A few things to discuss:
— The conference expansion gong show continues. Moving on from its failed merger with the Mountain West, Conference USA is adding five teams: North Texas, FIU, Louisiana Tech, UTSA, and UNC-Charlotte. Old Dominion also reportedly has an invite, but is mulling things over. The Sun Belt added Texas State and Georgia State to make up for its losses. In a move that was long anticipated, San Jose State and Utah State made their way to the Mountain West.
The departure of Louisiana Tech, UTSA, Texas State, SJSU, and Utah State on top of those that have already left means that the WAC is pretty much dead as a football conference. Only Idaho and New Mexico State remain, and the future looks pretty bleak for them as those two might be the first casualties of the haves-have nots divide. Even if they intend to find a way to survive in I-A, how on earth will these guys be able to recruit? Who’s going to want to sign on for four years when they can’t be sure that there will even be a program in four years? Expect a lot of JUCO transfers for the Aggies and Vandals in the near future.
Paul Meyerberg sums it up:
As someone who grew up watching Hawaii and epic BYU-San Diego State shootouts, seeing the WAC go is a sad thing, even if those days were already long gone. There was a lot of innovation in that league, from Air Coryell, to the spread option, to the 3-3-5 defense. Even the modern WAC was fun to watch, with Pat Hill’s take-on-all-comers Fresno State teams, Boise State’s rise to the national spotlight, and Hawaii’s run & shoot for those of us who wanted our college football Saturdays to stretch into Sunday morning. Those programs are still around, but having them all in one crazy package made for a good time. Of course, the Mountain West is basically the nuWAC now, so maybe some sense of the spirit of the WAC will live on for a little while longer, just with a stupider logo.
For those of us who have been stationed in Norfolk or have been long-time residents… ODU MIGHT BE PLAYING FOOTBALL IN C-USA. How bonkers is that?
— Speaking of the Mountain West, they released their hodgepodge national television schedule yesterday. Of note is that Navy will be playing Air Force on CBS again (cool), but at 9:30 a.m. local time (lollerskates). Crazy early start times and midweek games were a driving factor for the MWC in leaving ESPN and starting their own network, but I guess beggars can’t be choosers at this point. CBS Sports Network owns the conference’s rights, but “will sub-license games to NBC Sports Network and ESPN” according to the release. Judging by television appearances, the Mountain West is made up of Boise State and the nine dwarves, with the Broncos getting 10 of their games picked up under this arrangement. The announcement includes games like Boise State at Michigan State and Air Force at Army that aren’t part of the Mountain West package, but rather the respective home teams’ TV deal. Not on the list is Air Force’s game at Michigan on Sept. 8, which will definitely be televised. It might end up on ESPN, although looking at the Big Ten schedule that week there’s a chance it’ll be on the Big Ten Network instead. Teams will be forced to look for local TV coverage for the rest of the conference’s games.
— Don’t forget the women’s lax game vs. Oregon on Saturday, which will be streamed live online for free.