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Sun Belt proposed huge four-conference merger

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09:53 AM ET 07.08 | The path toward the Sun Belt Conference's recently announced realignment was far more expansive and ambitious than first appeared, as revealed by an open records request of MTSU administrative emails and a candid conversation with new league commissioner Karl Benson. The Sun Belt proposed a massive four-conference merger, tried to persuade four current Conference USA members to switch leagues, put a 48-hour deadline on two other prospective schools to join the Sun Belt and even listed 21 schools (including Belmont University) as potential targets in Sun Belt expansion. All these plans unfolded before Benson eventually added Georgia State, Texas State and Texas-Arlington to the Sun Belt membership for 2013.

Tennessean

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Comment #1 has been removed
July 8, 2012  10:15 AM ET

There is already one big conference. It's named "anyone not in the B1G, SEC, 12PAC and Big 12". That is not said to disrespect the ACC or Big East or any other conference. But we all know those four and the golden domers control everything in the big CFB division.

Comment #3 has been removed
Comment #4 has been removed
July 8, 2012  11:35 AM ET
QUOTE(#4):

Had one until the mid 80's and there is a push to get it back on campus in another 5 years. They have always had a good on campus football field that holds a number of events and has been the training location for a number of world class sprinters including Jeremy Wariner, Tyson Gay, Michael Johnson. but UTA has a number of other decent sports like baseball, softball, basketball that needs a home too.

They'll have to find a way to market football to the huge Asian-American student population if they want to fill the stadium. Just sayin ...

Comment #6 has been removed
July 8, 2012  01:02 PM ET

A great idea for the Conference USA teams to join but the rest are smaller schools some of which don't play all of the sports.

July 8, 2012  03:28 PM ET

The 4-team playoff picture looks clear to me. One spot will go to the SEC champ. Two will come from the champions of the other 3 major conferences (B1G, Big 12 & 12 PAC). The last spot will come from the following pool:

SEC 2nd place
Notre Dame (if they don't lose to a B1G or 12 PAC team during the season)
B1G, Big 12 or 12 PAC Champ left out
Big East Champ
ACC Champ
Undefeated champ of all other conferences

It seems this simple to me.

July 8, 2012  08:25 PM ET
QUOTE(#8):

The 4-team playoff picture looks clear to me. One spot will go to the SEC champ. Two will come from the champions of the other 3 major conferences (B1G, Big 12 & 12 PAC). The last spot will come from the following pool:SEC 2nd placeNotre Dame (if they don't lose to a B1G or 12 PAC team during the season)B1G, Big 12 or 12 PAC Champ left outBig East ChampACC ChampUndefeated champ of all other conferencesIt seems this simple to me.

You really don't ever envision a scenario where the Big12, PAC12 or B1G have two teams in the playoff?

July 8, 2012  08:55 PM ET
QUOTE(#8):

The 4-team playoff picture looks clear to me. One spot will go to the SEC champ. Two will come from the champions of the other 3 major conferences (B1G, Big 12 & 12 PAC). The last spot will come from the following pool:SEC 2nd placeNotre Dame (if they don't lose to a B1G or 12 PAC team during the season)B1G, Big 12 or 12 PAC Champ left outBig East ChampACC ChampUndefeated champ of all other conferencesIt seems this simple to me.

This assumes nothing ever changes in college football... and betrays lack of knowledge of the history of the sport. 10 years ago it would have been 2 teams from the ACC and none from the SEC. 20 years ago it would have been 2 teams from the Big 12. Things change over time. The SEC will not remain on top.

July 8, 2012  10:59 PM ET

It's the Sun Belt Conference. Let me be the first to say...WHO CARES..

July 8, 2012  11:21 PM ET
QUOTE(#8):

The 4-team playoff picture looks clear to me. One spot will go to the SEC champ. Two will come from the champions of the other 3 major conferences (B1G, Big 12 & 12 PAC). The last spot will come from the following pool:SEC 2nd placeNotre Dame (if they don't lose to a B1G or 12 PAC team during the season)B1G, Big 12 or 12 PAC Champ left outBig East ChampACC ChampUndefeated champ of all other conferencesIt seems this simple to me.

For now, yes. 5 years from now who knows.

July 8, 2012  11:22 PM ET

Given that the SB makes more than half of the SEC non-conf games that are not I-AA teams I would assume the average SEC fan would care.

July 9, 2012  02:23 AM ET
QUOTE(#10):

This assumes nothing ever changes in college football... and betrays lack of knowledge of the history of the sport.

This betrays an assumption on your part that is ignorant. I've been closely following college football since the days of Howard "Hop-along" Cassidy, who won the Heisman. Things will change, but slowly and that will be the pecking order for the first few years of the 4-team playoff. BTW, the SEC champ has been a national player since the beginning of the BCS and with ESPN backing them there is no reason to believe that will change anytime soon. From the looks of the recruiting trends... definitely not anytime soon.

Joe Mammy: You ask if I ever envision a scenario where the Big12, PAC12 or B1G have two teams in the playoff, sure that is possible but I think it is clear that the SEC #2 has a leg up.

July 9, 2012  03:40 AM ET
QUOTE(#4):

Had one until the mid 80's and there is a push to get it back on campus in another 5 years. They have always had a good on campus football field that holds a number of events and has been the training location for a number of world class sprinters including Jeremy Wariner, Tyson Gay, Michael Johnson. but UTA has a number of other decent sports like baseball, softball, basketball that needs a home too.

UT Arlington just built College Park Center for its sports teams. Now they will turn their focus to better baseball, tennis, and softball facilities. Perhaps after that they may begin to talk about football.

July 9, 2012  04:55 PM ET

Ball State and Moorehead for national champs 2013!

 
July 11, 2012  03:55 PM ET
QUOTE(#11):

It's the Sun Belt Conference. Let me be the first to say...WHO CARES..

Imagine that a gator in Carolina. 752 if you live in one of those cities you would care, but it is obvious you don't. It looks like you and 96 have a lot in common, both from NC, and both of you have made negative and dumb comments.

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