Tag:New Mexico State
Posted on: November 23, 2010 11:26 am
 

North Texas turns down desperate WAC

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

These are dark times indeed for the WAC and commissioner Karl Benson , who have seen every step forward they've tried to take in the conference expansion wars followed by a giant step back. They thought they had forged a deal with BYU ; the Mountain West responded by poaching Nevada and Fresno State to push BYU into independence. They invited UT-San Antonio and Texas State to maintain their basic viability as a football league; then Hawaii responds to the two extra trips into the Central Time Zone by taking their ball and -- probably -- joining the MWC , too. 

That maneuver has left the WAC with just seven football schools again, one short of the mandated FBS minimum. The league's profile has sunk to the point where not only is the league looking to poach schools from the Sun Belt , the FBS's weakest, most tradition-deficient conference ... those schools are barely giving the WAC the time of day :
North Texas athletic director Rick Villarreal told WAC commissioner Karl Benson that the school has no interest in joining the league late Monday night, just hours after Benson called to gauge the school’s interest in leaving the Sun Belt Conference.

“I told [Benson] that while we appreciate the interest, the University of North Texas is going to be a member of the Sun Belt Conference and will work to continue building the league,” Villarreal said. “We appreciate the opportunity and wish them luck as they move forward.”
Keep in mind that that it's hardly like UNT is a pillar in the current Sun Belt; the coach-less Mean Green have been one of Division I's sickliest programs since a run of SBC titles in the early aughts. As the Sun Belt's only Texas team, they should theoretically also leap at the chance to forge natural rivalries with UTSA and Texas State, and there's little question that with strong programs like Utah State and New Mexico State around, the WAC would represent a substantial step up in quality for UNT's improving men's hoops team.

And still North Texas barely even considered the WAC's offer before publicly shooting them down. When the Sun Belt isn't just seen as the better option but the definitively better option, for a team that makes some geographical sense for the WAC, Benson has some major, major troubles. If they can't convince slow-moving Montana to make the leap to the FBS sooner than anticipated, the WAC may truly, finally be finished as a conference.

HT: GTP .

Posted on: November 18, 2010 10:38 pm
 

Report: Hawaii to join MWC, further imperil WAC

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Friends! Let's hop in the Wayback Machine, all the way back to ... November 2, 2010. Wow, that's a long time ago. Here was our characterization of the new Mountain West after all the conference realignment takes place:

[...] by the time these moves all get made, the Mountain West won't look like a new power conference at all; if anything, it'll just be the WAC 2.0, but with fewer trips to Honolulu and more to Las Vegas. Hey, win some, lose some. But a conference led by Boise State, Fresno State, and Nevada didn't get a sniff from the BCS Committee when it comes to awarding an automatic BCS bid (and guaranteeing BCS money), and it won't this time around either.

Well, apparently the MWC is going all-in on this "WAC 2.0" business, because according to a report from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the Mountain West has offered a conference spot to Hawaii:

The University of Hawaii is being extended an offer to join the Mountain West Conference, the Star-Advetiser [sic] has learned.

A 7 p.m. [HST] press conference has been called for Bachman Hall to make the announcement.

The MWC presidents met today to approve conditions under which the conference would accept UH, which is expected to join the Big West in all sports except football.

If true, this puts the WAC on the brink of going defunct; NCAA rules state that for a conference to receive an automatic postseason bid -- or really be recognized by the NCAA in any way -- it must have a group of five member schools that have been in the same conference for at least five years. With Boise State, Nevada, and Fresno State all headed to the Mountain West and now Hawaii joining them, the WAC would be down to the bare minimum of five tenured schools in 2012: Louisiana Tech, Idaho, New Mexico State, Utah State, and San Jose State. If even one of those schools leaves before 2017 (when brand new members Seattle, Texas State, and UT-San Antonio hit the five-year mark), the WAC will effectively cease to exist. That would be its own special brand of history, wouldn't it?

Posted on: September 29, 2010 4:30 pm
 

Boise State safety Venable suspended for one half

Posted by Adam Jacobi

When Boise State kicks off their conference season against powerhouse (cough) New Mexico State this weekend, they'll be doing so without one of their leaders on defense. Winston Venable, a senior safety, was suspended one half by WAC commissioner Karl Benson after a helmet-to-helmet hit on Oregon State wide receiver James Rodgers. From Benson:

"After reviewing this play, it was determined that a flagrant personal foul should have been called by the game officials which would have resulted in the player being ejected" said WAC commissioner Karl Benson.

Rodgers, who wasn't even the ball-carrier on the play (it was a quarterback scramble by Ryan Katz), suffered a concussion and appeared to lose consciousness briefly.

The WAC was planning on suspending Venable for a game before a Boise State appeal cut the punishment in half. The Broncos obviously don't need to have Venable in their secondary to beat NMSU; heck, they could throw head coach Chris Peterson back there and still win by 30. But preparation and routine are important in football, and it'll be easier for Venable to stay in the proper mindset for the season if he's going through practice and preparing to actually be on the field come Saturday -- even if the game could be such a blowout that the rest of the starters will be ordered to sit at the half.

To the larger point, though, it's nice to see a commissioner's office take some proactive steps to combat this sort of thing. Venable's hit didn't make a lot of sense from a football perspective; he didn't try to shed the block, he just decided to initiate the inevitable contact rather than absorb it, and he laid a hellacious hit on Rodgers. Of course, while he was doing that, Katz was staying on his feet and picking up the first down. Tactically, it was a dumb decision, and it ended up being a pretty dangerous one too. Football's got to start actively avoiding that style of play; it's not "dirty" in the normal sense of the word, but it leads to enough brain injury -- on both sides and both immediate and cumulative -- that it's in everybody's best interests to stop such play.

 
 
 
 
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