Sorry about the crappy quality of these maps, but if I thought they were going to be accurate for longer than a day or two I would put more work into them.
Yes that’s right, C-USA has added Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) and Florida Atlantic University (FAU), stealing both away from the Sun Belt. This comes just a day after Tulane & ECU left C-USA for the Big East. Sure C-USA could still add App State, but our chances just dropped tremendously in the short term.
ECU joined the Big East in football only and at least one news source says they have found a home for their olympic sports in the CAA. So much for a new SoCon rivalry. So how do we get the hell out of here?
Well there are at least 2 openings for App in the Sun Belt conference. Performance wise the Sun Belt was actually superior to C-USA this year. Then why did those schools just leave you ask? Well C-USA has better bowl tie-ins and more importantly better money. As a fan, I just want App State to be in the strongest conference it can be in. MTSU will be a feather in C-USA’s cap, but losing FAU might have been a blessing for the Sun Belt.
This is what the Sun Belt looks like now (with us added):
So who does the Sun Belt go to? Well it’s safe to say that Appalachian State & Georgia Southern make the most sense…especially as a package.
This consistently crazy person over at ESPN 1420 seems to think that the Sun Belt shouldn’t add App State OR Georgia Southern. Instead he says they should look all to way to Las Cruces, NM and add New Mexico State and stick at 9. WHAT?! Don’t put that stupid idea in their head! The Sun Belt is perfectly capable of making asinine decisions on its own, thank you very much (See Georgia State & UT-Arlington).
He does bring up one good point, however. If you put yourselves in their shoes, you would rather add a school that is already FBS and not a “startup” like Georgia Southern or Appalachian State. Who would even come though? The pickings are slim.
Likely Suspects (in order of my perceived probability):
New Mexico State (FBS technically, but geography makes no sense)
James Madison (I think the MAC fits them more)
Idaho (FBS I guess, Geography what geography?)
Liberty (I kinda hope not but it makes sense on their end)
Sam Houston State (might not be ready to say yes even if offered)
Lamar (Hey now, they’ve done dumber things before)
Jacksonville State (Poor guys have .01% chance, but what do I know)
If I were in their shoes, I would add Appalachian State, Georgia Southern, NMSU, & JMU all at the same time. If JMU said no I would consider Liberty. But they need to get a buffer zone in case they lose more teams. I go with the add more, not less, strategy.
If we do finally get to the FBS, we take the Boise State approach. Don’t worry about your conference. Win and let the rest take care of itself.