C-USA and Marshall Would Be A Good Fit

Now that reports have leaked out that the Big East football schools look to break away and form an 8-team conference that includes Cincinnati and Louisville from C-USA for the 2005 season, what will C-USA do? What will Marshall do? Well here is yet another person's opinion on why the conference and the school need each other.

Marshall going to C-USA -if it does not (and right now it appears slim) get an invitation from the Big East- should be a no brainer for Marshall officials. For one, the Herd's run in the MAC has been unprecedented. In fact, this run is a lot like the run the Herd had back in the Southern Conference.

You remember that one, right? Remember when you could look at the schedule and see 9, 10 wins automatically? The toss up would be Appy State or Ga. Southern. Heck, even Furman -a once-hated rival- became an automatic 'W'.

Remember people saying, "Naw, I won't buy season tickets. I'll just wait until they get into the playoffs."? Well, I am starting to see a pattern forming just like it did in the mid '90s.

People are tired, spoiled -whatever you want to call it- of beating the crap out of the likes of Buffalo, Ball State, Eastern Michigan, Central Michigan, Kent etc. The 'Faithful' only get excited when we play Toledo, UCF or Miami. Heck, even the Ohio game is lopsided now.

Well... I am saying that if you join a new league with new teams it will energize your fan base and thus produce more revenue in the short term. More revenue than you would get by staying in the MAC for the long run.

Do you honestly think Buffalo or EMU or CMU are going to get better by leaps and bounds over the next five years? Let your pocket book make the choice: Which home schedule would you buy season tickets for?

Hofstra
Toledo
Kent
Akron
Ohio

OR...
Hofstra
(To be named non-conference 1A team since C-USA will have only 10 teams)
ECU
UAB
So. Miss
Tulane

Six home games, plus you still get to schedule your 'money' game. Are the top teams in C-USA any better than the top teams in the MAC? No. Are the bottom teams in C-USA better than the bottom teams in the MAC? Yes.

Remember, we are thinking short term now: How many season tickets would this type of schedule actually sell in its first three years? I say we go from 14,000 to 17,000 no problem. Throw in home date with a Kansas State or (just play the game, please) WVU and you go to 19-20k. That is a significant revenue increase from 14k season tickets currently.

Who knows what the college football landscape will look like in 5-8 years? Will the Big East go to 10 or 12? Will the ACC go to 12 or 14? Will there be an anti-trust suit against the BCS? Will a school drop football or be kicked out of a league setting off another chain of events.?

Playing in a more nationally-known conference schedule -and yes, C-USA schools are more nationally known- would set us up for the next jump which would be even bigger. Staying in the MAC will not do this.

Remember, it is about the money, and this new conference would bring it in for a while. Plus keep in mind C-USA has many more bowl tie-ins than the MAC and in today's world if you do not go to a bowl your recruiting really suffers since about a billion other schools can say they go to a bowl.

Will C-USA lose some bowls if UC and UL jump ship? Yes, but they will still have more than the MAC has and ever will. I say C-USA keeps the Liberty, New Orleans, GMAC and new Texas bowl. That is C-USA 4, MAC 1 if you're keeping score.

And that brings me to another point: If the BCS does throw the 'have nots' a fifth BCS bowl (rumored to be the Cotton), and they take the highest rated non-BCS schools and match them up, which conference is going to give you more 'juice'? One with teams ranked 116, 112, and 104? Or the one with schools ranked in the mid 40s to mid 70s? Face it: The bottom MAC schools would drag down Marshall's BCS ratings to the point we would never get in this new fifth bowl.

It would be Colorado State or Southern Miss or (egads if we pass on this) UCF! C-USA gets a big prize as well. They get the number one non-BCS football school. They get national attention. The current member schools will sell more tickets, especially at ECU, USF, So. Miss and Tulane (which needs it). Face it: If you're a So. Miss or TCU fan who would you rather see on the football field, Marshall or UC? As for basketball this conference I feel is on par with the MAC as Memphis is a national power, something the MAC does not have. Houston, So. Miss and Tulane once had glory, and could repeat given the right circumstances. Sure, travel budgets would be hard for non-revenue sports, but hey... ECU is making it work somehow, and UC makes it work somehow.

And those two schools' budgets are not that much bigger than Marshall's. Remember... think short term, build it up even more and then knock the door down. This is a move that if it is presented must happen, for our flagship program to keep thriving.

Just one man's opinion on the internet, in a world full of internet opinions on the current conference crisis. Take it for what it's worth...

My next article is going to look at who C-USA invites into a 10-team league. (Our friends in Orlando won't be happy with this one). I invite your responses on the message board here at GoHerd.com.


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