It really does seem to be it’s own beast now.
The reports are swirling that offers have been made. Honestly, while the story may be close to what could ultimately be reality — Nebraska, Mizzou, Rutgers and then a last chance offer to ND followed by one more team if they say yes — I don’t believe anything has actually happened yet. It doesn’t pass the smell test — right down to the outlet reporting the story.
So, another round of speculating and dreaming…
Rice and the University of Houston are wondering where they will land. Houston fantasizes on moving up, while Rice seems realistic.
UH and Rice got their fill of change when the Southwest Conference splintered in the 1990s. Rice drifted to the Western Athletic Conference, then Conference USA.
Though UH has been a member of C-USA since 1996, the school has made little secret its desire to move up in the athletic pecking order. Rhoades’ predecessor, Dave Maggard, made public last spring a five-year plan that included moving to a more prestigious conference.
“We’re in Conference USA,” Rhoades said. “It’s a great conference. We’re proud to be members of it. But certainly, you’re always looking to better yourself.”
Well, I’m sure the Mountain West will be calling soon enough.
Sticking with C-USA teams, East Carolina sees itself in the next round of expansion unless things go horribly wrong.
THE BIG EAST FOLDS: This is the absolute worst-case scenario for East Carolina. Should the Big Ten take three or more Big East members and another league, such as the ACC, scoops up a few more, the Pirates would likely find themselves without an AQ option.
Sure, there is the optimistic view that perhaps, should a certain far-south destination freeze over, the ACC might take the Pirates should it get heavily pillaged by the SEC. But you’ll have a hard time convincing me that there is a scenario in which the ACC would consider ECU.
As far as BCS AQ conferences are concerned, it’s Big East or bust for the Pirates. And that’s assuming that the Big East would keep its AQ status, which is hardly a given. Even if it doesn’t, it would clearly be a geographic and competitive step up for the Pirates.
The writer also concedes that the fact that the basketball program remains irrelevant and the less than simple access to the Greenville location hurts them.
Don’t worry, though, a West Virginia columnist thinks ECU is the best choice from C-USA. Back in reality, the first choice from C-USA, UCF is also salivating from an interview with UCF AD Keith Tribble.
OS: Have you heard anything new about potential conference realignment this offseason?
Tribble: I think the volume in terms of who’s going where and what’s going to happen has been turned up very loud. And really, most of us are in a wait and see position. It will impact all conferences in some way depending on how the Big Ten moves.
OS: Would you consider accepting an football-only invitation to an automatic qualifying BCS conference, leaving the other sports to find another conference?
Tribble: I think it’s in our best interest to be all in one conference. We’ve stressed to our student athletes the ability for championships at the highest level. I think to have a separation of a football in one league and all the other sports in another league is something I’m not willing to consider. Now obviously that’s a decision that will be made by [UCF President] Dr. [ John] Hitt and our board, but in my conversations with him in the past it’s something that we wouldn’t want to entertain. We want to be in one conference all the time.
UCF isn’t the only one waiting to see what the Big Something does. The ACC vows to be just as active.
…Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford said here on Monday that his conference will have a plan in place should major conference expansion and realignment alter the college athletics landscape.
About the possibility of major conference realignment, which could possibly affect the ACC, Swofford told the Orlando Sentinel, “I don’t think any conference would be doing its due diligence if you stuck your head in the sand, so to speak. And we will not do that.”
Swofford seems to expect that everything will really start to shake out within the next six months. That fits with nearly everyone else expecting the Big Something to make its expansion plans known well before December.
Meanwhile down in West Virginia, they can only sit on the sidelines and wait as their president essentially admitted.
Q. How do you think the Big 10 expansion efforts will affect the Big East in general and WVU in particular?
A. All indications are that the Big 10 is going to expand. So all of us in major athletic programs are watching very closely to see what happens.
We don’t know whether they will add one team, three teams or five teams. It will depend on how many they will add. So we’re watching very closely.
As you know, some of the other conferences like the SEC and ACC have now said ‘we might expand.’
If it’s one school, that won’t have much of an effect across other conferences. But if it’s multiple schools, then many conferences could be affected from the Big 12 to the Big East to the SEC and the ACC. We simply don’t know.
What I can tell you is that we’re following that very closely. We’ve had a lot of discussions across the country with presidents and athletic directors just to get their feel for if something like five teams get into the Big 10, what would that mean to all of us and how are we going to respond?
I think it’s going to happen maybe more quickly — the Big 10 has said 12 or 18 months. They’re diligently trying to determine which schools might be good academic and athletic additions.
So we’re going to keep our eyes on it closely.
I think the answer is, we are watching and praying. Heck of a time for Ed Pastilong to start his farewell year as WVU athletic director.