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Conference Realignment Expansion Draft: Day 1

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The P5 has strong armed G5 conferences to draft 60 teams to compete at FBS level. Let conference realignment expansion begin.

Louisville v Houston Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images

College football as we know it is over. The NCAA and Power 5 conferences have decided to bring the Group of 5 with them into a new world of college sports but only on one condition: Start over. Only 60 G5 programs are allowed to continue as FBS members and the maximum teams per conference is capped at 12. G5 conferences must start from scratch in this edition of realignment and select their members through a draft (BYU was not considered for this exercise).

In this three-part series we explore what the reconfigured G5 landscape will look like by having our staff play the role as the five commissioners of the G5 conferences. Each commish will be tasked with drafting a strong conference with the following taken into consideration: Geographically ideal, the success of non-revenue sports at a given school, facilities, market size, academics, etc.)


Welcome to Day One of the Conference Realignment Draft! Sponsored by the NCAA, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac 12, and SEC.

Before us today we have five commissioners who are ready to choose the best 60 universities that the Group of Five has to offer. In the fate of their hands are countless universities who hope to be a part of this exclusive club.

The draft order is snake-style meaning, if you pick first this round, the next round you will pick last.


Round 1

1. The Mid-South Athletic Conference (Aikman Chamber) selects: Appalachian State Mountaineers

Reasoning: Before I state my reason let’s get this straight. I did not take App just because they are my team. I took them because when you look at the G5 how can you ignore ASU and what they have done since moving up? They have been very competitive, winning over 50% of their games since moving to the Sun Belt. I bring a winning tradition to kick off The MSAC.

2. The Big Least Conference (AJ Grande) selects: The University of South Florida Bulls

Reasoning: Well, I was going to draft Vanderbilt with my first round pick, but I was quickly reminded by my colleagues that they were actually a Power 5 team. But in all honesty, USF is the perfect flagship school for the Big Least Conference. Quinton Flowers is a winner and will become a household name in 2017 while he leads his USF team to a New Year’s Six bowl.

3. The Southern Coast Conference (Tanner Spearman) selects: The Houston Cougars

Reasoning: With USF off the board, I felt the next best option to start a conference around was Houston, who has proven itself to be one of the best programs in the G5. There’s plenty of talent nearby, along with plenty of quality programs to team them up with.

4. The Revolutionary Conference (Joe Serpico) selects: Navy Midshipmen

Reasoning: There is no better university to build the Revolutionary Conference around than the Naval Academy. They have been the best of the academies on the football field and represent everything we would want in a conference.

5. The Way Out West Conference (Jared Kalmus) selects: Boise State Broncos

Reasoning: I wanted to build my conference around Houston but as soon as I drew the last pick in the first round I knew I would have to regroup. Boise provides the success, infrastructure, coaching, and fan support to be the bellwether of my conference. Only downside of this pick for me is that Boise is hard to build around geographically. I’ll do my best to make it work.

Round 2

6. The Way Out West Conference (Jared Kalmus) selects: San Diego State Aztecs

Reasoning: Top 25 programs in both revenue sports, a beautiful destination location, and no NFL competition in a city of 1.4 million? Yes please.

7. The Revolutionary Conference (Joe Serpico) selects: Army West Point Black Knights

Reasoning: I entered the draft with one agenda: make an already great game matter more. The Army-Navy game is already the last game of the regular season. Now, imagine the publicity if a conference championship berth was on the line.

8. The Southern Coast Conference (Tanner Spearman) selects: Louisiana Tech University Bulldogs

Reasoning: Louisiana Tech is headed in the right direction not just in football, but in all of their sports. The football and men’s basketball programs have been at or near the top of C-USA since they joined. They’ve started taking baseball seriously and fielded an NCAA tournament team. The Lady Techster basketball team was historically a national powerhouse, and despite falling on hard times lately, they’ve started an upward trend. Add in the close geography with Houston, and La Tech felt like a great partner with the Cougars.

9. The Big Least Conference (AJ Grande) selects: Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers

Reasoning: They say to keep friends close and your enemies even closer, right? Well what I do know is that the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers know how to win, claiming two straight C-USA championships. That’s exactly what we are looking for here in the BLC. Plus, they also boast a traditionally solid basketball program.

10. The Mid-South Athletic Conference (Aikman Chamber) selects: Temple University Owls

Reasoning: Temple is a program that continues to show improvement and plays a good brand of football and that’s what I like. Not to mention they can be a really good basketball program too. Besides, who does not want a Philly fan base and nice sized market!

Round 3

11. The Mid-South Athletic Conference (Aikman Chamber) selects: Troy University Trojans

Reasoning: The Trojans are a former Sun Belt team with App State and it fits the tradition mold of the MSAC.

12. The Big Least Conference (AJ Grande) selects: Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

Reasoning: There was no doubt in my mind that I had to pick up MTSU for the Big Least Conference, for so many reasons. Obviously, MTSU is my (soon to be) alma mater and has built a great program around Rick Stockstill but let’s take it a step further. How many schools in the 2015 - 2016 school year got a bowl game and sent both their men’s and women’s basketball team to the NCAA Tournament with 20+ wins?

13. The Southern Coast Conference (Tanner Spearman) selects: Memphis University Tigers

Reasoning: Another quality program here. Still relatively close, but not too close. The Tigers field quality teams in both football and basketball and make a strong addition to the Cougars and Bulldogs.

14. The Revolutionary Conference (Joe Serpico) selects: University Cincinnati Bearcats

Reasoning: Temple was my top choice in this round, but with them off the board, I opted for a Cincinnati program that’s had success in the past decade. They also offer a quality basketball team to the conference.

15. The Way Out West Conference (Jared Kalmus) selects: Colorado State Rams

Reasoning: I’m banking on Colorado State’s gorgeous new stadium to propel them to new heights. CSU serves as a perfect geographical bridge between what I’m hoping will become the eastern and western divisions of my conference.

Round 4

16. The Way Out West Conference (Jared Kalmus) selects: Fresno State Bulldogs

Reasoning: Sure I’m probably taking Fresno too soon here but I need to make sure I have a quality California travel partner and rival for SDSU. Fresno State gets the nod for their fan support and tradition. Now to expand my footprint...

17. The Revolutionary Conference (Joe Serpico) selects: UConn Huskies

Reasoning: This pick also had a lot to do with the basketball teams in mind. The Huskies bring a championship pedigree with both programs and fit in our plan to fill the conference with teams throughout the northeast portion of the country.

18. The Southern Coast Conference (Tanner Spearman) selects: Tulsa Golden Hurricane

Reasoning: Geography is important to me, and it helps when you have so many quality teams nearby. Tulsa is another quality addition for both football and basketball. The Golden Hurricane has historically been with Memphis and Houston, and a little bit with Louisiana Tech, although not as much. Tulsa rounds out a strong mid-south core to this conference that I can build on in the coming rounds.

19. The Big Least Conference (AJ Grande) selects: Arkansas State Red Wolves

Reasoning: The Big Least Conference is built all around winning and Arkansas State is just another example of that. They have had a piece of or won the Sun Belt Championship FIVE OUT OF THE LAST SIX YEARS. Talk all you want about this pick, but that stat speaks for itself.

20. The Mid- South Athletic Conference (Aikman Chamber) selects: North Dakota State Bison

Reasoning: The 1st FCS call-up hails from the plains of North Dakota. Five straight national titles from 2011-2015 and their record since 2011 against FBS teams speaks for itself. Their winning tradition fits the mold of the conference.


Day One Summary

Aikman (MSAC): Appalachian State, North Dakota State, Temple, Troy

AJ (BLC): Arkansas State, Middle Tennessee, USF, Western Kentucky

Jared (WOWC): Boise State, Colorado State, Fresno State, San Diego State

Joe (RC): Army, Cincinnati Navy, UConn

Tanner (SCC): Houston, Louisiana Tech, Memphis, Tulsa


Analysis

  • Aikman drafting Appalachian State isn’t a head scratcher but drafting them first overall is. As a result, his conference looks a bit weak compared to everyone else.
  • But given Aikman’s selection of NDSU, the first FCS team drafted into this new FBS, he has a wider range of teams to select from. We’ll see how that works out for him.
  • In an expansion draft Jared is on his way to drafting the Mountain West Conference which I find pretty hilarious.
  • After Day 1 I think it’s fair to say Tanner has the best conference so far.
  • My favorite conference is Joe’s. Navy and Army in the same conference is really cool, and with UConn and Cincy in the fold those programs would definitely be the faces of the conference when it’s basketball season.
  • There is one glaring admission in the first 20 picks. Can you figure out who?