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Tag:Conference USA
Posted on: March 1, 2012 2:13 pm
 

SEC loves (playing) the Sun Belt

While Thursday’s release of the Sun Belt’s 2012 football schedule didn’t bring as much fanfare as the SEC or Big 12 schedule release, it did give us a chance to look at which other conferences love the Sun Belt. Specifically which of the other 10 FBS conferences love playing against the Sun Belt.

And no one loves playing/beating the Sun Belt more than the SEC, especially Mississippi State.

Three of the Bulldogs' four non-conference games are against Sun Belt members Troy, South Alabama and Middle Tennessee. Their fourth non-conference game is against FCS member Jackson State. I guess there were no Division III teams available that week.

Anyway, Mississippi State is among nine SEC schools that will play Sun Belt schools this fall in a total of 12 non-conference games. The only SEC schools without a Sun Belt team on the schedule is Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt. Defending national champion Alabama’s schedule features two Sun Belt opponents: Western Kentucky and Florida Atlantic.

After the SEC, Conference USA has the most schools (six) playing Sun Belt opponents with a total of eight games.

Mississippi State is one of five schools with multiple Sun Belt opponents. Alabama, Memphis, Tulane and Navy each have two Sun Belt non-conference games.

The only FBS league that isn’t playing the Sun Belt is the WAC.

Last year, the Sun Belt was only 10-25 in non-conference games against FBS opponents, including a 1-2 bowl record.

Conference (games vs. Sun Belt)

ACC (3):
Duke, Georgia Tech, N.C. State
Big East (1):
Louisville
Big 10 (1):
Nebraska
Big 12 (3):
Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma State
C-USA (6):
Houston, Memphis 2, Southern Miss, Tulane 2, UAB, UCF
Independents (1):
Navy 2
MAC (1):
Akron
Mountain West (1):
Hawaii
SEC (9):
Alabama 2, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State 3, Tennessee
Pac-12 (1):
Oregon
WAC (0)

Posted on: February 23, 2012 10:54 am
 

MWC continues to wait on AQ BCS exemption

DALLAS – While the Mountain West finally knows exactly who will be playing in the league this season, the MWC may have to wait seven more months before knowing if it will be an automatic qualifying BCS league in the next two seasons.

In December, the Mountain West applied for a BCS exemption, which would allow the league champion to receive an automatic bid to one of the BCS bowls. The exemption must be voted on by the 12-member Presidential Oversight Committee, with nine votes needed for approval.

That committee, which consists of a president from each of the 11 Football Bowl Subdivision conferences and Notre Dame’s president, doesn’t appear in any rush to rule on the Mountain West’s AQ status.

BCS executive director Bill Hancock told CBSSports.com Wednesday that the BCS will continue to try to get the Presidential Oversight Committee together on a conference call, but Hancock said there is no immediate deadline when the committee would vote and one may not be conducted until the start of the season, in late August or early September.

On Dec. 13, 2011, the Mountain West filed an exemption, claiming it met the necessary requirements to earn its champion an automatic berth to one of the five BCS bowls.

In its four-page letter to the Oversight Committee, the Mountain West stated that “important factors are at the core of the Committee’s consideration of this request for an exemption – precedent and performance. The BCS has a well-established history of granting automatic qualification exemptions. Equally important, the performance of the Mountain West during the evaluation period has clearly been deserving of automatic-qualifying status.”

The Mountain West claims the Big East was granted BCS access and kept its AQ without meeting qualification standards in February 2004 “apparently based on reputation and relationships, rather than demonstrated performance.”

Despite having only seven members for the 2004 season, after the departures of Miami and Virginia Tech to the ACC, the Big East retained its AQ status from 2004-07.

“It is only appropriate that the Mountain West's exemption request be considered in that context and a consistency of approach be maintained,” the league wrote to the committee.

Because the Mountain West, along with Conference USA, is dissolving and forming a new league in 2013, Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson told CBSSports.com the Presidential Oversight Committee recently requested information regarding those plans for the new conference.

“We are in the process of answering,” Thompson said.

Because the Mountain West will be an entirely different league in 2013, Hancock said he doesn’t know if the MWC would receive AQ status in both the 2012 and 2013 seasons.

“No one knows about that,” Hancock said. “They might or might not. That would have to be revisited.”

The Mountain West met two of the three criteria for an exemption and were just outside at No. 7 in the third (needing to be ranked among the top six conferences in overall strength of the league based on the computer polls). The ACC and Big East also fell short of the threshold to retain their automatic qualification status after the four-year evaluation cycle (2008-2011), but aren’t being evaluated against these same standards. In fact, the Big East’s numbers wouldn’t even qualify it to request an exemption. 

Thompson said Wednesday he would characterize the Mountain West’s chances “as neutral right now.”

“TCU and West Virginia’s moves (to the Big 12 from the Mountain West and Big East, respectively) really effects three leagues, although two have AQ status,” Thompson said. “That shows the volatility of the college landscape.”

That landscape continues shifting and changing – sometimes on a weekly basis. While the Big East wouldn’t pay Boise State’s exit fees to leave the Mountain West this season, the Mountain West won’t technically exist next season. It will have totally new membership and a new name.

The Big East, which is close to adding Temple for the 2012 season, also will have a new look with anywhere from 11 to 13 members in 2013, depending if Pittsburgh and Syracuse leave early for the ACC. The Big 12, currently set for 10 members in 2012, could decide to expand for the 2013 season.

And who knows what else might happen involving conference realignment in the next 12-18 months?

One thing is certain: if the Mountain West is granted an exemption for the next two seasons, it would be mean one fewer team would qualify for an at-large spot in one of the five BCS bowls during the next two seasons.

If the MWC earns an exemption, the champions from the Pac-12, Big Ten, SEC, ACC, Big 12, Big East and MWC would all earn automatic berths to the BCS bowls. The remaining three spots would be filled by at-large selections, reducing the number of conferences with potentially two BCS bowl teams from four to three.

Posted on: February 13, 2012 2:15 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 6:20 am
 

C-USA, MWC dissolving to form new league

The institutions from Conference USA and the Mountain West are dissolving both leagues to create their own conference, college football industry sources told CBSSports.com.

The new conference will consist of 18 to 24 members and start in the 2013-14 academic year. It would not only have a conference championship football game, but also conference semifinals. Conference USA and the Mountain West would continue as is for the 2012-13 season.

The reason that the institutions are dissolving and forming their own league and not just merging is for legal reasons, sources said.

"This presidentially led association will ensure stability and be built upon the principles of operating at the highest level of integrity and sportsmanship, enhancing the student-athlete academic and competitive experience, bringing fiscal discipline into athletics and ensuring competitive fairness," said a statement from UNLV president Neal Smatresk and Tulane president Scott Cowen.

"This is an exciting development that will stabilize the current conferences and create the first truly national conference with members in five time zones and television viewership from coast to coast," Smatresk said. "This partnership brings together like-minded institutions to improve the integrity and stability of intercollegiate athletics. We are moving our plans forward rapidly and expect to complete our conversations in the near future. Look for further announcements soon as we work together on this exciting new venture."

The structure of the new conference, Smatresk and Cowen's statement said, will have a "national scope from the Atlantic Seaboard to Hawaii, regular season scheduling in divisions, NCAA FBS affiliation and mechanisms to emphasize and improve academic standards and fiscal responsibility."

The presidents and chancellors will have follow-up meetings during the next six months to fully develop the operational issues essential to the formation of the association.

The new league -- which is yet to be named -- is expected to consist of  Southern Miss, Marshall, East Carolina, UAB, Tulsa, Rice, UTEP and Tulane from C-USA and Wyoming, Air Force, Colorado State, UNLV, New Mexico, Fresno State, Nevada and Hawaii from the MWC. Hawaii would be a football-only member.

Temple also is a possibility. The school was contacted by Conference USA, sources told CBSSports.com, when the Big East last week opted to invited Memphis instead of Temple.

CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd first reported last month about the possibility of the leagues dissolving and forming their own league.

Both leagues have suffered significant losses. BYU went independent last season, while TCU is leaving for the Big 12 and Boise State and San Diego State are leaving for the Big East, with Boise State possibly joining the Big East this summer. C-USA also lost Houston, UCF, SMU and Memphis to the Big East, starting in 2013.


Posted on: February 8, 2012 10:50 am
 

C-USA contacts Temple; MWC merger changes weekly

After Memphis’ decision to leave for the Big East on Tuesday, Conference USA officials immediately contacted Temple to gauge the Owls’ interest in moving from the Mid-American Conference to C-USA, college football industry sources told CBSSports.com.

Temple thought it would receive the Big East’s invitation and was stunned the Big East invited Memphis. The Owls were former Big East members before getting dismissed from the league in 2004. Temple has been a member of the MAC since 2007 and in the past three seasons has a 26-12 record under former coach Al Golden and current coach Steve Addazio.

It’s unknown if the Owls would welcome a move to C-USA since there’s still the possibility the Big East could have more future openings if the Big 12 expands to 11 and takes Louisville. If that happens, Temple would be back on the Big East’s radar.

The future of Conference USA is also unknown. C-USA and the Mountain West are considering a merger or will dissolve the two leagues into one. With Memphis gone, will the leagues still combine or decide its better to go at it alone? One source said the possibility of the C-USA/MWC merger “changes weekly.”

If C-USA and the MWC did combine as an all-sports league it would consist of: Southern Miss, Marshall, East Carolina, UAB, Tulsa, Rice, UTEP and Tulane from C-USA and Wyoming, Air Force, Colorado State, UNLV, New Mexico, Fresno State, Nevada and Hawaii from the MWC. Hawaii would be a football-only member, making a 15-team all-sports conference and a 16-team football conference, not including Temple.

The benefits of the combined league, sources say, would be stability, increased potential television revenue and the additional exposure across the country in new markets. They also would be able to conduct a conference championship game in football. C-USA currently has a championship game, the Mountain West doesn’t.

If the leagues decide to remain as they are could they survive with all of the defections? The Mountain West will be losing TCU, Boise State and San Diego State, while C-USA will lose Houston, UCF, SMU and Memphis. The television revenue for each league would not be as substantial.

As unwieldy as a 15- or 16-team all-sports league stretched across the country may seem, it still likely would provide more long-term stability – at least until one of the current BCS AQ conferences decides to expand again and the dominoes continue to trickle down to the MWC and C-USA.

So does Temple join forces with C-USA or hold out hope for a Big East invite? Does C-USA combine with the Mountain West? We’ll have to wait and see, but the fact that in 2013 seven of the Big East’s 11 football members are former C-USA members (Louisville, Cincinnati, South Florida, Houston, Memphis, UCF and SMU) was not lost on one college football industry source.

“Perhaps the Big East can save time and take the rest of Conference USA’s teams,” quipped the source. “Then take C-USA’s name and divide the league into Red, White and Blue Divisions (as the league once had in the 1990s).”
Posted on: December 8, 2011 11:43 am
Edited on: December 8, 2011 1:16 pm
 

BCS AQ status likely gone in 2014

NEW YORK – For all the critics of the BCS, rejoice: it appears that the BCS automatic qualifying status format will be gone in 2014.

At least that’s the indication that Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky gave during Thursday’s IMG Forum at the Marriott Marquis.

“Some of the people that don’t have (BCS AQ status), say they don’t want it,” Delany said. “Some of the people that do have it, don’t really care about it. Maybe it needs to be reconsidered. I’m not wed to it. I’m wed to the 1-2 game and I’m wed to the Rose Bowl. I’m not wed to the (BCS AQ) selection process or the limitations.”

The current BCS format expires after the 2013 season. There is growing speculation that when the new format is voted on and established in 2014, it could simply be reduced to only pitting the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in a bowl game or a Plus-One model (the top four teams would be seeded in the bowl games).

Either the Plus-One or without the Plus-One model would allow the other current BCS bowl games – Fiesta, Sugar, Orange and Rose – to simply align with whichever conferences they want and would not be required to select teams based on a BCS ranking.

"I feel strongly it’s been a negative driver from our perspective,” Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky. “I hope to be involved in a BCS we do it in a way where we can create a more happy BCS without these class systems. I think it’s possible to do it. In a competitive format that requires teams to be competitive teams in order to participate.”

Added Delany: “As long as I can go to the Rose Bowl, I don’t really care,” Delany said.

Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick isn't in favor of the Plus-One model, but expects change in 2014.

“(Without the BCS AQ format) takes so many forms, it's hard to draw a conclusion from that," Swarbrick said. "You could fashion a version which probably would be good. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to fashion a version that might not be good."

Posted on: October 10, 2011 10:45 pm
 

Sources: Big East contacts UCF

The Big East Conference contacted the University of Central Florida on Monday, perhaps setting the stage for the Knights to join the league, Big East and college football industry sources told CBSSports.com.

The Big East, which announced Monday morning that it would consider a model with 12 football members, expressed interest in UCF, which may lead to a meeting later this week between Big East and UCF officials, an industry source said.

UCF has not received an invitation to join the Big East as an all-sports member, but one could be extended in the coming days. The Big East is looking to replace TCU, which was announced Monday as the newest member to the Big 12, and Pittsburgh and Syracuse, which are headed to the ACC.

Big East commissioner John Marinatto also contacted Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky about the Big East’s interest in the Knights, Boston.com reported.

After a brief two-year stint in the Mid-American Conference, UCF has been in Conference USA since 2005. The Knights, 3-2 this season, have been to bowl games in four of their six seasons in C-USA, winning the league title in 2007 and 2010. They went 11-3 last season, defeating Georgia in the Liberty Bowl.

The Knights have lobbied publicly and privately for Big East membership for several years and would jump at the chance to join the league. UCF coach George O’Leary told me last season he thought the Knights “would be a great candidate” for the Big East.

“When you look at the school size, facilities, academics, the weather and the (nation's No. 19) TV market is something that Orlando brings,” O’Leary said last year. “There are a lot of major plusses why UCF would be considered. The big thing is all we can do is win, continue to do the things we need to do and all the other things will take care of itself.

“Obviously I think we have everything in place to move.”

The Big East is guaranteed to remain an automatic qualifying BCS conference through the 2013 season. After that, though, it’s uncertain if the Big East would retain its automatic qualifying status. O’Leary told me it’s imperative for UCF to get into a BCS league.

“No question with the economy, the BCS would solve some problems that way as far as the economy and marketing,” O'Leary said last year. “The TV exposure and recruiting – they (the recruits) want to know if you're a BCS school or not. There are a lot of major plusses just from exposure standpoint.”

On Monday morning, Marinatto released a statement that said the league’s presidents authorized him “to engage in formal discussions with additional institutions” and the league is “considering moving to a model that includes 12 football playing schools.”

The Big East has been pursuing the academies – Navy, Air Force and Army – for years. A league source said Monday night the Big East believes Army was a “long shot” to join the league, but Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk told CBSSports.com Monday the Midshipmen continue to monitor the Big East and that joining the league "remains an option."

On Saturday, Air Force athletic director Hans Mueh told the Denver Post “our interest is high in the Big East.”

Posted on: August 22, 2011 11:08 pm
Edited on: August 22, 2011 11:12 pm
 

C-USA QBs causing some sleepless nights

Defensive coordinators John Skladany of UCF and Andre Patterson of UTEP might want to get some extra shut eye in the next two weeks. Because once the season starts, they’ll be having their share of sleepless nights.

Conference USA returns a national-best four quarterbacks that threw for at least 3,000 yards last season – East Carolina’s Dominique Davis, Southern Miss’ Austin Davis, Tulsa’s G.J. Kinne and SMU’s Kyle Padron.

UCF and UTEP each have to face those four quarterbacks this fall – and it’s even worse for Patterson’s UTEP club, who also has to play Houston and likely NCAA record holder Case Keenum, who was granted a sixth year of eligibility.

“I think four or five years from now, people will look back and say ‘Wow, all those guys came out of that league,’ ” Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora said.

Nine of C-USA’s 12 schools return their starting quarterbacks. Besides Keenum, Dominique Davis (3,967 yards passing, 37 TDs), Padron (3,828, 31 TDs), Kinne (3,650 yards, 31 TDs) and Austin Davis (3,103, 20 TDs), other returnees include UAB’s Bryan Ellis (2,940 yards, 25 TDs), UCF’s Jeff Godfrey (2,159 yards, 13 TDs) and Tulane’s Ryan Griffin (2,371, 14 TDs).

“The non-BCS schools have to play ‘up’ in non-conference games so you better be doing something a little bit different and take some chances in games with schemes or you’re going to have a tough time winning all four non-conference games,” SMU coach June Jones said. “The quarterbacks are benefiting. They’re spreading the field and doing something different and each team has their own mark.”

C-USA also returns a national-best six quarterbacks who threw 20 or more touchdowns last season.

“They’re all so versatile and they’re also great leaders,” East Carolina coach Ruffin McNeil said. “Which is not easier said than done.”

Even without Keenum last year, C-USA still had seven of the nation’s top 40 quarterbacks in passing yards per game, including four of the top 18.

“It’s an offensive league,” UTEP coach Mike Price said. “But you’re going to win it on defense if you can just slow some people down.”

All of the league’s offensive firepower has taken a huge toll on C-USA defenses. Last year, seven league teams ranked among the nation’s 27 worst defenses in passing yards allowed.

“If you don’t like going against the best [quarterbacks], then you’re not one to be in this conference,” UCF defensive end Darius Nall said.
Posted on: June 20, 2011 1:13 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 1:34 pm
 

Big East received more $ from hoops than BCS

In case you need more evidence that basketball is truly king in the Big East, here’s another example. The league received more money in 2011 in NCAA tournament revenue ($24.9 million) than it did in BCS football revenue ($21.2 million).

The Big East’s $24.9 million received from the NCAA was about $6 million more than the Big 12, the next closest conference. The NCAA basketball revenue is based on number of “tournament units.” For each round a league team advances it receives another unit. Each unit is worth about $240,000.

Even though the Big East earned the most revenue, the Big Ten had the highest per-team average at $1.67 million, followed by the Pac-10 ($1.6 million), Big 12 ($1.575 million), Big East ($1.55 million), ACC ($1.51 million) and SEC ($1.29 million).

Here’s the breakdown of the 2011 distribution of NCAA basketball revenue by conference

1. Big East $24.9 million
2. Big 12 $18.9 million
3. Big Ten $18.4 million
4. ACC $18.2 million
5. Pac-10 $16 million

6. SEC $15.5 million
7. Conference USA $6.9 million
8. Missouri Valley $5 million
(tie). Mountain West $5 million
10. Atlantic 10 $5.7 million

11. Horizon $4.5 million
(tie). West Coast $4.5 million
13. Colonial $3.3 million
14. WAC $2.8 million
15. Sun Belt $2.3 million
16. Southern $2.1 million

17. Big West $1.9 million
(tie). Ivy $1.9 million
(tie). Metro $1.9 million
(tie). Ohio Valley $1.9 million
(tie). Patriot $1.9

22. America East $1.6 million
(tie). Big Sky $1.6 million
(tie). Big South $1.6 million
(tie). MAC $1.6 million
(tie). Northeast $1.6 million
(tie). Southland $1.6 million
(tie). SWAC $1.6 million

29. Atlantic Sun $1.4 million
(tie). MEAC $1.4 million
(tie). Summit $1.4 million


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