So Dukie, based on your comments in the second paragraph, as a visting fan you would rather travel to Bangor, Maine and Durham New Hampshire, than say - Miami Florida or San Antonio Texas.I, for one, hate to see VCU, GMU and ODU leave the conference. VCU & GMU to the A10 does make more sense to me than ODU to CUSA. ECU, Marshall and So. Miss are attractive conference mates but there is a big drop off with the other schools two of which have yet to play a down. ODU is the cream of the new conference partners crop should they go to the CUSA. They do more for CUSA than CUSA does for them.
I realize Maine and UNH may not get the ODU faithful's juices flowing but are UT SanAn, Fla Int and North Texas any better? CUSA has been greatly watered down with the departures of Memphis, SMU, Houston and UCF. The basketball conference also was not much better than the CAA last year and is losing its marquee program to the Big East in that sport too. If JMU, App & UD were being included in the CUSA expansion, then that makes sense for all involved. The eastern division would been an excellent regional conference in itself.
Call me crazy but I think the CAA has a great opportunity to better position itself and make some advances in the conference superiority battle. The A10 has lost one of its best basketball programs. CUSA is losing their best schools. The CAA becomes more competitive with these conferences if it can keep its best programs in place.
Add App St. for football to replace GSU who really did very little for the conference during their tenure here. Football can continue to dominate FCS while keeping expenses manageable. Unless there is a change in the 1A landscape, I just don't see CUSA, Sunbelt and MAC being money makers for football. CUSA especially because of the travel costs for all sports. There is only so much room for TV money and the power conferences are taking most of it.
On the subject of VCU & GMU to the A10. No doubt adding Butler, VCU and GMU makes the A10 more attractive but without VCU & GMU, the A10 is worse with the departure of Temple. Butler does not equal Temple. Yes, Butler had a nice two year run but that ended and now they have to prove they can sustain success like Temple has for the last two decades.
VCU has made the NCAA tourney four out of the last five years or 80% of the time. How does going to the A10 improve their odds of making the tourney? The gap between the CAA and A10 has shrunk considerably over the last two decades. The CAA was stronger in 2010-11 than the A10. With growing state funded universities, the CAA has far more upside than the A10 whose membership is mostly small private schools lost in urban cities. JMU and Towson are both building new arenas. UD, ODU & VCU all built new arenas within the last ten years. NU & UNCW did million dollar renovations to theirs. I don't hear about A10 schools improving facilities. Why is that? Its because most of the conference is in poor urban areas with very little fan following.
People keep talking about all the A10 bids to the tourney. Well one of those bids went to Temple almost every year not the A10. I believe schools win bids not conferences. Temple goes to the Big East and so does its bid. Charlotte chose the A10 when they were booted out of CUSA because of the multiple bids. Well here we are years later and they have yet to make it to the tourney as an A10 member.
My main point in this post is that VCU, GMU and ODU do more for the conferences they will be joining than those conferences will do for them. The potential of the CAA long term is far greater than CUSA and the A10. Most of the schools in those conferences are in large markets with professional teams whose potential fan base could care less about mid major college basketball/football. There will be limited regional rivalries and limited fan interest from your new conference partners. VCU, GMU and ODU already sell out their arenas and stadiums. These schools have large energized fan bases. How does that get better by moving to the A10 and CUSA? Attendance for UR dropped significantly when they went to the A10. The CAA is not perfect but we all have to admit it has come a long way in 26 years. Far enough that other conferences are trying to convince our best programs that they should leave.
There are risks to moving folks. If these schools go, I will wish them the best and hope to continue to play them in our out of conference schedule. JMU will be just fine just like we were after UR, ECU and American left the CAA in 2000. I just hate to see these schools leave the CAA when the conference is finally getting the accolades it deserves.
I'll take the Later ....