is a decent-sized town. The Bisons have been running roughshod over the FCS with three straight national title and going for a fourth. They have beaten five FBS schools. Plus, North Dakota has experienced a strong economic boom as of late. They would be a great football only replacement for NMSU. They have the necessary facilities and could easily make the jump.
Jacksonville State- In the event that they lose an Alabama school, they could be a darkhorse. They have a 25,000 seat stadium and have been dominant in the Ohio Valley Conference. They would really like not to be such an outlier and play teams in the Deep South.
Liberty- a school that is chomping at the bit for an invite. They have great facilities and a commitment to athletics. They are in the state of Virginia, a fast-growing market. Their only hang-up is that they are a lighting rod for controversy.
Overall, I feel sorry for the UAB football players but one school’s loss may be another’s gain
For the past few days, I have been paying attention to the story of the University of Alabama-Birmingham. After finishing 6-6, this might be their final season for football. As a fan of Southern Miss, I hate to see another rivalry die on the vine. In the past years, I have seen East Carolina and Memphis make their exodus. UAB has underperformed in the twenty years they have had football existence and the Alabama Board of Trustees may be forcing their hand. What will Conference-USA do? Most likely, they will go to the Sun Belt for two likely candidates:
South Alabama- this program has nothing but upside. They are in the city of Mobile and a growing campus. The only problem they might have is the lack of an on-campus stadium, the same problem UAB has.
Troy- they have had moderate success. They are in a small town in the middle of nowhere but they have a decent baseball program. They at least have an on-campus stadium.