Merging away from Power 5

Conference USAToo many teams are paying the costs and still aren’t the boss. Not even close.

Talking about the Group of 5, the non-Power 5 football teams. Many these teams are talented with players who will go on to star at the next level. But those same teams never sniff a CFP national title.

Some schools have said if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Baylor, Louisville and TCU come to mind. Houston is trying hard to get into the Big 12.

Other schools and leagues are thinking of a different strategy: If you can’t beat ’em, leave ’em.

According to a couple of reports, costs of travel and absence of competitive equity might be the reasons Conference USA and the Sun Belt League might consider a merge.

The Biloxi Sun-Herald’s Patrick Magee and The Virginia Pilot’s Harry Minium make some great points on why the two leagues need to swallow their collective pride and come together.

In The Pilot’s story, one unnamed athletic director said, “Conference USA’s current financial model is unsustainable.”

Not a surprise when, as the Sun-Herald story points out, the Florida International baseball team must travel to Beckley, W. Va., to play Marshall in a three-game series. Or when Texas-El Paso’s softball team ends it’s regular season schedule with trip to FIU in May.

A sustainable TV contract also has escaped both leagues. As mentioned in an earlier story on this site, both the Sun Belt and C-USA had among the least-watched games in the FBS.

A merger might be something that would create interest in a sub-super conference that plays within itself. Magee suggests building a 24- or 28-team conference that would be divided into four divisions.

Semifinals?

Why not take it a step further for football? Create a conference tournament with semifinals and final. Add a few more teams and you could expand to quarterfinals declare a national of champion of sorts.

Of course, all they’d have then is the FCS, only with more scholarships to give. But it would still make more money and notoriety than what these conferences are making now.

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