Notre Dame will apparently join the "Super Six" as a member for all sports except football, possibly falling in line with a previous proposal to play selected games with the six in exchange for a rotating bowl spot, when the Irish are not a "BCS" team. The report quoted unnamed sources as targeting Louisville and Cincinnati from Conference USA as immediate additions to get the league to eight, thus retaining its BCS bid in 2005 with the required minimum teams.
In a related story, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported from the CUSA meetings league presidents and athletic directors reaffirmed that no one would be allowed to leave the league without the required one year notice. This means notice must be given by June 30, 2004, with no one allowed out before July 1, 2005-just in time to save the new eight team proposal.
Finally, the San Jose Mercury News stated CUSA announced at the same meetings they may approach Southern Methodist University (SMU) again as a possible member, if the Mustangs will leave the Western Athletic Conference. This is a move they declined a few years back when fellow WAC member Texas Christian University (TCU) bolted for CUSA, but the Commissioner of CUSA is Britton Banowsky who lives in Dallas, Texas, home to both SMU and TCU.
What does all this mean for Herd fans?
A) Do not give up on the new eastern league yet. There have been rumors of perhaps four members being invited to join for football only, placing the other sports in leagues like the Atlantic-10, Colonial, Southern, Atlantic Sun or perhaps even with the basketball Big East. Marshall (who's AD Bob Marcum has excellent ties to the A-10, after a decade at UMass), East Carolina, Toledo, Navy and others have appeared here.
B) CUSA will look for members, and may end up with a completely new look. One would think Marquette, St. Louis, UNC-Charlotte and DePaul might fit in with the basketball Big East, leaving Marshall, UCF, Toledo, Northern Illinois, Miami or even WAC members Tulsa, North Texas and SMU as possibilities.
C) The President of Tulane University still has his non-BCS conference call coming up later in July, of which Dr. Dan Angel of MU will participate. We may see a change in BCS policy coming out of this meeting or alliances will be made by many of its presidents from the round-table discussion.
D) Finally, Marshall and other top MAC schools might just be pro-active, putting together a new league with ECU, N. Texas, TCU, Tulane, Tulsa, SMU, Southern Miss, South Florida or Troy State to give them a better league of the non-BCS teams left after the dust settles on the final ACC selection and the ramifications of it to other BCS and non-BCS leagues.
Let's bring on the "All-American Conference," taking a cue from the Cleveland Browns in the late 1940's. Marshall, like Paul Brown's teams, puts together a league of towns not invited to the big time (then, the NFL; now, the BCS). Dominate the new league (Cleveland won four straight AAFC titles), apply and join the big boys (bringing the cream of the new league with you) and beat the champions of the BCS in your first game (like Cleveland did to Philadelphia in 1950). The last part may be the only improbable part.