10.29: C-USA ADDS 3 WEAK INDIES

The Athletic has reported yet another FUN AND EXCITING nugget of info late on Thursday night. Conference-USA, which just lost Marshall and Southern Mississippi to the Sun Belt, will make its first re-adjustment by adding three conference-independent schools: New Mexico State, Liberty, and UConn.

New Mexico State and Liberty will be full-member add-ons to C-USA, UConn will be football-only. There have been so many (edit: way too many) changes with this year’s round of conference realignment, and it’s probably time for an update on what we’re looking at now. Here’s a rundown of all of the new-looking conferences, to refresh:

SEC (12 —>14)

  • Original 12 remains in-tact.
  • Texas & Oklahoma join together, will expand league to 14 in 2023

Big XII (10 –> 8 –> 14)

  • League dipped to eight members with Texas and Oklahoma exits.
  • Adds BYU, UCF, Cincinnati, Houston from independent and AAC ranks, expands league to 12 no later than 2025-25

ACC (14)

  • Original 14 remains in-tact.

Big Ten (14)

  • Original 14 remains in-tact.

American (11 –> 8 –> 14)

  • League dipped to eight with Houston, UCF, and Cincinnati exits to Big XII.
  • Added six schools to expand football membership to 14: UAB, FAU, Charlotte, North Texas, Rice, and UTSA.
  • League retains: East Carolina, Memphis, Navy, SMU, South Florida, Temple, Tulane, and Tulsa. (Navy is football only; Wichita State still in American for non-football).

Mountain West (12)

  • The American came calling to Boise State, San Diego State, Air Force, and Colorado State, but the MWC’s base all agreed to stand pat.

C-USA (12 –> 5 –> 8)

  • To add: New Mexico State, Liberty, UConn.
  • Retains: WKU, MTSU, FIU, UTEP, LA Tech.
  • Expected to lose: Marshall.
  • Already lost to Sun Belt: Old Dominion, Southern Mississippi.

Sun Belt (12 –> 14)

  • Southern Mississippi, Old Dominion to join, expands league to 14 in 2023.
  • Expected to add: Marshall, James Madison, and will effectively make the league 16 teams deep.

MAC (12)

  • Original 12 remains in-tact.

Timelines for everything are up in the air, but let’s quickly review some of the early shifts of realignment. There are still 10 FBS conferences but the sizes have changed. The timing of everything is currently against C-USA, which is the only FBS league to have fewer members in its football league than what it started with. The Big Ten and ACC were the only conferences with 14 teams. The SEC started everything by growing its league from 12 to 14, and now three more conferences are at least 14 teams deep (Sun Belt to expand to 16). That’s been made possible by four FBS independents joining conferences and James Madison coming up from the FCS ranks to the Sun Belt (still in the works, but it’s safe to accept it as canon at this point).

This isn’t what college football is supposed to be. Maybe I’m just too much of a simpleton, but I really enjoy watching and talking about football — the sport we’re all actually here for — during football season. I’m appreciative that there’s even a football season going on this year, and being interrupted by breaking news about what’s being decided by Board of Trustees groups from all these other schools that I don’t really care about to talk about “what’s good for us moving forward!” while we’re incapable of treasuring what’s happening in the present makes me continually wonder what any of this is ultimately going to be good for.

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