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Conference Realignment Expansion Draft: Day 2

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The draft continues as the race for FBS status hinges on being selected.

Florida International v Florida Atlantic Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images

Day 1 is in the books and we now enter Day 2 in this three-part series where we explore what the G5 landscape would look like if it were to start from scratch. But before we get to the draft, let’s go to Twitter for some Day 1 reactions...

The Experts

The Golden Ticket Crowd

Teams who are still waiting at the altar

And now here are the results from Day 2.


Round 5

21. The Mid- South Athletic Conference (Aikman Chamber) selects: Toledo Rockets

Reasoning: I needed a team somewhere near Temple to establish northern and southern divisions and Toledo has been a consistent team over the past few years so I felt they were a good pickup.

22. The Big Least Conference (AJ Grande) selects: Georgia Southern Eagles

Reasoning: Georgia Southern is another school that knows how to win, leading all schools in FCS titles (six) and winning a bowl game in their first year of bowl eligibility. I see them competing well in the BLC for many years.

23. The Southern Coast Conference (Tanner Spearman) selects: Southern Miss Golden Eagles

Reasoning: The Golden Eagles provide another southern team that adds competitive value to this conference. Their longstanding history of success speaks for itself plus they already have standing rivalries with Louisiana Tech and Memphis, so Southern Miss is a no-brainer.

24. The Revolutionary Conference (Joe Serpico) selects: UMass Minutemen

Reasoning: The UConn-UMass rivalry stretches to all sports, which makes them a perfect fit. They have played each other 72 times and already have an agreement in place to renew the rivalry from 2018 to 2021. Like the Army-Navy game, lets add more juice to the game by making it count in the conference standings.

25. The Way Out West Conference (Jared Kalmus) selects: UTSA Roadrunners

Reasoning: After selecting four Mountain West teams (lol) it’s time to expand my footprint into the football Mecca of Texas. I went with my alma mater of UTSA to kick off the Texas expansion for a few reasons. The program is just six years old but is already starting to pull its weight. UTSA won seven FBS games in 2013 and returned to form in 2016 with a six-win bowl season after hiring one of the most promising young coaches in the nation. The program’s momentum is impressive and they’re already competitive in the present. UTSA makes a great building block for the eastern division of the WOWC.

Round 6

26. The Way Out West Conference (Jared Kalmus) selects: North Texas Mean Green

Reasoning: Pretty much the same as UTSA minus the start up narrative. Eventually someone is going to build an impressive, winning program at UNT. The Mean Green have access to the best high school football players in the country and boast a solid G5 on-campus stadium. UNT is building a fun rivalry with UTSA and I’m happy to preserve that in my conference.

27. The Revolutionary Conference (Joe Serpico) selects: Northern Illinois Huskies

Reasoning: After filling out much of the East Division of the conference, we look to the former Mid-American Conference to fill out the west. NIU won the West Division of the MAC six straight seasons from 2010-2015, winning the MAC Championship three times. Sounds like a perfect match.

28. The Southern Coast Conference (Tanner Spearman) selects: UAB Blazers

Reasoning: Could be seen as a bit of a gamble coming off the two year football hiatus, but they also boast a quality basketball program. Although not as storied as Southern Miss-Louisiana Tech or Southern Miss-Memphis, Southern Miss-UAB has also developed into a rivalry, so adding the Blazers keeps another rivalry alive. There could also be something brewing with Louisiana Tech in hoops, so another win there. Rivalries bring excitement and are in my opinion what makes college sports so great. Come on over Blazers!

29. The Big Least Conference (AJ Grande) selects: FAU Owls

Reasoning: That’s right boy and girls, the #LaneTrain is rolling right into the BLC. FAU is a school on the rise, breaking ground on new facilities and bringing in great recruits. Don’t sleep on FAU, they will soon have a winning tradition and I’d like for that to be in the BLC.

30. The Mid- South Athletic Conference (Aikman Chamber) selects: Old Dominion Monarchs

Reasoning: ODU is a team that is growing every year. I like where this team is headed and this is another program that had good success in their days at FCS level when the program was brought back to life. I also can reach the Virginia Beach radio and TV market not to mention expand our program to the Tidewater region.

Round 7

31. The Mid- South Athletic Conference (Aikman Chamber) selects: Wyoming Cowboys

Reasoning: After bringing up NDSU I immediately thought of Wyoming because of a great rivalry matchup potential and because of the storyline of Craig Bohl coaching against the team he won three FCS titles with.

32. The Big Least Conference (AJ Grande) selects: Youngstown State Penguins

Reasoning: Yes, I did in fact take Youngstown State over UCF, fight me. But in all honesty, this is another FCS school that I think could compete at the next level with the coach to match. I also wanted to start to expand my conference farther northern and this seemed like a great way to do it. Plus, why not add another exuberant coach to the BLC.

33. The Southern Coast Conference (Tanner Spearman) selects: UCF Knights

Reasoning: Had I started my conference with USF, I might have taken the Knights sooner, but starting my conference in Houston meant it would take longer for the conference to reach far enough geographically to take a Florida school. They have been rebuilding recently, but have had enough success to make UCF a worthwhile addition to the SCC. Add in the fact that Orlando gives us another major city alongside Houston.

34. The Revolutionary Conference (Joe Serpico) selects: Central Michigan Chippewas

Reasoning: I was hoping to grab Youngstown State here, but AJ beat me to it so I chose another former MAC team to represent the West Division. Some jeered me for selecting CMU over Western Michigan, but the Chippewas have been the more consistent program in the past decade.

35. The Way Out West Conference (Jared Kalmus) selects: UTEP Miners

Reasoning: I want to build a strong Texas presence in my conference and I’m sticking my neck out for UTEP ahead of SMU. The Miners have a fantastic football facility and can make up for their shortcomings on the gridiron with a storied basketball program. While SMU has many institutional advantages over UTEP, as a lifelong Texan I feel that UTEP fans are much more passionate and willing to embrace a winner. The Miners also provide a great pairing with my next pick.

Round 8

36. The Way Out West Conference (Jared Kalmus) selects: New Mexico Lobos

Reasoning: New Mexico helps to fill out the eastern block of the WOWC while providing competitive football and basketball programs. They have stronger fan support than some of their other regional counterparts and bring with them a bowl tie-in to the Albuquerque Bowl.

37. The Revolutionary Conference (Joe Serpico) selects: Marshall Thundering Herd

Reasoning: They are coming off their first losing season in a while as a C-USA member but they’ve had stretches where they’ve been a mid-major power. From 1994-2002 they won seven conference titles as members of the Southern Conference and MAC. Their storied tradition and passionate fan base is on par with some P5 schools. Marshall is a steal at this pick.

38. The Southern Coast Conference (Tanner Spearman) selects: Air Force Falcons

Reasoning: I know Colorado isn’t exactly “southern” or “coastal,” but hear me out. As we reach the later rounds, sometimes you have to take a good team when they are available. Although traditionally associated with western schools through the Mountain West and WAC, the Air Force Academy is relatively closer than some of the other schools from those conferences. They’ve shown themselves to be a strong competitor against some of the best G5 teams, winning three straight against Boise State and historically being the most dominant of the service academies.

39. The Big Least Conference (AJ Grande) selects: Miami (Ohio) RedHawks

Reasoning: Thanks to my Youngstown pick, I was able to branch out and pick up a Miami football team that has a long history of winning. Though Miami is currently struggling, I don’t see them stay down for too long. The program is known as the “Cradle of Coaches” for finding and producing many coaches that have gone on to be extremely successful.

40. The Mid- South Athletic Conference (Aikman Chamber) selects: Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns

Reasoning: Before Appalachian State moved to FBS and Troy saw an emergence, Louisiana-Lafayette was one of the top teams in the Sun Belt with Arkansas State. Since Arkansas St was off the board I went with the Cajuns to add to my south division to add some tradition value. As an old country singer once said “Son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou.”


Conference layout after Day 2

Aikman (MSAC): Appalachian State, Louisiana Lafayette, North Dakota State, Old Dominion, Temple, Toledo, Troy, Wyoming

AJ (BLC): Arkansas State, FAU, Georgia Southern, Miami (OH), Middle Tennessee, USF, Western Kentucky, Youngstown State

Jared (WOWC): Boise State, Colorado State, Fresno State, New Mexico, North Texas, San Diego State, UTEP, UTSA

Joe (RC): Army, Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Marshall, Navy, Northern Illinois, UConn, UMass

Tanner (SCC): Air Force, Houston, Louisiana Tech, Memphis, Southern Miss, Tulsa, UAB, UCF


Analysis

  • UCF not getting picked on the first day was a travesty but kudos to Tanner for getting what will be the best value pick of the draft.
  • Tanner’s conference is shaping up quite well geographically and the teams grouped together are compelling. His conference is shaping up to be the best.
  • Jared’s decision to move more inward rather than drift closer to the Pacific Ocean was a smart one. Grouping the Texas schools with Boise would be really interesting to observe over a long period of time.
  • From a logistics standpoint UTEP would be thrilled to share a conference with universities in the Mountain States and Texas. The Miners are the biggest winners in Day 2.
  • Youngstown State was the second FCS team drafted. Bo Pelini, Lane Kiffin, and Charlie Strong in the same conference is a lot of star power for a G5 conference.
  • Everyone drafted well this round. All of the FBS teams that got drafted in Day 2 (minus UCF) were teams who I thought would merit a Day 2 selection. However, Day 3 is going to be where the tough decisions are made. A lot of programs are going to have to set up shop as an FCS member.