Sunday, July 03, 2005

Loose Changes

This blog was looking around the interweb recently to find a comprehensive listing of the realignment domino effect that recently took place in NCAA Division I-A. There wasn't a site that met this site's satisfaction, so this site took it upon itself to be said spot. Because the majority of the conference movement just took place, and because this site was spoiling for an excuse to write about college basketball, here's all of the changes that have been announced in Division I-A Men's College Basketball conferences (all changes effective 2005 unless otherwise mentioned):

ACC: Added Miami and Virginia Tech in 2004, Adds Boston College in 2005. All raided from the Big East.

Big East: Lost Miami, Virginia Tech, and Boston College (see ACC); Add Cincinnati, DePaul, Louisville, Marquette, and South Florida. All raided from Conference USA.

Atlantic 10: Added Saint Louis and Charlotte from Conference USA.

Mountain West: Added TCU from Conference USA.

Conference USA: Lost Cincinnati, DePaul, Louisville, Marquette, and South Florida (see Big East), Also lost Charlotte and Saint Louis to the Atlantic 10 and Texas Christian to the Mountain West; Add Central Florida (Atlantic Sun), Marshall (MAC), Rice (WAC), Southern Methodist (WAC), Tulsa (WAC), and UTEP (WAC).

MAC: Lost Marshall to Conference USA.

Atlantic Sun: Lost UCF to Conference USA, Georgia State to Colonial Athletic Association, Florida Atlantic and Troy to the Sun Belt. Added East Tennessee State from the Southern Conference, Kennesaw State and North Florida from Division II.

WAC: Lost Rice, SMU, Tulsa, and UTEP to Conference USA. Added Idaho and Utah State from the Big West, as well as New Mexico State from the Sun Belt.

Big West: Lost Utah State and Idaho to the WAC, will add independent UC-Davis in 2007.

Colonial Athletic Association: Added Georgia State from the Atlantic Sun and Northeastern from America East.

Southern: Lost East Tennessee State to the Atlantic Sun.

Sun Belt: Lost New Mexico State to the WAC, Added Florida Atlantic and Troy from the Atlantic Sun, as well as Louisiana-Monroe from the Southland.

Southland: Lost Louisiana-Monroe to the Sun Belt.

America East: Lost Northeastern to the Colonial Athletic.

Big Sky: Will add independent Northern Colorado in 2006.

Remaining conferences that do not have membership changes announced are the Big South, Big Ten, Big XII, Horizon League, Ivy League, Metro Atlantic, MEAC, Mid-Continent, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Pac-10, Patriot League, SEC, SWAC, and West Coast.

Some opinion and analysis: Obviously, the ACC is the immediate scapegoat to be blamed for all of this realignment. That's a fair assessment, because they knocked the first domino. The ACC will clearly gain in this transaction. Their immediate victim, the Big East, actually wound up coming out ahead as far as basketball is concerned, taking most of Conference USA's consistently competitive teams (and South Florida). While Conference USA did get hammered in the movements, they made some solid moves to pick up some decent WAC teams.

This blog would opine that the conference most hurt by the movements is the Atlantic Sun. The A-Sun lost its 2-time defending champion (UCF), as well as 3 strong teams in Georgia State, Troy, and Florida Atlantic. While East Tennessee State is a serviceable replacement (roughly FAU's level), taking on 2 Division II teams hurts. This blog realizes that North Florida and Kennesaw State bring fairly impressive pedigrees from D2, but it's usually a rough transition taking the big jump to D1. This site would not expect either of these D2 graduates to be as competitive as Birmingham Southern was in a recently similar move. This post's a little long, so the blog will wait for another post to predict new Conference RPIs.


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