The big news this week was Conference USA’s letter to the AAC about splitting up the leagues and realigning these regionally. CR likes this, as we have written previously. This is a league of convenience, not of strategic planning. This latest and greatest effort is about salvaging and not necessarily foresight. Read Ross Dellenger’s article, and the letter here.
This last one is a Hail Mary. Also does not look like it will be received well.
Big twitter waves 1 were made this week when we tweeted the D1.Ticker’s Athletic Department Power Rankings. Read the whole thing here. In our estimation, this is simply just a job rating. North Texas and Charlotte are in two of the better places to live in the conference and it is not surprising they got high marks. It reads like “I’m an AD, and I sure would like to live and work there”. I would not read too much into this.
Rice AD Joe Karlgaard was candid with the Rice Thresher.
My favorite non-CR college basketball preview is at three-man-weave, which always is an engaging read. They always are thorough, know their stuff, and are an easy read.
Press Quotes that caught my eye:
We had an opportunity to take two days this week and really take a hard look at ourselves in a self-scout as far as watching the whole season from a field position standpoint, down and distance, formation tendencies, what we do out of what formations. We really took a hard look at ourselves in getting ready for the second half of the season. It was a productive week where we really had an opportunity to evaluate ourselves. Then, we spent one day getting ahead on UTEP and one day getting ahead on UTSA. Then, we had the entire staff out recruiting on FridayTech head coach Skip Holtz
. We need to find a way, the coaches to the players to the athletic trainers, anybody involved in the program we’ve got to find a way to close that one out. Looking forward to getting back on the practice field tomorrow and preparing for a very good Western Kentucky team whose also hungry for a win. Should be a good matchup.ODU head coach Rickey Rahne
There’s two things. It’s a conference game and those things matter. The ability to play every one and to try to go 1-0 every time you get to play one. Also, the fact that it is in the state. A lot of our kids played with those guys or against those guys in high school and have known them for years. So that was just a big one. I can’t honestly remember the order that they got canceled. It just seemed like every time one got canceled, the rug was swept out from under us. That was tough.Rice head coach Mike Bloomgren
He’s the best one I’ve ever been around – and that includes Sam Darnold. I love everything about Bailey Zappe. You can check every box: from his competitiveness, to his demeanor, to how he operates, to his unselfishness, to his leadership, to his accuracy. He’s the best I’ve been around, and I don’t mind saying that. I love Sam Darnold, and he’s going to have a great career in the National Football League. If Sam Darnold were sitting here and he watched Bailey Zappe he would say, ‘I wish I played like Bailey Zappe in college.’ I think he’s a top-five quarterback in the country. I think the nation needs to know about him, and I think by the end of the season they’re all going to recognize that he’s one of the top five quarterbacks in the countryWKU head coach Tyson Helton
More twitter stuff. This was interesting:
We have written in this space and in the thread previously that the league does not have much support from its programs. In my time running CUSA Report I have seen the overwhelming lack of attention and enthusiasm paid to successful programs. I was shocked to see a half-empty stadium for MTSU hosting the title game.
When BEIN Sports was taking a shot broadening the sports-rights landscape and paid a little money for CUSA rights, the overwhelming twitter response was one of complaint. It was as if people did not realize that BEIN was hoping we would sign up for their service to watch their teams on the channel. Instead, no one watched.
When people complain about the TV deal that Commissioner Judy MacLeod cannot get, they blame her as if she simply doesn’t know the right way to ask ESPN for $1 billion in fees. ESPN, CBSSN, et al all know the numbers that CUSA draws. They know that CUSA league teams do not draw.
Seeing David Neal lay it out anecdotally is interesting. I am sure the situation is less extreme at other programs, but very similar. While yes, North Texas was selling out the stadium when they were good, they do not draw when bad. MTSU had that empty stadium. Every other program is having trouble getting fans in seats nationwide, but that problem is exacerbated when attendance has always been a problem in CUSA.
UTEP is 5-1 and I have seen twitter fans begging for El Pasoans to show up and support.
It is a shame, as there is some good football and talented players in this league. I will not lie however, and say it is a more compelling league than the SEC, with its huge following and cultural cache.
Three-Man-Weave always does a great job previewing CUSA CBB. My initial thoughts on the league are that Tech and UAB will really battle for the top of the league. I cannot wait.
Which means no waves at all↩