Just got off the phone with Southland Conference Commissioner Tom Burnett. Here’s a little bit of what Burnett had to say.
On the potential of Texas State and Texas-San Antonio joining the WAC: “We’ve long understood these two institutions have had this aspiration and while you can have an aspiration without an answer, so to speak, they have both found themselves in a position this opportunity has kind of fallen out of the sky into their laps. Earlier in the summer, none of us thought it would happen. What we learned is that conference membership can change on a dime. It can look tranquil and peaceful one day and turbulent on the next. The WAC has found itself on survival mode. It’s not an envious position to be in and if these two schools help the WAC exist in the future, for a lot of reasons, it’s a forgone conclusion that it will happen. Maybe a lot sooner than a lot of people in our conference thought it would happen.”
On his discussions with Texas State and WAC Commissioner Karl Benson: “The lines of communication between me, Texas State and Karl Benson have always been open. I’m talking with each on a daily basis. I think we’re all going about it the right way. It’s not a secretive effort here. I know what the WAC has to do to keep itself in existence and Karl has been very honest with me about what he wants to do.”
On if he feels Texas State and UTSA would jump at the opportunity to join the WAC: “I’m not a betting man, but if there’s another opportunity out there for them, I don’t know what is. These are two schools that are sitting on a go waiting for the FBS opportunity. They’ve been ready to sign up yesterday.”
On where the Southland Conference goes without Texas State and UTSA: “There are a ton of options, one of which is to stay where we are with a 10-member conference with eight playing football. Losing these two members doesn’t put our conference into survival mode. It puts us into a mode where we can enhance our conference any number of ways, whether it be expansion or staying put. We don’t ever want to lose anybody, but we’ve had a lot of membership change in our history and always adapt to it.”
Part 1 A. Current WAC members: 6 B. FB-playing members Benson wants to join his conference: 2 Part 2 C. ADs that presented: 5 (Texas State, Texas-San Antonio, Denver, Montana and Seattle) D. Schools with or will have football: 3 (Texas State, Texas-San Antonio and Montana) E. Schools yet to complete a feasibility study: 1 (Montana) F. Schools that are FBS ready with or soon to have football: 2 (Texas State and Texas-San Antonio)
Western Athletic Conference Commissioner Karl Benson spoke with the media Wednesday afternoon to discuss Tuesday’s meetings held in Dallas.
According to Benson, five schools presented their case to the WAC — Texas State, Texas-San Antonio, University of Denver, University of Montana and the University of Seattle.
Benson said, “We were impressed with all five and it gave those schools an opportunity to share their plans for the future.”
Out of the five, only four have made it clear they want to join the WAC — Texas State, Texas-San Antonio, Denver and Seattle. Montana is still in the process of completing a feasibility study.
In relation to Texas State and Texas-San Antonio, Benson said they “…have made it very clear that they want to move from the FCS to the FBS and made very, very strong presentations…”
Benson also said what made Texas State’s presentation great was that the school has a strong funding model and master athletic facility plan in place.
Finally, Benson has stated on a number of occasions that he wants to get the WAC to have at least eight football-playing members. The WAC has six right now and out of the five schools that made presentations Tuesday, three field football programs (Montana, Texas State and Texas-San Antonio).
1. James Madison 2. Appalachian State 3. Villanova 4. Jacksonville State 5. Delaware 6. Stephen F. Austin 7. Massachusetts 8. South Carolina State 9. William & Mary 10. Montana State 11. Richmond 12. New Hampshire 13. North Dakota State 14. Northern Iowa 15. Eastern Washington 16. Cal Poly 17. Texas State 18. Furman 19. Georgia Southern 20. Youngstown State 21. Illinois State 22. Central Arkansas 23. South Dakota 24. Montana 25. Southern Illinois
Mayforth’s Take: James Madison has put together quite the season so far and I finally decided to give the Dukes the respect they deserve. Villanova, who was my No. 1 last week, dropped to No. 3 this week. While Pennsylvania always plays the Wildcats tough, I wanted to see ‘Nova assert itself a bit more. Delaware jumped Stephen F. Austin because I looked at the overall body of work and the Blue Hens have victories against two then-Top 10 teams (South Dakota State and Richmond) by a combined 44 points while the Lumberjacks have only played Northern Iowa. Otherwise I don’t see many points for contention other than Cal Poly ranked ahead of Texas State. While the Bobcats did beat the Mustangs two weeks ago, Cal Poly owns wins against then-No. 1 Montana and then-ranked McNeese State (on the road) while Texas State’s quality FCS wins are against the Mustangs and unranked Southern Utah (both at home).
Had to move a lot of teams around in the Top 25 with some of the results. Here is the Top 5…
1. James Madison — The Dukes deserve recognition 2. App State — A powerhouse in the FCS 3. ‘Nova — Wasn’t impressed with them this week 4. Jacksonville State — The Gamecocks aren’t slowing down 5. Delaware — Stringing together solid win after win
Our take: While QB Tyler Arndt was deadly with his accuracy, the secondary locked down an All-American wide receiver in Tysson Poots and forced Southern Utah QB Brad Sorensen to look elsewhere. Poots went from an X Factor to a No Factor.