Sly Fox wrote: ↑July 15th, 2021, 3:21 pm First off, welcome to the discussion HERDFAN_1984. I grew up just across the river in Wheelersburg so I have always had a soft spot in my hear for the Herd. I remember going to basketball camp there back in the day in that old gym.Dang Sly Fox, I don’t know who your sources are but the whole Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC just broke today. You hit that nail on the head. Also, Pete Thamel tweeted that Big 12 officials believe Texas will essentially put themselves out there as a free agent next year. Independence for them has been talked about!
A year ago in the heart fo the pandemic lockdowns, there was strong discussion about a breakaway league as you describe. I never heard anything directly out of our AD's office .. but I did hear quite a bit secondarily that Ian as least was looking into the possibility. But the dynamics have changed significantly in the past 12 months. Most significantly the proposed 12-team CFP has changed the dynamics of what is a stable position rather dynamically.
Here is how I see the FBS realignment as it stands today. None of the P5 leagues have any interest whatsoever in expansion. That pretty much locks up the P5 discussion. The only caveats to this equation are if Oklahoma or Texas are on the move. Those are the only two schools that could potentially open up another wave of realignment. The University of Oklahoma which for some reason chooses to go by the initials OU is believed to hold unofficial invitations to both the B1G & SEC. Up until the playoff expanion was announced, my contacts in Norman indicated that a move to one of those leagues had about a 50-50 chance of going down in the next 24 months. But now that a Big XII championship all but assures an automatic bid to the new dance, there is less impetus for the Land Thieves to bolt a league whre they have a relatively easy path to the big paydays. So now the odds that they stay in the Big XII for the foreseeable future have increased significantly.
While Texas would not likely be able to hold their nose long enough to align with the lower academic profiles of the SEC, they also are believed to hold offers from the B1G & SEC as well. A&M might fight to disrupt any SEC attempt to bring them into the fold but the Horns bring too much to the table to be stopped. Once again, I don't see this going down for multiple reasons. Unless Oklahoma bolts and shakes up the equation, the Horns have a relatively easy path to the CFP of their own volition. They also have a 3rd Tier contract with ESPN that puts them on par financially with the current SEC & B1G payouts. The new contracts are expected to go up but then again the same holds true for the Big XII. The old Pac-12 possibilities are no longer under consideration. The B1G may be academic peers of Texas making it possibility. But there really isn't much appetitie among the movers & shakers in Austin to align with the Rust Belt. Sorry to my Northern friends, but that is the truth. That leaves only one other possibility at this stage beyond continued Big XII membership ... Independence with a possible scheduling arrangement like Notre Dame possesses with the ACC. UT is really one of only a couple of schools who could even consder such a path. But I can assure you that the idea has been floated and considered in both Austin & Bristol. And trust me when I state that the Mouse is pulling the strings on the next round of realignment cannot be emphasized enough.
As long as UT & OU stay put, the possibility of any G5 school stepping up is nil. With the Big XII already being given an exemption for a CCG at ten members, there is zero incentive to add Houston or UCF. None whatsoever.
So if that is the case, the same holds true for the AAC. Unless they had folks in Houston, Cincinnati or Orlando getting the call up to P5, they don't need to add anyone. That would just be another mouth to feed coming out of the same pot. Less members means more revenue unless an addition is believed to substantially strengthen contract value for the league. So for all intents and purposes, the AAC door is likely to be closed for years to come.
That leaves the G5 & Indies to figure out its own situation. There have been scores of discussions about the Sun Belt & CUSA splitting based on regional alignments of East & West. Unfortunately nearly all of the more valuable football institutions reside in the Belt. And there is more than a tad bit of bitterness for most Belt schools about how they were raided and discarded by most of the current CUSA lineup. There is even discussion of the Belt potentially stealing the Blazers and/or Golden Eagles from CUSA. Anything is possible.
So that leaves a geographically scattershot CUSA in need of some kind of restructuring. It is tough to find a CUSA school OK with its current situation. The bad news is that a new league would not have access to auto bids for years unless something creative were to go down such as the MEAC scheme mentioned by our Marshall friend. Honestly I believe at this stage the NCAA would probably grant an exemption to a new league based on its position of weakness these days. But that is still undetermined. I actually think the proposed Eastern league would be a nice step for us in everything but football. But is it a big enough step to justify the expense and headaches to make it happen? The jury is still out.
Unless the Horns or Sooners tip over the first domino, I simply don't see enough movement to create major opportunity for us. events could occur in the media rights discussions of the next two years rhat could change those dynamics. But no one has that crystal ball right now.
Then you factor in the most likely realignment on the Division I horizon. And it heavily involves the league we already call home. The ASUN's FBS aspirations may seem farfetched but the league commish is being aggressive in making ti happen. I will not at all be surprised if we don't see Austin Peay and/or Chatty/ETSU combo moving into the ASUN. Suddenly the non-football cachet of the league will start rising even more than it did with EKU bringing their quality hoops to the table. It is even possible that Belmont considers rejoining the league after being left holding the bag in the OVC. There are lots of possibilities that could result in us having a better place to park our olympics while we stay indy in football.