Conference Realignment: Which FCS Programs Could Be Next to Upgrade to the FBS?

Appalachian State Is Headed to the Sun Belt With Georgia Southern; Which FCS Schools Could Be Next to Upgrade?

Appalachian State Is Headed to the Sun Belt Conference Along With Georgia Southern; Which FCS Schools Could Be Next to Upgrade?

Schools are upgrading their football programs at a rapid pace. By 2015, 129 full members will be participating in FBS-level competition, up from 120 in 2012. That’s a 7.5-percent increase in just three years. And yet, there’s still plenty of talk about adding more schools to college football’s top tier too. While the ACC’s not jumping to add any of these schools, it’s not out of the question that this shuffling could eventually affect the sport’s top conferences – as top teams from football’s “mid-majors” look to upgrade their competition and move into the “Power Five.”

First, a recap of the recent moves from FCS to FBS:

2009: Western Kentucky (Sun Belt)

2013: South Alabama (Sun Belt), Texas State (Sun Belt), UT-San Antonio (Conference USA), UMass (MAC)

2014: Georgia State (Sun Belt)

2015: Appalachian State (Sun Belt), Charlotte (Conference USA), Georgia Southern (Sun Belt), Old Dominion (Conference USA) (*Appalachian State and Georgia Southern moves just reported today, via SB Nation)

And there’s still more schools that could potentially make the call. But who are they? Well, first a look at the basic eligibility requirements to move up to FBS from FCS (from the NCAA):

  1. Sponsor a minimum of 16 varsity intercollegiate sports, including football, based on the minimum sports sponsorship and scheduling requirements set forth in Bylaw 20. Sponsorship shall include a minimum six sports involving all male teams or mixed teams (males and females), and a minimum of eight varsity intercollegiate teams involving all female teams. Institutions may use up to two emerging sports to satisfy the required eight varsity intercollegiate sports involving all female teams. [Bylaw 20.9.7.1]

  2. Schedule and play at least 60 percent of its football contests against members of Football Bowl Subdivision. Institutions shall schedule and play at least five regular season home contests against Football Bowl Subdivision opponents. [Bylaw 20.9.7.2]

  3. Average at least 15,000 in actual or paid attendance for all home football contests over a rolling two-year period. [Bylaw 20.9.7.3]

  4. Provide an average of at least 90 percent of the permissible maximum number of overall football grants-in-aid per year over a rolling two-year period. [Bylaw 20.9.7.4-(a)]

  5. Annually offer a minimum of 200 athletics grants-in-aid or expend at least four million dollars on grants-in-aid to student-athletes in athletics programs. [Bylaw 20.9.7.4-(b)]

Obviously, the second bullet is taken care of with the commitment to upgrade the program and the final two can easily be attained by just reaching those scholarship numbers. As far as item no. 1 and no. 3 though, the following schools would qualify for an FCS-to-FBS upgrade:

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ACC Football Goat of the Week: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Defense

The Georgia Tech Defense is the ACC Goat of the Week for Week 5

No one enjoys piling on when things go wrong. But nonetheless, we’ve got to call out the ACC players who were counter-productive in helping their teams grab a victory this weekend. On the bright side for them, they can always get off this list next week. And for their sake, let’s hope they do.

ACC Goat of the Week, Week 5: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Defense

Following a strong start to the year against Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech’s defense has devolved into something so putrid and ineffective that D-coordinator Al Groh may end up being subjected to the rare (for college football) mid-season dismissal. Things looked bad when the Wreck allowed 42 to Miami. But 49 points against Middle Tennessee State? As any Georgia Tech fan will tell you, losing a game in that fashion — especially to a Sun Belt team — is downright unacceptable. As a group, the Yellow Jackets looked out-of-sorts defending both the run and pass, and struggled on third down, allowing the Blue Raiders to convert on seven of 11 tries. In total, they let MTSU score 49 points and rack up 510 yards in just 26 minutes of possession. I’m unsure what’s ailing this unit of late, but whatever it is, they’ll need to get it sorted out quickly, or else.

Honorable Mention:

Logan Thomas, QB/Virginia Tech (17/30 passing, 242 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT)

Michael Rocco, QB/Virginia (14/23 passing, 278 yards, 2 TD/3 INT)

Tanner Price, QB/Wake Forest (19/38 passing, 230 yards, 2 TD/3 turnovers)

Mike Glennon, QB/NC State (24/42 passing, 440 yards, 4 TD/4 turnovers)

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Conference Realignment: Mountain West, Conference USA to Merge

The Mountain West and Conference USA Are Forming a Completely New League

As has been suspected for awhile, the thoroughly picked-over Mountain West and Conference USA will be combining forces to form one new league — so legally, it’s not a merger, if for nothing else than to allow for a better seat at the bargaining table with ESPN for television rights. The yet-to-be-named league currently has 16 set to play for football, with 15 for all other sports, since Hawaii‘s a football-only member. Surprisingly, the bigger news out of all this is actually contained within the press release on the announcement. It reads:

“The structure of the new conference will likely include:
· Membership of 18 to 24 universities “

So there’s that. Where are these other schools coming from? Well, given that the statement also said the league would span from Hawaii to the Atlantic seaboard (take that, Marinatto), the options are pretty much limitless from the WAC, Sun Belt and MAC. But would any of the schools in those three conferences really want to trade in their (mostly) regional conference status for an unwieldy, super-duper conference setup? For the ‘Belt, teams are already dealing with financial issues involving the postseason and general travel, so why tack on more? And most of all, if there’s another move (there will be), and any of the more important conferences get raided, there’s no way any school in SuperDuperConference (the SDC) says no to an invite to the current BCS leagues. Continue reading

Hypothetical College Football Playoff (Week 15)

A Playoff Would Still Likely Result in LSU Hoisting Up the National Championship Trophy

For the final time in 2011, we’ll discuss what a 16-team college football playoff would look like. Using the BCS standings, we’ll hand out five at-large berths, to go along with the 11 conference champions, who all receive automatic bids. There are no limits on how many teams from one league can qualify, and conferences may very well end up facing each other in the first round. Teams are seeded in order of BCS ranking, and reseeded after each round.

First Round (winners in italics)

#1 LSU Tigers (SEC champ) v. NR Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (WAC champ)

#2 Alabama Crimson Tide (at-large) v. NR Northern Illinois Huskies (MAC champ)

#3 Oklahoma State Cowboys (Big 12 champ) v. NR Arkansas State Red Wolves (Sun Belt champ) 

#4 Stanford Cardinal (at-large) v. #23 West Virginia Mountaineers (Big East champ)

#5 Oregon Ducks (Pac-12 champ) v. #21 Southern Miss Golden Eagles (C-USA champ)

#6 Arkansas Razorbacks (at-large) v. #18 TCU Horned Frogs (MWC champ)

#7 Boise State Broncos (at-large) v. #15 Clemson Tigers (ACC champ)

#8 Kansas State Wildcats (at-large) v. #10 Wisconsin Badgers (Big Ten champ)

Quarterfinals

#1 LSU Tigers v. #10 Wisconsin Badgers

#2 Alabama Crimson Tide v. #7 Boise State Broncos

#3 Oklahoma State Cowboys v. #6 Arkansas Razorbacks

#4 Stanford Cardinal v. #5 Oregon Ducks

Semifinals

#1 LSU Tigers v. #5 Oregon Ducks

#2 Alabama Crimson Tide v. #3 Oklahoma State Cowboys

National Championship (Rose Bowl)

#1 LSU Tigers over #3 Oklahoma State Cowboys

After a weekend of unexpected results, we saw a very different field for this hypothetical playoff. And yet, the champion remains the same. Some differences of note this week — Oklahoma State ends up in the National Championship Game (as they should be in the real world), mostly chalk moves on throughout this projection and this tournament sorely misses out by not including USC. Just for fun, let’s quickly examine what would happen if they weren’t ineligible, and they held the number-four seed (likely if they’d played and beaten Oregon for the Pac-12 title):

Round 1 Winners: #1 LSU, #2 ‘Bama, #3 OSU, #4 USC, #5 Stanford, #6 Arkansas, #7 Oregon, #10 Wisc.

Round 2 Winners: #1 LSU, #7 Oregon, #3 OSU, #4 USC

Final: LSU over OSU

… Same result, yes. But a much more entertaining way to get there, in my opinion.

Atlantic Coast Convos Top 25 (Week 15)

LSU Finishes the Regular Season as the Unbeaten, Undisputed Number-One Team

Like pretty much every other publication out there, we like to compile our own lists concerning who the “real” top 25 teams in college football are. As always with these sorts of things, the list is completely subjective and was created with our own ideas of what makes a team “worthy” of their respective rank. Feel free to share any of your own thoughts in the comments below.

Atlantic Coast Convos Top 25 (Week 15)

1. LSU Tigers (13-0) (LW: 1)

2. Oklahoma State Cowboys (11-1) (LW: 4)

3. Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1) (LW: 2)

4. Stanford Cardinal (11-1) (LW: 3)

5. Oregon Ducks (11-2) (LW: 8 )

6. USC Trojans (10-2) (LW: 6)

7. Boise State Broncos (11-1) (LW: 7)

8. Arkansas Razorbacks (10-2) (LW: 9)

9. Wisconsin Badgers (11-2) (LW: 15)

10. Kansas State Wildcats (10-2) (LW: 16)

11. South Carolina Gamecocks (10-2) (LW: 12)

12. Virginia Tech Hokies (11-2) (LW: 5)

13. Michigan State Spartans (10-3) (LW: 14)

14. Clemson Tigers (10-3) (LW: 21)

15. Baylor Bears (9-3) (LW: 18)

16. Michigan Wolverines (10-2) (LW: 17)

17. Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles (11-2) (LW: 23)

18. TCU Horned Frogs (10-2) (LW: 19)

19. Houston Cougars (12-1) (LW: 10)

20. Oklahoma Sooners (9-3) (LW: 11)

21. Georgia Bulldogs (10-3) (LW: 13)

22. Nebraska Cornhuskers (9-3) (LW: 20)

23. West Virginia Mountaineers (9-3) (LW: 24)

24. Florida State Seminoles (8-4) (LW: 22)

25. Arkansas State Red Wolves (10-2) (LW: 25)

Dropped out: None

Per conference: SEC (5), Big Ten (4), Big 12 (4), ACC (3), Pac-12 (3), MWC (2), C-USA (2), Big East (1), Sun Belt (1)

Hypothetical College Football Playoff (Week 14)

If LSU Beats Georgia Saturday, There's Little Doubt We're Headed for an All-SEC Title Game

Each week, we’ll discuss what a 16-team college football playoff would look like. Using the BCS standings, we’ll hand out five at-large berths, to go along with the 11 conference champions, who all receive automatic bids (decided by head-to-head tiebreakers if no conference title game here). There are no limits on how many teams from one league can qualify, and conferences may very well end up facing each other in the first round. Teams are seeded in order of BCS ranking, and reseeded after each round.

First Round (winners in italics)

#1 LSU Tigers (SEC champ) v. NR Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (WAC champ)

#2 Alabama Crimson Tide (at-large) v. NR Northern Illinois Huskies (MAC champ)

#3 Oklahoma State Cowboys (Big 12 champ) v. NR Arkansas State Red Wolves (Sun Belt champ) 

#4 Stanford Cardinal (at-large) v. #23 West Virginia Mountaineers (Big East champ)

#5  Virginia Tech Hokies (ACC champ) v. #18 TCU Horned Frogs (MWC champ)

#6 Houston Cougars (C-USA champ) v. #13 Michigan State Spartans (Big Ten champ)

#7 Boise State Broncos (at-large) v. #10 Oklahoma Sooners (at-large)

#8 Arkansas Razorbacks (at-large) v. #9 Oregon Ducks (Pac-12 champ)

Quarterfinals

#1 LSU Tigers v. #13 Michigan State Spartans

#2 Alabama Crimson Tide v. #10 Oklahoma Sooners

#3 Oklahoma State Cowboys v. #9 Oregon Ducks

#4 Stanford Cardinal v. #5 Virginia Tech Hokies

Semifinals

#1 LSU Tigers v. #9 Oregon Ducks

#2 Alabama Crimson Tide v. #4 Stanford Cardinal

National Championship (Rose Bowl)

#1 LSU Tigers over #2 Alabama Crimson Tide

Based on this weekend’s championship games, these rankings are guaranteed to change. With a big win over Oklahoma, OSU could still (potentially) leapfrog Alabama into the number-two spot, and LSU could (but won’t) lose the SEC title game. If Michigan State manages to win the Big Ten title, they could also potentially move into the top 10 of these rankings. Taking a look at the SEC/Pac-12 semifinals, it remains the most likely scenario as they, along with the Cowboys, are the least-flawed teams in this field.

Atlantic Coast Convos Top 25 (Week 14)

If Not For Their Postseason Ban, Could USC Go Even Higher Than Sixth?

Like pretty much every other publication out there, we like to compile our own lists concerning who the “real” top 25 teams in college football are. As always with these sorts of things, the list is completely subjective and was created with our own ideas of what makes a team “worthy” of their respective rank. Feel free to share any of your own thoughts in the comments below.

Atlantic Coast Convos Top 25 (Week 14)

1. LSU Tigers (12-0) (LW: 1)

2. Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1) (LW: 2)

3. Stanford Cardinal (11-1) (LW: 4)

4. Oklahoma State Cowboys (10-1) (LW: 5)

5. Virginia Tech Hokies (11-1) (LW: 6)

6. USC Trojans (10-2) (LW: 8 )

7. Boise State Broncos (10-1) (LW: 7)

8. Oregon Ducks (10-2) (LW: 9)

9. Arkansas Razorbacks (10-2) (LW: 3)

10. Houston Cougars (12-0) (LW: 10)

11. Oklahoma Sooners (9-2) (LW: 11)

12. South Carolina Gamecocks (10-2) (LW: 13)

13. Georgia Bulldogs (10-2) (LW: 15)

14. Michigan State Spartans (10-2) (LW: 14)

15. Wisconsin Badgers (10-2) (LW: 16)

16. Kansas State Wildcats (9-2) (LW: 12)

17. Michigan Wolverines (10-2) (LW: 17)

18. Baylor Bears (8-3) (LW: 19)

19. TCU Horned Frogs (9-2) (LW: 20)

20. Nebraska Cornhuskers (9-3) (LW: 24)

21. Clemson Tigers (9-3) (LW: 18)

22. Florida State Seminoles (8-4) (LW: NR)

23. Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles (10-2) (LW: NR)

24. West Virginia Mountaineers (8-3) (LW: NR)

25. Arkansas State Red Wolves (9-2) (LW: 25)

Dropped out:

Penn State, Notre Dame, Virginia

Per conference: SEC (5), Big Ten (4), Big 12 (4), ACC (3), Pac-12 (3), MWC (2), C-USA (2), Big East (1), Sun Belt (1)