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GROUP OF 5 FOOTBALL: A couple of proposals on the future

  While much has been made of college football’s Power 5 Conferences and the realignment ahead, there’s a domino effect that will impact the Group of 5 leagues co petting at the FBS level. 

   The AAC, for example, is reportedly eyeing teams in the Mountain West to fill vacancies created by Central Florida, Cincinnati and Houston heading to the Big12 along with independent BYU. Those programs are moving in the wake of Oklahoma and Texas moving to the SEC.

   All that said, it may be most beneficial for the AAC and MW to merge into the premier conference outside of the power leagues. Perhaps television contracts could be reworked, schedules eased, travel costs reduced (primary divisional play) and excitement increased. At the same time, Conference USA could be restocked (including current independents) and membership in the more geographically aligned MAC and Sun Belt bolstered.

  There are many possible variants including thoughts based on attendance with television market size also considered. If nothing else, it could be a sign of things to come as the G-5 situation is stabilized, if possible.

CURRENT GROUP OF 5 CONFERENCES

Note: Averages are based on a five-year analysisb by College Football News from 2015-19 (before the pandemic). Hawaii and San Diego State are currently building new stadiums. BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati and Houston are joining the Big 12 and are not included.

AAC 

School Stadium (Capacity) Average (rank)

East Carolina Dowdy Ficklen (51,000) 40,361 (57th)

Memphis Liberty Bowl (58,325) 36,295 (61st)

Navy Memorial (35,000) 32,565 (69th)

SMU Gerald J. Ford (32,000) 21,122 (91st)

South Florida Raymond James (44,441) 32,945 (66th)

Temple Lincoln Financial Field (68,532) 30,108 (75th)

Tulane Yulman (30,000) 21,122 (90th)

Tulsa Skelly Field (30,000) 18,812 (103th)

CONFERENCE-USA

School Stadium (Capacity) Average (rank)

Charlotte Richardson (15,314) 13,139 (125th)

Florida Atlantic FAU (29,571) 15,560 (116th)

Florida International Silva (23,500) 14,821 (119th)

Louisiana Tech Aillet (28,109) 21,868 (88th)

Marshall Edwards (38,019) 24,851 (82nd)

Middle Tennessee Floyd (31,000) 16,611 (112th)

North Texas Apogee (30,850) 19,699 (99th)

Old Dominion Ballard (22,480) 20,021 (95th)

Rice Rice (47,000) 19,770 (97th)

Southern Miss Roberts (36,800) 24,597 (84th)

UAB Protective (47,100) 14,501 (121st)

UTEP Sun Bowl (51,500) 21,658 (89th)

UTSA Alamodome (65,000) 24,230 (85th)

Western Kentucky Smith (22,000) 16,381 (113th)

MOUNTAIN WEST

School Stadium (Capacity) Average (rank)

Air Force Falcon (46,693) 28,125 (77th)

Boise State Albertson’s (36,387) 32,916 (67th)

Colorado State Canvas (41,200) 28,131 (76th)

Fresno State Bulldog (41,031) 30,308 (74th)

Hawaii New Aloha (50,000) 25,027 (81st)

New Mexico Dreamstyle (39,224) 20,704 (92nd)

Nevada Mackay (26,000) 19,687 (100th)

San Diego State Aztec (35,000) 33,909 (65th)

San Jose State CEFCU (30,456) 14,852 (118th)

UNLV Allegiant (65,000) 17,541 (107th)

Utah State Maverik (25,513) 19,958 (96th)

Wyoming War Memorial (30,181) 19,638 (101st)

MID-AMERICAN

School Stadium (Capacity) Average (rank)

Akron Infocision (30,000) 17,224 (109th)

Ball State Scheumann (22,500) 9,067 (130th)

Bowling Green Perry (24,000 ) 16,180 (114th)

Buffalo UB (25,013) 17,616 (106th)

Central Michigan Shorts (30,255) 15,146 (117th)

Eastern Michigan Rynearson (30,200) 13,653 (123rd)

Kent State Dix (25,319) 12,661 (126th)

Miami (Ohio) Yager (30,012) 15,884 (115th)

Northern Illinois Huskie (24,000) 12,043 (128th)

Ohio Peden (24,000) 19,729 (98th)

Toledo Glass Bowl (26,248) 20,551 (93rd)

Western Michigan Waldo (30,200) 18,616 (104th)

SUN BELT

School Stadium (Capacity) Average (rank)

Appalachian State Kidd Brewer (30,000) 23,703 (86th)

Arkansas State Centennial Bank (30,406) 22,862 (87th)

Coastal Carolina Brooks (20,000) 10,306 (129th)

Georgia Southern Paulson (25,000) 17,733 (105th)

Georgia State Center Parc CU (24,333) 14,580 (120th)

Louisiana  Cajun Field (41,426) 20,379 (94th)

South Alabama Ladd-Pebbles (38,888) 16,628 (111th)

Texas State Bobcat (30,000) 17,489 (108th)

Troy Veterans Memorial (30,000) 19,254 (102nd)

UL Monroe Malone (27,617) 13,477 (124th)

FBS INDEPENDENTS (not including Notre Dame)

School Stadium (Capacity) Average (rank)

Army Michie Stadium (38,000) 32,104 (70th)

Connecticut Pratt & Whitney (38,066) 24,748 (83rd)

Liberty Williams (25,000) 17,047 (110th)

Massachusetts McGuirk-Alumni (17,000) 12,562 (127th)

New Mexico State Aggie Memorial (30,343) 14,249 (122nd)

   Considering the lack of attendance (compared to the others overall) in the MAC and Sun Belt, why not leave them alone for the most part? The similar circumstances should maintain a competitive balance. That said, there’s plenty of realignment possibilities outside of the P-5 conferences — especially with attendance-based merger decisions between the AAC and MW. A few offerings:

PROPOSAL A

THE AMERICAN

If Boise State and Memphis are not invited to join the Big 12.

East

East Carolina

Louisiana Tech

Memphis

Navy

SMU

South Florida

Temple

Tulane

West

AIr Force

Boise State

Colorado State

Fresno State

Hawaii

New Mexico

San Diego State

Utah State

CONFERENCE USA

East

Army

Connecticut

Florida Atlantic

Florida International

Liberty

Old Dominion

Southern Mississippi

UAB

West

Nevada

New Mexico State

San Jose State

Tulsa

UNLV

UTEP

UTSA

Wyoming

MAC: Expand to 14 teams with the additions of Marshall and Massachusetts.

SUN BELT: Expand to 14 teams with the additions of Charlotte, Middle Tennessee, Rice, and Western Kentucky.

PROPOSAL B

THE AMERICAN

If Boise State and Memphis are invited to join the Big 12.

East

East Carolina

Louisiana Tech

Navy

SMU

South Florida

Southern Miss

Temple

Tulane

West

AIr Force

Colorado State

Fresno State

Hawaii

New Mexico

San Diego State

UNLV

Utah State

CONFERENCE USA

East

Army

Connecticut

Florida Atlantic

Florida International

Liberty

Marshall

Massachusetts

Old Dominion

West

Nevada

New Mexico State

Rice

San Jose State

Tulsa

UTEP

UTSA

Wyoming

MAC: Remain at 12 teams.

SUN BELT: Expand to 14 teams with the additions of Charlotte, Middle Tennessee, UAB and Western Kentucky.

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