Tag:Sun Belt
Posted on: April 23, 2010 2:06 pm
Edited on: April 23, 2010 4:51 pm
 

Big East, C-USA: Now what?

Future of College Football Graphic: Five Super Conferences

The biggest question in all this expansion talk is what is going to happen to the Big East?

If the Big Ten pulls in Connecticut, Rutgers and Pittsburgh for the Big East, the conference will be down to five teams and on life support to survive. As Dennis Dodd points out, Cincinnati, Syracuse, West Virginia and Louisville would do their best to look elsewhere and most likely join the ACC.

Links

Dodd: Part IV: Variables could spawn revolution

Dodd: Part III: Texas would cause domino effect

Dodd: Part II: A look at the Big Ten Network

Dodd: Part I: The sport will never be the same

That means the Big East basically has two options.

No. 1: Fold. Allow the lone member South Florida to go somewhere else, mostly likely to Conference USA.

No. 2: Scrape together the best teams from Conference USA and the Sun Belt to keep the Big East together.

In scenario No. 1, the Big East would realize that no matter what teams it tries to pull over, it just will never be a major player in the college football/BCS world. So just close up shop and let South Florida to go wherever it could.

With C-USA losing SMU, Houston, Tulsa, UTEP and Tulane, that means it will need to replenish to keep 12 teams and its conference title game. Currently it uses two division -- East and West -- but it's time to change to North and South.

Army and Navy might end up staying as Independents, but why? Join a conference. Now that Notre Dame is gone it's time to do away with the Independents.

New Conference USA
North South
Army Florida Atlantic
East Carolina Florida International
Marshall Southern Miss
Memphis South Florida
Navy UCF
Rice UAB
New teams in bold

Things are a little bit more tricky in the South. Who would C-USA want and why?

Well, South Florida would be an automatic, so it really only needs two teams. Forget adding anybody from the MAC and WAC, so the only choices left are from the Sun Belt.

Florida International in Miami would be high on the list, if for nothing else, because of its location. The school is located in a Top 20 television market, has more than 40,000 students, and the school is doing its best to improve the football program (it just upgraded the stadium).

By taking FIU, that makes Florida Atlantic 60 miles north in Palm Beach County a perfect fit for a travel partner in other sports. The Owls also are building a new stadium.

I'm not sure the other schools would be attractive enough for C-USA to invite. Even though Troy has had the most success football wise, it has a major downside of being in a city of less than 15,000 people.

Louisiana-Lafayette does offer the conference a chance to get back int the state of Louisiana and the city is one of the largest of all the Sun Belt schools, but FAU and FIU are more attractive on a broader scale.

Now let's talk about scenario No. 2:

The Big East decides it can stay together by pulling some of the larger teams from Conference USA and Sun Belt. So here is what an eight-team conference would look like.

New Big East New C-USA/Sun Belt
South Florida Marshall
East Carolina UAB
UCF Rice
Memphis Southern Miss
Florida Atlantic Troy
Florida International Middle Tennessee
Navy La.-Monroe
Army La.-Lafayette
  Arkansas State
  North Texas
  Western Kentucky
  Georgia State (future)

Again, not much to work with, but the conference does get Memphis, UCF, East Carolina, the two Florida schools (FAU and FIU) and two military academies (Army and Navy). Is it strong enough to pull an automatic BCS bid? Doubtful.

Plus this creates another problem. Does the Big East invite all these schools to play basketball? No offense, but adding Florida International and its 5,000-seat gym, to play basketball and hosting games against Georgetown isn't very inticing. This would have to be a football-move only.

As for Conference USA and the Sun Belt, they would have no choice but to join forces. Conference USA would be left with only four schools, while the Sun Belt has seven. It would need one more school to get back to 12 and preserve a conference title game.

It's far-fetched and definitely something down the road, but Georgia State starts football in FCS (I-AA) this season and would be a perfect fit as the 12th school.

Located in downtown Atlanta with more than 30,000 students, the Panthers would be a nice addition to the C-USA/Sun Belt Conference.

Posted on: December 2, 2008 3:08 pm
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Posted on: December 1, 2008 1:22 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2008 7:12 pm
 

CBSSports.com 120 -- SEC Heavyweight Fight

Alabama and Florida are about to make history.

The top two teams in this week CBSSports.com 120 are also ranked No. 1 and No. 4 in the BCS, marking the first time in BCS history that two teams ranked in the Top 5 will meet in a Conference Championship Game.

Before the emails coming flying in about Ohio State vs. Michigan, stress the words -- "Conference Championship Game."

Yes, No. 1 Ohio State took on No. 2 Michigan in the final game of their regular season in 2006, but it wasn't a conference title game because the Big Ten doesn't have one.

Even last year's crazy season had an SEC title game between No. 7 LSU and No. 14 Tennessee, while the Big 12 game featured No. 1 Missouri and No. 9 Oklahoma.

Another game between top five teams in the last week of the regular season was between No. 3 Nebraska and No. 4 Colorado. The Buffaloes smashed the Huskers 62-36 and advanced to the Big 12 title game against Texas, which was ranked No. 7 in the BCS. No worries for Nebraska, though, because it still found itself in the national title game that year.

But back to this season ... Alabama is one of only four undefeated teams remaining and if it takes care of business against the Gators on Saturday in the SEC Championship (CBS, 4 p.m. ET), the Crimson Tide will be playing for the national title for the first time since winning it all in 1992. Meanwhile Florida, which is a 10-point favorite against the No. 1 ranked team in the country, will find itself in the title game if it beats the Crimson Tide.

This is about as big as it gets for two teams from the same conference.

Florida's No. 3 ranked scoring offense with 46.3 points per game vs. Alabama's No. 3 ranked scoring defense, allowing 11.5 points per game. The big difference might be that Florida's defense is ranked No. 4 (12.3 ppg), while Alabama's offense ranks 28th in the nation (32.1 ppg).

"The challenge of playing an opponent like the Florida Gators is, you know, something special for our players," said Alabama coach Nick Saban. "They certainly have an outstanding team, and Coach Meyer has done a fantastic job of putting together a bunch of outstanding athletes who play well together, and are very well coached, and execute as well as anybody in the country. Relative to their scoring offense, balance on offense, Tim Tebow's ability to execute in the way they have. They all contribute in a positive way to playing the roles, to make it difficult to defend them. Their defense is one of the top defensive teams in the nation. They've got some outstanding players, good athletes in all positions. "

The will also mark the fifth time a team from the SEC is playing in the BCS national title game since 1999, where the conference owns an undefeated record (Tennessee in 1999, LSU in 2003, Florida in 2007 and LSU in 2008).

As for the other conference title games (ranking is according to the CBSSports.com 120):

ACC: Boston College (No. 16) vs. Virginia Tech (No. 26), Saturday, 1 p.m. ET, ABC -- Pretty simple the winner goes to the Orange Bowl to likely play Big East champion Cincinnati, while the loser will probably be headed to the Champs Sports Bowl to play Wisconsin/Northwestern/Minnesota. Boston College won earlier in the year 28-23.

Big 12: Oklahoma (No. 3) vs. Missouri (No. 21), Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, ABC -- Now that Oklahoma is ahead of Texas in the BCS all it has to do is beat Missouri to play for the BCS national title. If the Sooners lose, Missouri goes to the Fiesta Bowl, Texas gets into the national title game and Oklahoma falls to the Cotton or Holiday Bowl. If Missouri loses, they will most likely be headed to the Alamo Bowl vs. a Big Ten team.

C-USA: Tulsa (No. 27) vs. East Carolina (No. 56), Saturday, Noon ET, ESPN2 -- Winner gets to play in the Liberty Bowl vs. an SEC squad, which will likely be Vanderbilt. If Tulsa loses it will probably end up in the Texas or Houston Bowl. Meanwhile if East Carolina loses, it will likely be headed to the GMAC Bowl against a MAC team. The two teams did not play this year.

MAC: Ball State (No. 12) vs. Buffalo (No. 52), Friday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN -- Both teams are headed to the a bowl, but the winner gets to play in the Motor City Bowl. There is talk of Ball State going to the Humanitarian Bowl to play Boise State, but there is also talk of Boise State going to play in the Poinsettia Bowl vs. BYU or TCU. If Buffalo wins, throw all that other talk out the window. The two teams did not play this year.

Also of note, even though its not a conference title game -- Arkansas State (No. 80) meets Troy (No. 70). If Troy wins, it will win the conference. If Arkansas State wins and Louisiana-Lafayette beats Middle Tennessee, it would create a three-way tie at 5-2 in Sun Belt play. Only Arkansas State and Troy would be considered because NCAA rules state a 7-5 team, must be picked over a 6-6 teams (La.-Lafayette). So based on head-to-head, the winner of the game would go to the New Orleans Bowl.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com