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What could C-USA have done better?
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BePcr07 Offline
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Post: #21
RE: What could C-USA have done better?
(05-09-2022 03:53 PM)quo vadis Wrote:  
(05-09-2022 01:12 PM)Fighting Muskie Wrote:  From the last expansion round to this one C-USA went from a conference who could take from other non-BCS leagues (WAC & SBC) to a league that was raided by one of those very conferences.

We obviously can’t go back and change history but what could C-USA have done differently to better position themselves?

Let’s stick with the guidelines that we can’t mess with the timeline of when C-USA was raided (obviously things would have gone differently had the Big East/AAC did all of their raiding all at once as opposed to over a protracted period of time).

Personally I think they needed to sign a better tv contract and not over-expand to 14.

I think the expansion was done with a 2012 mindset that didn't turn out to have staying power, namely to expand mostly based on "markets" rather than with schools with traditions and histories of good football.

Even more than that though was the same mistake I think the AAC just made - overexpanding. IIRC, CUSA lost 8 schools in 2012-2013 and added a whopping 13 schools. Maybe on the mistaken belief that adding all that fat padding would protect against future raids, when it never does.

As for the TV deal, it was what it was, not sure anyone could have negotiated a better one. There just wasn't much value in the conference. You had an enormous number of mouths to feed, low value mouths.

The issue seems to be a lack of identity and success. "Frankenstein's Monster" is rarely ever successful. The XII is becoming one, if not already, and the ACC has some identity issues. Other than conferences, I don't think there's a successful one out there.
05-09-2022 04:17 PM
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UTEPDallas Offline
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RE: What could C-USA have done better?
(05-09-2022 03:22 PM)Nerdlinger Wrote:  
(05-09-2022 03:21 PM)UTEPDallas Wrote:  
(05-09-2022 02:43 PM)Nerdlinger Wrote:  In terms of what was within their power to do, I think they did pretty well up until 2013. They couldn't have prevented the loss of schools to the Big East in 2005 or to the BE/AAC in 2013-14. In 2005, they restocked as best as they were able to (with the exception of UTEP), but in 2013-14, it's clear in retrospect that their "marketz" approach was inferior to the "quality" approach of the Sun Belt.

Only 5 schools remained in CUSA in 2014 that were present just 2 years earlier: Marshall, Rice, Southern Miss, UAB, UTEP. If they had added, say, Louisiana Tech instead of UTEP in 2005, LT would likely not have been invited by the BE/AAC due to its being in a small market. But this puts the league in a better position when rebuilding in 2013-14. Some of their adds in reality proved to be of decent quality, while some were clunkers.

Here's what, obviously with 20/20 hindsight, I think may be one of the best lineups CUSA could have realistically put together:

East: Appalachian State, Coastal Carolina, FAU, Georgia Southern, Marshall, Western Kentucky
West: Arkansas State, Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Lafayette, Rice, Southern Miss, UAB

There’s nothing C-USA with the great Mike Slive as commissioner could have done to prevent Louisville, Cincinnati and South Florida (add Marquette and DePaul to the list) to leave for a BCS conference and what was about to become the best basketball league in the nation. Ditto years later when the Houston, UCF, SMU and Memphis were invited to what still was at the time an AQ conference. TCU? The MWC offered BYU and Utah and TCU wanted to distance themselves from the former SWC schools.

Did you mean to be responding to my post or someone else's?

Sorry, I misread as you stating the Big East defections could’ve been prevented which even a great commissioner such as Slive (he was the SEC commissioner by then) couldn’t prevent. The problem for C-USA has been a mediocre product on the field and court since 2005. C-USA never sent a representative to the BCS and except for one season (2011) it was nevera in the conversation for a BCS/NY6 Bowl bid. Sure, Memphis basketball was great under Calipari but it still was a one bid league and continues to be one now. That and a bunch of additions in big tv markets where they’re overshadowed by the NFL and P5 schools didn’t help things either. Don’t forget telling ESPN to go f themselves too.
(This post was last modified: 05-09-2022 04:47 PM by UTEPDallas.)
05-09-2022 04:22 PM
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CoachMaclid Offline
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Post: #23
RE: What could C-USA have done better?
The eventual fate of C-USA was set in motion even before the first team left for the Big East...

In 2011, C-USA's media rights were - Tier 1 ESPN, Tier 2 Fox Sports, Tier 3 CBSSN.... and when the 2012 deal came around took their Tier 1 rights to Fox Sports for almost double the money at the time for a 4 year deal. Of course, The Big East would come later that year and take 4 members then and 3 more the year later. C-USA's market strategy was to defend the TV contract, but that really failed. Fox Sports walked away after the deal expired and ESPN showed no interest in paying for those rights. That left CBSSN as the only bidder for Tier 1, and the league has had a dizzying spin of failed Tier 2 solutions - from BeIn Sports to ASN to Stadium to Stadium supported with Facebook subleasing... each deal since 2015 has been worse than the one before.

Mickey Mouse has proved its point here! Once UCF, Houston, and Memphis left, there is no one C-USA could have added that would have kept Fox Sports at the Tier 1 table or turned ESPN around back to the league. The deed was already done. So the answer to the question "What could C-USA have done better?" was never to have left ESPN in the first place prior to the membership changes.

Thinking back, I think C-USA COULD have survived the 2012 raid and maintained some perception of being the spiritual continuation of C-USA if only the initial 4 went and C-USA only added one (La Tech). The second AAC expansion wave would have even left that best case scenario with no geographic center to build around and no schools to add to save the media value.
(This post was last modified: 05-09-2022 04:43 PM by CoachMaclid.)
05-09-2022 04:39 PM
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Porcine Online
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Post: #24
RE: What could C-USA have done better?
The best thing that could have happened for C-USA was for the ACC to grab all the Big East football schools at once.
05-09-2022 05:15 PM
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BigEastMike Offline
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Post: #25
RE: What could C-USA have done better?
The Sun Belt is what CUSA SHOULD be today.
05-09-2022 05:29 PM
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BigEastMike Offline
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Post: #26
RE: What could C-USA have done better?
(05-09-2022 05:15 PM)Porcine Wrote:  The best thing that could have happened for C-USA was for the ACC to grab all the Big East football schools at once.

Nah, even if the ACC took Miami, BC, VT, Cuse and Pitt all at once the BE still would of had the poaching power over CUSA. The same teams plus Memphis and someone else would have been scooped up.
05-09-2022 05:31 PM
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Post: #27
RE: What could C-USA have done better?
(05-09-2022 05:29 PM)BigEastMike Wrote:  The Sun Belt is what CUSA SHOULD be today.

Plus UTEP?
05-09-2022 05:55 PM
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BewareThePhog Offline
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Post: #28
RE: What could C-USA have done better?
I have to agree with the take that conferences that are lower in the proverbial pecking order have few if any options as far as actions that would have prevented them from losing high profile brands.

Dan Beebe and to a lesser extent Bob Bowlsby have taken a lot of crap for the losses sustained by the Big XII, for example. But I don’t really see what they could have done to prevent what happened once hungry neighbors started making overtures. The fundamental power imbalances both within and outside the conference would still have existed, as would the lack of long-term history and common culture.

The Big XII was in no position to poach from a neighbor that would have strengthened its core value. I do think that once uT finally declared their departure that it freed the conference to act more decisively in seeking replacements, and given current circumstances I believe they finally acted quickly and did a good job in adding new members. I think that it should be a fun league moving forward but I also have no illusions that the loss of major brands strengthened the conference.
05-09-2022 06:03 PM
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Post: #29
RE: What could C-USA have done better?
(05-09-2022 05:55 PM)mturn017 Wrote:  
(05-09-2022 05:29 PM)BigEastMike Wrote:  The Sun Belt is what CUSA SHOULD be today.

Plus UTEP?


UTEP is a cornerstone of CUSA. Senior member.
Don't confuse a prolonged down period in success for being a bad member.
Very few programs at the G5 level can offer a venue like the Sun Bowl and a prior National Championship in Men's Basketball.
While a school like Coastal Carolina may be the flavor of the year, you just can't equate what they offer to UTEP.
ODU fans want a regional MAC type setup and that's fine. However, all of those schools would love to have UTEP's attributes; and its arguable they'll ever be in position to replicate them.

Look for UTEP to be a potential breakout candidate in the new alignment. CUSA just got SIGNIFICANTLY better in basketball (UTEP's most prized sport) and now UTEP has a geographical rival in football.

The Sunbelt benefitted greatly by being a smaller conference. CUSA will now have some of those advantages while the new Belt will have to try and work around a much bigger bottom.

CUSA has a much better vibe now that would benefit from a Round Robin structure.

(This post was last modified: 05-09-2022 06:16 PM by TroyTBoy.)
05-09-2022 06:13 PM
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TroyTBoy Offline
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Post: #30
RE: What could C-USA have done better?
This was CUSA's geography prior to the latest realignment.

[Image: 413px-C-USA-USA-states.PNG]

What's funny is CUSA held on to most of these states.

After getting back to 9 teams, CUSA is in a decent position to expand with the right partner that could enhance the identity of the 9.

- SFA for instance would give CUSA another heated rivalry (with SHSU) and bring in another basketball brand that has a solid resume.
(This post was last modified: 05-09-2022 06:32 PM by TroyTBoy.)
05-09-2022 06:31 PM
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Fighting Muskie Offline
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RE: What could C-USA have done better?
I think the critical point was, after losing UCF, SMU, Houston, and Memphis and then calling off the alliance with the MWC, they added 6 to replace 4 and the projected line up would have been:

West: UTEP, UTSA, UNT, Rice, Tulsa, Tulane, LA Tech
East: USM, UAB, Marshall, ECU, ODU, Charlotte, FIU

IMHO, this was an over expansion they didn’t need. I would have left out ODU and Charlotte, despite the risk of alienating ECU and Marshall. ECU was going to turn around and leave soon any way and I would have then replaced ECU, Tulane, and Tulsa with MTSU, FIU, and WKU:

West: UTEP, UTSA, UNT, Rice, LA Tech, USM
East: UAB, MTSU, WKU, Marshall, FAU, and FIU

The tricky thing that I don’t think anyone could have expected ULL, App St, and Coastal to have the great seasons they’ve had recently.
05-09-2022 06:41 PM
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DoubleRSU Offline
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Post: #32
RE: What could C-USA have done better?
(05-09-2022 06:13 PM)TroyTBoy Wrote:  
(05-09-2022 05:55 PM)mturn017 Wrote:  
(05-09-2022 05:29 PM)BigEastMike Wrote:  The Sun Belt is what CUSA SHOULD be today.

Plus UTEP?


UTEP is a cornerstone of CUSA. Senior member.
Don't confuse a prolonged down period in success for being a bad member.
Very few programs at the G5 level can offer a venue like the Sun Bowl and a prior National Championship in Men's Basketball.
While a school like Coastal Carolina may be the flavor of the year, you just can't equate what they offer to UTEP.
ODU fans want a regional MAC type setup and that's fine. However, all of those schools would love to have UTEP's attributes; and its arguable they'll ever be in position to replicate them.

Look for UTEP to be a potential breakout candidate in the new alignment. CUSA just got SIGNIFICANTLY better in basketball (UTEP's most prized sport) and now UTEP has a geographical rival in football.

The Sunbelt benefitted greatly by being a smaller conference. CUSA will now have some of those advantages while the new Belt will have to try and work around a much bigger bottom.

CUSA has a much better vibe now that would benefit from a Round Robin structure.


UTEP’s national title, means about as much as Saint Peter’s elite 8 will in 2 years. It adds nothing to any conference. This goes for any national title from 50 years ago. Not picking on UTEP here. UNLV and their 1990 national title, don’t bolster the MWC any either.

The Sun Bowl is just another stadium, because the actual Sun Bowl game has never been a game UTEP or their conference mates have a place in.

Any non western conference would take CCU over UTEP.
05-09-2022 06:59 PM
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UTEPDallas Offline
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Post: #33
RE: What could C-USA have done better?
(05-09-2022 06:59 PM)DoubleRSU Wrote:  
(05-09-2022 06:13 PM)TroyTBoy Wrote:  
(05-09-2022 05:55 PM)mturn017 Wrote:  
(05-09-2022 05:29 PM)BigEastMike Wrote:  The Sun Belt is what CUSA SHOULD be today.

Plus UTEP?


UTEP is a cornerstone of CUSA. Senior member.
Don't confuse a prolonged down period in success for being a bad member.
Very few programs at the G5 level can offer a venue like the Sun Bowl and a prior National Championship in Men's Basketball.
While a school like Coastal Carolina may be the flavor of the year, you just can't equate what they offer to UTEP.
ODU fans want a regional MAC type setup and that's fine. However, all of those schools would love to have UTEP's attributes; and its arguable they'll ever be in position to replicate them.

Look for UTEP to be a potential breakout candidate in the new alignment. CUSA just got SIGNIFICANTLY better in basketball (UTEP's most prized sport) and now UTEP has a geographical rival in football.

The Sunbelt benefitted greatly by being a smaller conference. CUSA will now have some of those advantages while the new Belt will have to try and work around a much bigger bottom.

CUSA has a much better vibe now that would benefit from a Round Robin structure.


UTEP’s national title, means about as much as Saint Peter’s elite 8 will in 2 years. It adds nothing to any conference. This goes for any national title from 50 years ago. Not picking on UTEP here. UNLV and their 1990 national title, don’t bolster the MWC any either.

The Sun Bowl is just another stadium, because the actual Sun Bowl game has never been a game UTEP or their conference mates have a place in.

Any non western conference would take CCU over UTEP.

UTEP, UNLV and New Mexico should be better than what they are in basketball. I can’t think of a Western equivalent that has fallen as bad as those three.
05-09-2022 07:11 PM
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Porcine Online
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Post: #34
RE: What could C-USA have done better?
(05-09-2022 05:31 PM)BigEastMike Wrote:  
(05-09-2022 05:15 PM)Porcine Wrote:  The best thing that could have happened for C-USA was for the ACC to grab all the Big East football schools at once.

Nah, even if the ACC took Miami, BC, VT, Cuse and Pitt all at once the BE still would of had the poaching power over CUSA. The same teams plus Memphis and someone else would have been scooped up.

That's why I said all of them. Does the BE add football schools if there aren't any left?
(This post was last modified: 05-09-2022 07:12 PM by Porcine.)
05-09-2022 07:11 PM
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quo vadis Offline
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Post: #35
RE: What could C-USA have done better?
(05-09-2022 04:11 PM)Nerdlinger Wrote:  
(05-09-2022 03:53 PM)quo vadis Wrote:  Even more than that though was the same mistake I think the AAC just made - overexpanding. IIRC, CUSA lost 8 schools in 2012-2013 and added a whopping 13 schools. Maybe on the mistaken belief that adding all that fat padding would protect against future raids, when it never does.

They lost 7 schools (ECU, Memphis, Houston, SMU, Tulane, Tulsa, UCF) and added 9 (Charlotte, FAU, FIU, Louisiana Tech, MTSU, North Texas, ODU, UTSA, WKU) to go from 12 total to 14. The 5 carryovers were Marshall, Rice, Southern Miss, UAB, and UTEP.

Thanks for the correction.

I like my original point, though. Adding too many more back to replace those lost, like the AAC just did.

Too many low value mouths crowded around the dinner table.

That's how you get almost all your games on ESPN3, ESPN+, Facebook and Stadium.
05-09-2022 07:11 PM
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b0ndsj0ns Offline
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Post: #36
RE: What could C-USA have done better?
(05-09-2022 06:41 PM)Fighting Muskie Wrote:  I think the critical point was, after losing UCF, SMU, Houston, and Memphis and then calling off the alliance with the MWC, they added 6 to replace 4 and the projected line up would have been:

West: UTEP, UTSA, UNT, Rice, Tulsa, Tulane, LA Tech
East: USM, UAB, Marshall, ECU, ODU, Charlotte, FIU

IMHO, this was an over expansion they didn’t need. I would have left out ODU and Charlotte, despite the risk of alienating ECU and Marshall. ECU was going to turn around and leave soon any way and I would have then replaced ECU, Tulane, and Tulsa with MTSU, FIU, and WKU:

West: UTEP, UTSA, UNT, Rice, LA Tech, USM
East: UAB, MTSU, WKU, Marshall, FAU, and FIU

The tricky thing that I don’t think anyone could have expected ULL, App St, and Coastal to have the great seasons they’ve had recently.

It's easy to just say "who cares about alienating ECU and Marshall since ECU was leaving anyway" with the benefit of hindsight, but trust me as an ECU fan I remember that time very well and it was not an inevitability ECU was getting in the Big East. ECU would have also had a lot of power in the league office at that time and any horse-trading around getting certain candidates would have required accommodating ECU in some way, same as you'd have needed to accommodate USM/Tulane/UAB (the other remaining C-USA 1.0 members). Charlotte was not really ECU's idea, they were an original C-USA 1.0 all-sports member (less football of course) and from everything I heard at the time were told if they ever started football they'd pretty much get back into C-USA when they were "booted" back in the day. Now yes ODU was Terry Holland's pet project, he fought hard to convince ODU to want to move up and to convince C-USA to add them and to go above and beyond 12 members. However, what doomed C-USA had little to do with who they added or the number of schools added and everything to do with leaving ESPN and nuking the bridge on the way out the door. Lord Britton deserves far more blame for the demise of C-USA than Hot Wheels Judy does, really by the time she took over the damage was done. He was smart enough to quit before the revised TV deal was signed, but best believe he knew what that deal was gonna look like when he left.
05-09-2022 07:16 PM
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Post: #37
RE: What could C-USA have done better?
(05-09-2022 04:16 PM)inutech Wrote:  
(05-09-2022 04:01 PM)solohawks Wrote:  If you want to hindsight CUSA's moves I would go back to 2005.
Start by adding La Tech over UTEP
East: ECU, UCF, Marshall, Southern Miss, UAB, Memphis,
West: Tulsa, SMU, Houston, Rice, Tulane, La Tech

This would have been my 2005 CUSA, knowing you needed 12 for the Made for TV Championship game
That CUSA West is a tight footprint while the East is a good "best of the rest" division that is probably the best you could assemble


When the Big East split, you still would have lost Houston, Tulane, Tulsa, SMU, Memphis, ECU, and UCF. However, this is when you focus on football quality and history and take a chance
In the East
App instead of Charlotte
Ga Southern instead of ODU
FAU instead of both FIU and FAU
MTSU and WKU

In the West
UTSA, N Texas, Arkansas St, and Louisiana instead of moving UAB to the west

This would have given you
CUSA East: Marshall, App, Ga Southern, UAB, MTSU, WKU, FAU
CUSA West: UTSA, N Texas, Rice, La Tech, Louisiana, Arkansas St, S Miss

That conglomeration would have grown well and would not have been lapped by the Sunbelt.

I like where you started, but the next need came in two waves (which may have impacted what you could predict or not predict).

Tulane and Tulsa trailed in leaving. So unless you know they're leaving that may change who you're looking at for 2013. And who you add the next year.

Also, while ASU was riding as high as they'd ever get around that time, ULL was not (once you account for the vacated wins). So their Napier era might have been hard to predict. And nobody could have seen that FAU would hit (to the extent that they did - I guess relative to FIU) and FIU wouldn't (I think FIU was invited first and neither had really shown much at that point).

I do think that based on their FCS success, App (for sure) and Georgia Southern (to a lesser extent) could have been predicted as better on-field teams than UNCC or ODU. WKU should have been among the first schools invited as it was instead of later (for Tulsa/Tulane) but markets had been where CUSA was focused since the beginning.

True a lot of this was hindsight

There was nothing the CUSA could have done to keep schools the AAC wanted, so UAB, Charlotte, FAU, UTSA, N Texas and Rice were always going to go leave.

The key question is what could CUSA have done to keep Marshall, ODU, and S Miss

To me that requires having App, the key to the Sunbelt East. If CUSA had added App when they had the chance they don't lose Marshall and ODU.

Keeping S Miss would have been harder as the geography of CUSA West was Texas whereas the geography of Sunbelt West is more gulf coast
05-09-2022 07:40 PM
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Post: #38
RE: What could C-USA have done better?
Agree. Appalachian State was the "fulcrum".
05-09-2022 08:18 PM
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Saint3333 Offline
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Post: #39
RE: What could C-USA have done better?
It would be fun to play out the CUSA/SBC saga with just that one change.

App was critical to Georgia Southern waking up and moving up, CCU's inclusion to the SBC, and the addition of JMU/ODU/Marshall this round. I love the SBC east, App is in the physically in the center of that division and it's not by accident. Don't tell others about Doug Gillin.
05-09-2022 09:00 PM
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RE: What could C-USA have done better?
(05-09-2022 06:59 PM)DoubleRSU Wrote:  
(05-09-2022 06:13 PM)TroyTBoy Wrote:  
(05-09-2022 05:55 PM)mturn017 Wrote:  
(05-09-2022 05:29 PM)BigEastMike Wrote:  The Sun Belt is what CUSA SHOULD be today.

Plus UTEP?


UTEP is a cornerstone of CUSA. Senior member.
Don't confuse a prolonged down period in success for being a bad member.
Very few programs at the G5 level can offer a venue like the Sun Bowl and a prior National Championship in Men's Basketball.
While a school like Coastal Carolina may be the flavor of the year, you just can't equate what they offer to UTEP.
ODU fans want a regional MAC type setup and that's fine. However, all of those schools would love to have UTEP's attributes; and its arguable they'll ever be in position to replicate them.

Look for UTEP to be a potential breakout candidate in the new alignment. CUSA just got SIGNIFICANTLY better in basketball (UTEP's most prized sport) and now UTEP has a geographical rival in football.

The Sunbelt benefitted greatly by being a smaller conference. CUSA will now have some of those advantages while the new Belt will have to try and work around a much bigger bottom.

CUSA has a much better vibe now that would benefit from a Round Robin structure.


UTEP’s national title, means about as much as Saint Peter’s elite 8 will in 2 years. It adds nothing to any conference. This goes for any national title from 50 years ago. Not picking on UTEP here. UNLV and their 1990 national title, don’t bolster the MWC any either.

The Sun Bowl is just another stadium, because the actual Sun Bowl game has never been a game UTEP or their conference mates have a place in.

Any non western conference would take CCU over UTEP.

Disagree there, it's one of things I think of first when I think of the MWC. I still link UNLV to its glorious tradition of it's past and when viewing things like the conference tournament, it's a feather in UNLV and the MWC's cap.

UTEP's title matters but like UH's history until four years ago, it was a case of diminishing returns. But to say it doesn't matter at all is a stretch. We're not talking about Holy Cross here, UTEP is a tradition rich program that draws a few casual fans when they play (in basketball at least).

As for football, UTEP is an eye sore but their venue is very good given the type of program that plays at it. Coastal in five years will be a weak program in an itsy bitsy stadium. Can't say they same for UTEP, which dominates a relatively large market and has a few casual fans.
05-09-2022 09:52 PM
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