The WAC and Conference USA are developing a scheduling alliance in men’s and women’s basketball to increase the amount of quality games for the conferences.
The WAC and C-USA are developing a scheduling alliance for the next couple of years for both men’s and women’s basketball, source told @Stadium. The matchups will be success-based with the goal being to increase quality non-conference scheduling opportunities for both leagues.
Naturally, with the WAC-ASun alliance working to make the collective jump to the FBS, I wanted to investigate how a potential alliance could work in football and such an alliance would bring plenty of intrigue for both conferences. Both old rivalries and new matchups bring excitement for both leagues.
Resurrecting Rivalries Through Protected Matchups
In my rendering of the C-USA-WAC Challenge for football, the following three matchups would be yearly.
- Western Kentucky-Eastern Kentucky
- Sam Houston State-Stephen F. Austin
- Jacksonville State-North Alabama
These three rivalries are important for both fanbases and are either rare or soon to be rare matchups due to conference realignment. Western Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky have met 85 times but only one of those meetings has come after 2008, a lone matchup in 2017.
Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston State have met 96 times but this year will be only the second time since 1946 that the schools will not meet, with the other year being 2020.
North Alabama and Jacksonville State have met 50 times with their last meeting holding enough importance to be held at the home of the Double-A Rocket City Trash Pandas.
Throughout conference realignment, the fans continue to lose as rivalries are the main casualty of the constant shuffling of conferences. A C-USA-WAC alliance keeps these rivalries alive and keeps fans interested.
The Rest of the Alliance
To create interesting matchups, the rest of the 14 members of both conferences would be ranked by conference finish with each school playing the team with the matching ranking in the other conference.
For example, if New Mexico State has the best conference record out of the remaining teams in Conference USA, they would play the remaining team with the best conference record in the ASUN-WAC.
This creates interesting competitive matchups for both leagues while also creating rare trips for fans. Austin Peay fans in Clarksville would have a chance to enjoy the culture of the borderlands if the Governors play UTEP, while Tarleton State fans have a chance to enjoy time on the beach in Miami against FIU.
The C-USA-WAC alliance would both create stronger and more competitive non-conference matchups while keeping fans of both schools engaged. They could even give fans rare tourist opportunities. The football programs of both conferences need to follow the lead of the basketball programs and at least experiment with such an alliance.