With the pending additions of Louisiana Tech in 2013 and North Texas in 2014, it appeared that Conference USA was back on its feet and would be able to maintain strength as a regional mid-major in the South.
Not so fast.
With this morning’s announcement that both Tulane and East Carolina have accepted bids to become the Big East Conference’s newest members in 2014, the future of Conference USA has become considerably less clear– in fact, it could be argued that crisis mode is not too far from reality.
Let’s take a look at what the recent C-USA defections have done to the short-term future of the conference’s structure:
HOUSTON COUGARS- DEPARTING FOR BIG EAST
SMU MUSTANGS- DEPARTING FOR BIG EAST
TULANE GREEN WAVE- DEPARTING FOR BIG EAST
EAST CAROLINA PIRATES- DEPARTING FOR BIG EAST
CENTRAL FLORIDA GOLDEN KNIGHTS- DEPARTING FOR BIG EAST
LOUISIANA TECH- 2013
NORTH TEXAS- 2014
So when we look at this on the surface, C-USA has a net loss of four teams going into 2013, and a net loss of three going into 2014– this is assuming, obviously, that nothing changes between now and then, which as we’ve come to see in terms of realignment is a silly supposition.
Louisiana Tech has still yet to publish their 2013 football schedule, suggesting that even they don’t know where their next home will be with walls caving in all around them, both with the WAC dissipating and C-USA in turmoil.
For North Texas, the mass departure to the Big East is certainly a sign that all isn’t well in C-USA and could be a huge red flag preventing their addition to the conference in 2014, if at all.
So, if Lousiana Tech and North Texas don’t make the jump, for argument’s sake, and the others all depart for the Big East, C-USA is left with this:
Not exactly a collection of powerhouses that will allow a mid-major that was just barely afloat to continue treading the choppy waters of big-money driven expansion.
I’m not in the C-USA offices this morning in Dallas, but I would imagine you could cut the tension with a knife.
Kris is the host Rant Sports Radio on the Blog Talk Radio Network Wednesday evenings at 8 Central Time.