Blog Entry

Sun Belt to add new member?

Posted on: April 7, 2011 11:47 am
Edited on: April 7, 2011 12:41 pm
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Posted by Jerry Hinnen 

The 2011 offseason doesn't nearly so expansion-mad as the summer of 2010, but thanks to the Sun Belt, it look like we might have some intrigue after all.  

According to this report in the Miami Herald, the current nine-team conference (and 10-team league once provisional program South Alabama becomes a full FBS member) is on the verge of adding a new, as-yet-unidentified 11th future member (emphasis added): 

The conference has entertained expansion overtures from multiple programs in recent months, and the league has expressed keen interest in at least one of those candidates, The Miami Herald has learned.

Sources close to the situation would not specify which school is atop the list of contenders, but the pool of potential programs is relatively shallow when the conference’s top two criteria are factored in.

The Sun Belt would only consider universities with an established Football Bowl Subdivision program currently aligned with another conference. And the conference would want any new member to fit into its geographical footprint.

“We’re not afraid to expand if there’s someone out there who will add value to the league, but we’re not going to expand just to reach some arbitrary number,” Sun Belt commissioner Wright Waters said. “I think we’ve got to find people who bring value to the conference.”

The report is correct that limiting candidates to current FBS programs within the Sun Belt's geographical footprint doesn't leave room for a whole lot of options. And in fact, barring a surprise defection out of Conference USA, there seems to be just one: Louisiana Tech.

Located hundreds of miles from its closest geographic neighbors, the Shrveport-based school has always been an odd fit in its current home in the WAC. Given the WAC's short straw in the expansion battles and impending plunge to the basement of the FBS (not to mention the possibility of losing its automatic NCAA Tournament berth in men's basketball), Tech's switch to the Sun Belt would make sense from any number of perspectives: better level of competition, substantially reduced travel costs, local rivalries with schools like the SBC's UL-Monroe and Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns, and all the recruiting advantages that those benefits would bring.

Meanwhile, the Sun Belt would be getting a firmly-established FBS program with a long history of producing high-quality teams, NFL players, and upsets of neighboring power schools (not to mention the aforementioned in-state conference rival for its Louisiana programs). Tech to the Sun Belt would appear to be a win-win on all sides.

That's not to say it's a certainty. Several schools in Conference USA also fit within the SBC's geographic footprint if they wanted out of C-USA for whatever reason, and if the league decided that footprint was wider than we'd expect, they could theoretically re-adopt former Sun Belt members New Mexico State or Utah State. And even if the school receiving "keen interest" from the league is Tech, it's far from a done deal.

But in any case, the move would make so much sense for both the Bulldogs and the SBC it would be a surprise if they weren't considering it. And if it's a move that indeed comes to pass, we'll have yet more confirmation that the Belt has decisively left the WAC behind as the FBS's bottom-barrel conference.

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Comments

Since: Sep 15, 2010
Posted on: April 8, 2011 8:32 pm
 

Sun Belt to add new member?


Not really take a look at our depth chart. I kid you not when I said the state of Alabama can't support more than three winning football teams. Alabama recruits are a minority and we get most of our players from north Florida, Georgia, and Missisippi.

http://www.cbssports.com/collegefoo



tball/teams/roster/TROY/troy-trojan



s
Is that so?  According to Troy's website, the 2011 roster (out of 112) breaks out as follows:
AL - 51 (45.54%)
FL - 27 (24.11%)
GA - 20 (17.86%)
MS - 4 (3.57%)
TX - 2 (1.79%)
VA - 2 (1.79%)
AR - 1 (0.89%)
KY - 1 (0.89%)
LA - 1 (0.89%)
MI - 1 (0.89%)
OK - 1 (0.89%)
SC - 1 (0.89%)

I may not have been a math major at Tech, but the last time I checked 27+20+4=51 (same as the total players from AL). My estimate may have been high, but my point is still the same; there is enough recruits in the state of Alabama that would allow all the D-I football programs to have most of its players come from within the state.  Remember the scholarship limit for FBS is 85 and for FCS is 65).



Since: Sep 15, 2010
Posted on: April 8, 2011 8:00 pm
 

Sun Belt to add new member?

Since I seem to have trouble posting a data table on here, I am providing a link to AR-Little Rock's athletic site.  According to the site, the only sports at UALR are baseball, men's basketball, women's basketball, cross country, men's golf, women's golf, soccer, swimming/diving, women's tennis, track & field, & volleyball.



Since: Sep 15, 2010
Posted on: April 8, 2011 7:52 pm
 

Sun Belt to add new member?

My bad I always get the two Arkansas schools mixed up but there are two of them in the sun belt and they both have football teams. The only Sun Belt teams who didn't have teams were Denver and South Alabama which is why we only had ten football members. Now 11 since South has one and Denver is leaving for the WAC.
<h2 style="color: black; background-image: none; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; font-weight: normal; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0.6em; margin-left: 0px; overflow-x: hidden; overflow-y: hidden; padding-top: 0.5em; padding-bottom: 0.17em; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-bottom-style: solid; border-bottom-color: #aaaaaa; width: auto; font-size: 19px; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;">Conference facilities SchoolFootball StadiumCapacityBasketball ArenaCapacityBaseball StadiumCapacityArkansas Little-RockNo football team5,6002,550Arkansas State33,41010,9251,000DenverNo football team7,200No baseball teamFlorida Atlantic*20,4505,0003,000FIU45,0006,0002,000Louisiana-Lafayette31,00011,5503,755Louisiana-Monroe30,4277,0851,800Middle Tennessee State31,00011,5202,600North Texas30,50010,040No baseball teamSouth Alabama***40,64610,0414,500Troy30,0004,0002,000Western Kentucky22,0008,3001,500

Are you sure there are two Arkansas schools in the Sun Belt Conference that play football?  As far as I can tell, Arkansas-Little Rock hasn't had a football program since the late 1940's (maybe early 1950's) when it was known as Little Rock Junior College.  The program disbanded in the 1933 and was revived in 1947 for only a couple seasons.  I can't seem to find anything about the program after winning the 1949 Junior Rose Bowl against Santa Ana Junior College.  I guess being declared the Junior College National Championship meant about as much in 1949 as it does today.



Since: Sep 1, 2008
Posted on: April 8, 2011 5:10 pm
 

Sun Belt to add new member?

If I had to take a guess, then I would say the schools that current have football programs probably have at 65-70% of its players from the state.

Not really take a look at our depth chart. I kid you not when I said the state of Alabama can't support more than three winning football teams. Alabama recruits are a minority and we get most of our players from north Florida, Georgia, and Missisippi.

http://www.cbssports.com/collegefoo

tball/teams/roster/TROY/troy-trojan

s




Since: Sep 1, 2008
Posted on: April 8, 2011 5:08 pm
 

Sun Belt to add new member?

If I had to take a guess, then I would say the schools that current have football programs probably have at 65-70% of its players from the state.

Not really take a look at our depth chart. I kid you not when I said the state of Alabama can't support more than three winning football teams. Alabama recruits are a minority and we get most of our players from north Florida, Georgia, and Missisippi.

http://www.cbssports.com/collegefoo

tball/teams/roster/TROY/troy-trojan

s



Since: Sep 1, 2008
Posted on: April 8, 2011 5:04 pm
 

Sun Belt to add new member?

Arkansas State Red Wolves (not Trojans) is in Jonesboro

My bad I always get the two Arkansas schools mixed up but there are two of them in the sun belt and they both have football teams. The only Sun Belt teams who didn't have teams were Denver and South Alabama which is why we only had ten football members. Now 11 since South has one and Denver is leaving for the WAC.

But I still stand by saying Alabama can not support another D1 program. All of those schools you listed do in fact have programs but check exactly what type of players play for them. Samford has their roster filled with guys who just love the sport not football players looking to win championships or play in the NFL.

The state of Alabama does not produce many five star and only produces maybe about 60 four star players. These guys are always taken by Alabama, Auburn, the rest of the SEC, then ACC teams. Troy has long recruited the third best of the Alabama teams hence the D2 championships and the five straight sun belt titles. But I can't remember the last time I saw a four star players on Troy's roster not saying no one was not underrated because we have produced NFL starters.

But even that the majority of Troy's roster does come from Alabama but that may like 40% we get most of our good players outside of Alabama. And we usually fill starting positions with JUCO players until the few Alabama recruits we do get become juniors and seniors.

South getting a team is going to make things hard for us to move foward if they get good because we fight for the three star recruits in Alabama already with other teams.

That's what I meant by Alabama can't support another D1 team there's enough players to fill a roster but it would cause the other teams to plummet downward. Troy's been getting better every year all around another Alabama school would halt the money coming to the school and the city.



Since: Jul 28, 2009
Posted on: April 8, 2011 1:21 pm
 

Sun Belt to add new member?

I am thinking that they won't exactly be flooded with applications. 



Since: Sep 15, 2010
Posted on: April 8, 2011 12:57 pm
 

Sun Belt to add new member?

I forgot to include Samford in the list of Alabama schools that currently have D-I football (OVC member).



Since: Sep 15, 2010
Posted on: April 8, 2011 12:57 pm
 

Sun Belt to add new member?

I know that N. Alabama has voted to go D-I but, I believe they will be heading to the OVC in FCS.
Yes, you are correct, but I could see North Alabama follow the same path that Troy State (now Troy) did when it transitioned from D-II to D-I; use the OVC as a stepping stone.   




Since: Sep 15, 2010
Posted on: April 8, 2011 12:52 pm
 

Sun Belt to add new member?

Arkansas State little rock has a football team they are the other Trojans. And I concur i could not see Navy joining it wouldnt make any sense not would C usa taking La Tech because its another UAB. A big school with no fans are a chance of having interest because of LSU.  And I doubt we see anymore Alabama schools the state doesnt have enough recruits for another one Troy already has to go to Florida and community colleges.  South Alabama only got a pass because they are a member in all the other sports.




Arkansas State Red Wolves (not Trojans) is in Jonesboro, AR (source:  ) which is a little over 100 miles from Little Rock (Jonesboro is in the northeast corner of the state).  University of Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans does not have a football team (source:  ).  If I had to take a guess, then I would say people from Little Rock probably cheer more for University of Arkansas-Fayetteville Razorbacks (SEC school); not to be confused with University of Arkansas-Monticello Boll Weevils (D-II school) or University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions (D-I SWAC school), then Arkansas State or University of Arkansas-Little Rock.   

I know University of Arkansas-Fayetteville has played football at War Memorial Stadium (located in Little Rock) before.  I am pretty sure the Razorbacks play at least 1 game there every season (2010 played University of Louisiana-Monroe and LSU in Little Rock).  I know the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff-Grambling football game (the Delta Classic) is always played there.  Arkansas State has a football stadium on campus (ASU Stadium), so there is no reason to play a game in Little Rock especially since it doesn't have a large enough fanbase to justify it.  If Arkansas-Little Rock wanted to start a football program then I don't see why they could play there games at War Memorial too.

As far as other schools in Alabama go, North Alabama could easily compete in the Sun Belt (if it didn't have a desire to join the Ohio Valley) because it has already has built a reputation as being a D-II powerhouse.  It may never develop into a program like Tennessee or USC, but it could easily get to the same level as Southern Miss or Troy.  As far as I can tell, Southern Miss and Troy have built quite a reputation as being one of those mid-major schools you hate to see on your schedule because they will always give you a tough game and are known for pulling upsets quite frequently.

As far a recruits go, I am pretty sure there is enough in the state so that schools like Auburn, Alabama, Troy, University of Alabama-Birmingham, Jacksonville State, Alabama A&M, Alabama State, South Alabama, North Alabama, West Alabama (currently D-II), and University of Alabama-Huntsville (if it decided to start a football program) could play D-I (either FBS or FCS) and still have at least 60% of its players from the state.  If I had to take a guess, then I would say the schools that current have football programs probably have at 65-70% of its players from the state.     
;   


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