The regular college football season is over which means its officially time to start talking about conference realignment (not that I ever stopped). This time however, it’s not about P5 conferences adding teams or the Big 12 dying (which will still happen). I recently read a surprisingly interesting article from the Sun Herald out of Biloxi, MS. Author, Patrick Magee, illustrates the dire state of the Conference USA and its inevitable demise. This seemed like an odd time to begin this discussion as the C-USA is currently enjoying a record nine teams in bowl games but nevertheless my innate passion for negativity drew me deeper in.
Although the conference is seeing success on the field for 2017, Magee’s argument revolves around their dismal attendance numbers. Southern Miss attendance dropped from 28,588 last year to 21,711 with a depressing 22,761 in the season opener against SEC opponent Kentucky. Marshall dropped from 24,760 to 22,417 despite improving their record by 4 wins since last year. Even the conference championship game in FAU’s Boca Raton against a competitive UNT only saw a mere 14,258. That’s assuming these numbers weren’t fabricated, which they almost certainly were.
Magee’s proposed solution to this problem was so bold yet obvious that I wanted to flagellate myself like the albino dude from the Da Vince Code for not writing about it first.
Speed up the inevitable and dissolve the C-USA and the Sun Belt to create multiple regionally based conferences. This would hopefully increase attendance by emphasizing close-proximity rivalry games G5 fans would actually be willing to attend. None of these schools have enough fan support to fill up a stadium for a majority of games which means away fans are crucial. Even if this was a P5 conference, there is no way UTEP is getting UAB fans in El Paso from Birmingham, AL or Western Kentucky fans from Bowling Green, KY. Or really from anywhere for that matter because its El Paso but that’s beside the point.
I have always been an outspoken supporter of regionally based conferences and think these wide-spread power conferences only intended for revenue are destined to fail. Rivalries are formed because fans of one team are forced to interact with fans of another team often. I don’t care how much players enjoy beating another team. Rivalries happen because Joe Somebody at the water cooler makes fun of how terrible your team is about two to three times a week for the past four months. Since physically kicking his ass is against the law and you can’t afford to get fired, your team beating the shit out of his team is the most satisfying thing you will enjoy in your boring life for the entire year. You’re not the only one with a Joe Somebody in their life either and because of that an entire fan base is passionate about beating the shit out of the Joe Somebodys. What are the odds of a UNC Charlotte fan encountering an FIU fan at work in Charlotte? Probably as likely as they are to actually care about one another’s team. An App State or Coastal fan in Charlotte on the other hand is probably much more likely. How either of them got jobs is beside the point.
Piggybacking off Magee’s brilliant proposal, as I usually do, I have taken it upon myself to create these regional conferences from the ashes of the C-USA and Sun Belt. I have concocted three conferences with the resemblance of a southern MAC and let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to see that? Although I am pretty set on the conference names, they are open to change.
Southwest VI Trailer Trash Conference
This first proposed conference looks like a trailer park version of the old Southwest conference, or the Federal Region VI for anyone of intelligence but I doubt you will have noticed that. Centered around Texas, the S(VI)TTC would enjoy plenty in-state rivalries and be close enough for out of state fans to travel to a majority of away games.
Spring Break Coastal Conference
When I mentioned the MAC of the South, this is the ultimate comparison. States that are full of schools with students who cheer for the power house programs within the state yet represent more of the state’s actually residence. The only time this mini SEC sees college kids from a different part of the country is spring break.
Now That’s What I Call English Conference
While certain P5 schools from part of this region are known for their intellect throughout the US such as UNC, Duke, UVA, and Georgia Tech, this conference consists of the actual youth in these uneducated states. Can you image trying to understand the shit talking going on between a Coastal and Western Kentucky fan? Or App State and Marshall? This conference would deserve its own reality TV show.