Southern Utah to the WAC?

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bigskyconf
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Strange rumblings out of Whoville. Sounds like nothing is confirmed yet but people down there are strangely silent.

From Jordan Hansen of the Missoulian...

https://missoulian.com/sports/college/b ... ceeab.html
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Ummmmm....

Errrrrrr...

Let's assume there's juice to this. This means the WAC's aim is transparent (Tarleton and Dixie both have football). Does this spearhead the ever-present yet never-triggered concept of regionalizing the Big Sky and WAC? Does Southern Utah really trigger anything?

Furthermore, SUU is at Exit 57 and Dixie is at Exit 8 on I-15. By "travel distances ought to be smaller" standards, this is awesome (if you ignore where Tarleton and UTRGV are located). By "TV runs sports and conferences hate to dilute markets" standards, yikes!

So I'm obviously not rendered completely speechless... but my answers feel like they come in the form of questions. And the questions lead to more questions. Summary: shrug.
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The whispers here died down for a couple months... now Southern Utah is acknowledging that a formal invitation has been presented. Basic rule: a conference issuing a formal invitation knows the answer will be positive.

The kicker to this is other schools rumored to be moving to the WAC.

Abilene Christian
Lamar
Sam Houston State
Stephen F. Austin

If message board fodder is to be believed, these schools want the chance to improve their programs, while the Southland seems to be working to protect the Louisiana schools. The latter schools have been in financial trouble longer than for the pandemic. Curious stuff.

Add another established football school, and the WAC has the requisite minimum number of schools for an FCS autobid. Of course, Dixie State and Tarleton State are onboard, but need to complete the D2-to-D1 promotion process. A few people think Northern Arizona could be involved, but there are other options.
bigskyconf
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Being that we are talking rumors...

What I'm hearing about the "why" is that SUU supported Dixie's move to DI, thinking that the Big Sky would extend the invite. Whether SUU had that as a "for sure" from the conference before Dixie moved up is up for discussion but, of course, the invite never came and Dixie jumped on the WAC. SUU wants to play in the same conference as Dixie, whether it is the Big Sky or the WAC..

I highly doubt NAU would leave almost 50 years of tradition of playing in the Big Sky and go to the WAC. What I'm hearing is that the WAC may go after Northern Colorado.

Interesting twist on the Southland is that Central Arkansas may leave for either the Ohio Valley or the Mo Valley, which would put their football members in a flux.

Flagstaff is easier to get to than Whoville anyway. :D
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I’m hardly saying there were good odds on NAU leaving.

I just have the trembles from reading the notion that someone else “wants” Northern Colorado. Thing is, the person who’s been bringing most of the news about this doesn’t mention Colorado being in “WAC football’s” target area. Of course, it’s probably more likely that the WAC will take what they can get.
bigskyconf
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What I'm trying to figure out is if this WAC expansion is football oriented or basketball oriented. Usually any noise about expansion from a conference comes from those schools who have been long time members, which in the case of the WAC would be NMSU. I just can't see NMSU dropping down to the FCS level for football and SUU does not have the facilities (or the funds) to move up to FBS (nor does Dixie, Tarlton and the Southland teams). If it is more basketball, going after Northern Colorado makes sense, but then why all this talk about a football conference?
bigskyconf
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The WAC may try for a bigger prize. This from Sean Walker, ksl.com and KSL-TV in Salt Lake City.

https://www.ksl.com/article/50063697/so ... ll-revival

To steal one of the Core-4 members of the Big Sky would be huge for the WAC, and would be quite a blow for the Big Sky. There is a history of bad blood between the two, going back to when Cal Poly and UC-Davis took the conference's offer in football, basically causing the WAC to give up on football until now.

Interesting times coming up...
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I haven't see NAU mentioned but Weber State as explained in the referenced article makes tons of sense. Multiple instate rivalries and considerable reduction in travel costs for all sports might outweigh tradition of BSC history. New Mexico State should swallow it's pride and go WAC. I see the BSC splitting into 2 affiliated entities.
DavidKeys
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My lord, if the BSC splits into two "affiliated" divisions, let's hope it goes east/west, not north/south. I, for one, don't relish going to Greeley or Pocatello, and playing the three California schools is better for recruiting.
bigskyconf
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VikNut wrote: December 12th, 2020, 6:30 pm I haven't see NAU mentioned but Weber State as explained in the referenced article makes tons of sense. Multiple instate rivalries and considerable reduction in travel costs for all sports might outweigh tradition of BSC history. New Mexico State should swallow it's pride and go WAC. I see the BSC splitting into 2 affiliated entities.
Talking with some Weber fans, they affiliate themselves more with Montana and Montana State than they do with SUU. Also, they have a long standing Big Sky rival in Idaho State. They think saying no to the WAC would show the casual football fan in the state of Utah that they consider themselves on par with Utah State, Utah and BYU, one notch above SUU, UVU and Dixie.

I wouldn't like to see the WAC take anyone away from the conference, but I can see them taking SUU as a travel partner for Dixie. The other one I could see them taking is Northern Colorado. I think that would benefit both conferences. It would cut one of the outliers in the Big Sky and it would give the WAC another strong basketball program (and a so-so football team).
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bigskyconf wrote: December 9th, 2020, 12:00 pm What I'm trying to figure out is if this WAC expansion is football oriented or basketball oriented. Usually any noise about expansion from a conference comes from those schools who have been long time members, which in the case of the WAC would be NMSU. I just can't see NMSU dropping down to the FCS level for football and SUU does not have the facilities (or the funds) to move up to FBS (nor does Dixie, Tarlton and the Southland teams). If it is more basketball, going after Northern Colorado makes sense, but then why all this talk about a football conference?
Pulling in any breathing school with an FCS football program allows the WAC to reach the minimum 6 established programs to get an automatic tournament bid (instead of the multi-year wait for Dixie and Tarleton to reach D-1 standards), to kick off sooner; to actually be able to lock down the promised Texas schools while they can. The quality of UNC is of secondary importance... not that the WAC wouldn’t mind better basketball competition. At least that’s the hypothesis.

I’ve been dismissing the idea Weber would jump, and reasons stated above do apply. However, Weber does have a basketball history the WAC wouldn’t mind poaching. Would the WAC add sweetener? Eh, I doubt the WAC has the juice, but I shouldn’t dismiss the possibility out of hand.
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The WAC yesterday officially announced Southern Utah and the Texas schools joining July 2022. With those 5 and Dixie and Tarleton, instant FCS conference. As if that weren’t enough, published rumors are that current WAC member Texas-Rio Grande Valley will add football by 2024. Noted that Chicago State has announced they will leave the WAC at the same time.

Back chatter maintains the Texas schools want to drive towards FBS, which would probably please New Mexico State, FWIW.

The other thing of notice; New Mexico State will be in a “western division” instead of the division with Texas schools, probable reason being the WAC is also stating that they are seeking a 14th school within Texas. Between that possibility and the space now made available in the Southland Conference, it’s been noticed that Portland State’s long-ago rival Texas A&M-Kingsville could move up to D-1. Not saying that’s likely, but stay tuned.
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Cal Poly
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Idaho
Idaho State
Montana
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North Dakota
Northern Arizona
Northern Colorado
Portland State
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Southern Utah
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Weber State