Did you ever notice there is a team in each conference that doesn't seem to fit because of where it is located?
A good case could be made for Hawaii, but before you stick the pitchfork in them, think about this: If not the WAC, then where?
So, let's say the Island folks do the best they can and move on to more reasonable subjects—where schools and leagues could have done better in the conference selection process.
10) Penn State, The Big Ten
The Nittany Lions were a well-known Independent throughout history, right there with Notre Dame, The Army, and The Navy. Penn State was an Independent for 111 years, from 1881 until 1992.
The Big Ten is a Conference of the Midwest, but Penn State is an Eastern team. If they have to be in a Conference at all, the Nittany Lions should be in the Big East.
9) South Carolina, The SEC
South Carolina was a founding member of the ACC in 1953. After beating UNC to win the ACC basketball tournament in 1971, the Gamecocks quit the league and "retired as basketball champion," becoming a Football Independent for over 20 years.
That football run ended when the SEC expanded in 1992 and added Carolina and Arkansas. Both are equally awkward members, but since the Gamecocks have not been as successful as the Razorbacks, the 'Cocks get the call here as "out of place" and should be in the ACC.
8) Iowa State, The Big 12
The Cyclones seem to fit into the Big 12, but with sister institution Iowa in the Big Ten, would it not make more sense to be in the Big Ten?
Not that the Big Ten is wanting them, but the two Iowa schools seem similar to the Oklahoma and Oklahoma State situation, and should be in the same league.
7) South Florida, The Big East
This school is located so far from any other league opponent they have to travel over half of Florida, through Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and into West Virginia for a nearby rival. Ridiculous!
The Bulls should be in the Sun Belt or Conference USA. At least in CUSA they would have Central Florida as a "local" rival.
6) Marshall, Conference USA
Now here is a group that likes to switch partners with regard to conference affiliation. Since Marshall is in West Virginia, one has to wonder if there are any country roads to take them home.
The Thundering Herd has been an Independent on three separate occasions, a member of the Ohio Valley Conference, the MAC on two occasions nearly 30 years apart, a member of the Southern Conference from 1977 to 1996, and is currently a member of the Conference USA.
With league games at El Paso and Dallas, the entire scenario of the Multi-Division CUSA is too confusing to even discuss. Marshall should go back to the MAC.
5) Temple, Mid-American Conference
Since the Owls are located in Philadelphia, what do they have in common with the Mid-American Conference?
Nine of the other 12 MAC schools are located in either Michigan or Ohio. The Owls seem out of their element geography–wise, but when they were in the Big East from 1991 to 2004, they were outclassed. No answer seems appropriate for the Owls.
4) North Texas, The Sun Belt Conference
Another wild and wacky group of cities comprise the Sun Belt. The Mean Green, located between Dallas and Oklahoma, have a long ride to play conference foes Florida International and Florida Atlantic in Miami.
It seems Conference USA would be far more appropriate for North Texas.
3) San Diego State, The Mountain West
This one is really bad. The Mountain West? The Aztecs are located on the Pacific Ocean.
We know what this is all about—media coverage trickling into that LA market.
The WAC, with its other California teams, would be a more reasonable match for the Aztecs.
2) Boston College, The ACC
One of the most astonishingly mismatched schools is Boston College. The nearest league foe? Maryland. In case you don't know, Maryland is a long way from Massachusetts.
Hey, BC can play and win in the ACC—they've proved that. Good academic fit as well. It is just too far away and should really be in the Big East.
1) Louisiana Tech, The WAC
A new low. How anyone can consider the Bulldogs a fit for a league with Hawaii, Fresno State, Boise State, Idaho, Utah State, New Mexico State, Nevada, and San Jose State as the other teams is beyond imagination.
Misery loves company. For some odd reason, the Bulldogs and Hawaii have developed a rivalry that is obvious when the two teams play. No doubt over who is the most inconvenienced by the travel schedule.
La Tech should be in the Sun Belt Conference.
There are reasons for these strange affiliations, some as simple as hard feelings, others because a school needed to join some league and had to take what they could get. Some are based upon expanding media attention to different areas. Several are designed to accent the basketball programs.
Perhaps it makes for a more entertaining afternoon when a person in Albany, Georgia has to tune in to a game involving Boston College, because the result impacts Ga Tech's position in the ACC.
The most logically "put together" conference is the Pac-10. It would require supreme nitpicking to find anything wrong with their well-planned member locations.
Maybe one day we'll see the game played against colleges in neighboring countries, and the "short trip from Texas to Florida" will seem like a walk in the park.
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