The money-driven realignment of NCAA conferences marches on. The Big East will add Navy, Memphis and Temple – - a school the Big East threw out of the conference just a few years ago because no one ever attended Temple football games. TCU “joined the conference” but then left before playing any games in the conference; Boise State joined the conference and rumors now say it may pull out and never play there.
Meanwhile, Conference USA stands poised to have Old Dominion and Charlotte join the conference along with UT-San Antonio to create intense future rivalries with C-USA old-timers such as Southern Mississippi and/or UTEP. Seriously, what would you call the “rivalry game” between Old Dominion and Southern Miss? The “Connecting Flights From Hell Game”?
Less obvious in all the moving around is the fact that one of the oldest NCAA conferences stands on the brink of extinction. The Western Athletic Conference has not fared well in the game of Collegiate Conference Dominoes. Two years ago, Boise State left the WAC and Boise State was the “tall dog” with regard to football in that conference by a long shot. While it is still unclear where Boise State will wind up, its departure opened the door for Fresno State, Hawaii and Nevada to leave the WAC and join up with the Mountain West Conference as of last year. This year the WAC will only have 7 football schools left – - and then it could get a lot worse.
The remaining schools are:
New Mexico State
San Jose State
No one is going to mistake that line-up for the murderer’s row of college football; but consider that after next season, Louisiana Tech and Texas-San Antonio are off to C-USA; San Jose State and Utah State will hightail it to the Mountain West Conference and Texas State will defect to the Sun Belt Conference. For those keeping score at home, that leaves the WAC with two conference members that play football
New Mexico State
Supposedly, Seattle University is on a course to join the WAC at some future time; but as of this morning, Seattle University does not field a football team. Who knows if there will be a WAC when Seattle is ready to sign on…?
Brad Rock had this observation about conference shuffling and far-flung collegiate conferences in the Deseret News:
“Big East commissioner John Marinatto resigned last week.
”Sources say he decided it was time to step down right after he got calls on the same day from Alaska-Anchorage and Minnesota-Duluth.”
Meanwhile, stories are flying around now that Florida State might jump from the ACC to the Big 12. According to an AP report, the university president is “weighing the pros and cons” of such a move while saying that negotiations with the Big 12 are not happening. [Aside: I do not know how you weigh pros and cons if you do not know what the offer is to leave one conference to join another, but I will leave that logical conundrum for the reader to unravel.]
One of the reasons he says that it might be good for Florida State to leave the ACC is that the conference is “basketball-centric” [Duh!] and that the ACC television contracts give the basketball power schools an advantage. [Excuse me, but Duke is a basketball power school and hardly dominates in football while VaTech is a small fish in the basketball world but highly competitive in football.]
In case the Florida State university president has not considered this, the Big 12 is extremely “Texas-centric” featuring a bunch of teams in that state and The Longhorn Network, which is owned by one of the Texas schools. In fact, the Longhorn Network and the lack of sharing of revenue there from almost caused the Big 12 to implode only a couple of years ago.
Frankly, I do not give a fig what conference Florida State calls home. Nevertheless, here is some perspective from Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
“There is only one thing that throws me about this Florida State-to-the-Big-12 rumor that has been growing and mutating over the past several days: Do school officials consider themselves some kind of super power? Because I believe time machines are not applicable here. In the last six years, Florida State has played in the Emerald Bowl, the Music City Bowl, the Champs Sports Bowl, the Gator Bowl, the Chick-fil-A Bowl and the Champs Sports Bowl again. They have played in one BCS bowl (Orange) in the last eight seasons (and lost). They haven’t won any BCS bowl game since the national title 12 years ago. They haven’t won the ACC since 2005. They have played in only one ACC championship game in the last six seasons. Before a school starts making financial demands and threatening to change conferences, shouldn’t it at least have to win the ACC Atlantic Division more frequently than Boston College?”
Finally, Greg Cote of the Miami Herald had this comment recently regarding the decision by Florida International to change conferences:
“FIU is switching from the Sun Belt to Conference USA in 2013. To put that in perspective, if this were a poker hand, it made the leap from a pair of twos to a pair of threes.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………