Thoughts on conference realignment

Published 12:18 am Saturday, December 10, 2011

I just pounded out over 1,200 words on conference realignment (only 800 made the paper) and my chat with Troy AD Steve Dennis. You can read that here.

Dennis didn’t really say much as far as the prospect of any Sun Belt teams making a move and really without knowing the ins and outs of each university (which he said he didn’t) I don’t really think he wanted to speak for anyone other than Troy.

What he did say was basically what will happen, will happen. I think if another conference wanted to talk to Troy they’d listen as any school would. I personally don’t think Troy is a fit for a Conference USA type or any other conference. If there were a Sun Belt wishlist floating around the Conference USA front office, Troy would be near the bottom.

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Schools like North Texas and even Louisiana-Lafayette have more to offer than Troy. As I said in the article, attendance is just one factor but it is a big one. Butts in the seat matter and Troy fans aren’t doing a very good job of putting Troy at the top of that list (Sorry guys, calling it like I see it). According to Wikipedia (Yes, Wikipedia), Troy was eighth in 2011 out of the nine member schools in % of capacity. EIGHTH! That kind of attendance doesn’t cut it when trying to sell yourself to another conference, a bowl committee, a recruit, or a sponsor. The Trojans were seventh in total attendance and in average attendance (ahead of only ULM and WKU).

Back on realignment, Dennis did say that as far as the shifting being finished it’s “anyone’s guess”. I think it’s safe to say that Conference USA will be making a move to replace UCF, Houston, and SMU in the near future and that may very well involve Sun Belt schools but it’s very unlikely one of them will be Troy.

Dennis said that without knowing the financials he couldn’t speculate on another team’s move like Boise State (kind of a political answer but I understand). He did say that he is confident that Sun Belt commissioner Wright Waters’ replacement will be outstanding and thinks the conference as a whole is “moving in the right direction”.

We shall see where all this takes us. I came away from the conversation knowing that he just really didn’t want to speak publicly about it, which is fine. He had the right beat-around-the-bush answer though.

“We are working to be the best we can be at Troy and make the Sun Belt the best conference it can be.”

In that regard, if every pulls their weight in that direction good things will come for Troy.