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C-USA could learn a thing or two from the MWC about gumption

Pardon the Vent-terruption…but I gotta get this off the chest. I am sure that what follows is so knee-jerk that some of you can help me understand that I am seeing this all wrong – and I sincerely mean it…please help me feel better about this – but I am so disgusted with our CUSA leaders all sequestered there in Texas.

Yep…I got one.

Through all of this Big East garbage, one thing I have always found irritating is the lack of proactive maneuvering from Conference USA. From the first pilfering of the conference back when Cincinnati, Louisville, and USF left and again during this current raid, our leadership seemingly accepts our inferiority and steps aside kindly as not to rock the boat.

Where is the aggressiveness? Where is the gumption?

At times, it seems almost as if we want to be the Big East’s minor league system…trying so hard to be nice about it. Hell, our leaders were so considerate we helped the teams that left in 2005 leave early to be a good neighbor the BE as it raided us.

So, today, after reading how the MWC is engaging Boise State to stay put, I want to give a loud shout out, atta-boy, go get ’em to that league for not accepting the status quo, for not lying down without a fight. Their leadership has a set while our’s needs to grow its pair. Even before the AQ status became history, the MWC was out making the case and pushing hard on the BCS for their inclusion based on merit while our guys sat on their hands “hoping” the likes of Central Florida and SMU wouldn’t be leaving.

Where was our push to keep the bungling four from our league in the fold? Why aren’t we reaching out to them to stay? Why not go after Cincinnati, Louisville, and USF?

While our guys were kind enough to help out the Big East while they looted the house in 2005, the MWC told Boise, “Heck no you can’t leave your other sports with us…sorry Bub…all or nothing.”

Even the dying merger discussions between CUSA/MWC, while the MWC was interested, they still were decisive, proactive, and working their best interest at all times; hence, dictated the situation on its own terms for its membership’s best interest. Ours, continue to mumble about it is not dead yet but clearly seemed to default to the passive role in the discussions with the MWC. Hell, it took the Big East’s second raid before our league leaders would even consider the merger idea that was not so subtly put forward…oh…years ago by Coach Holland. Sheeesh.

We act like the beaten dog, the scared child, the self-deprecating guy…all the things that only serve to make our woes self-fulfilling realities. I remember hearing stories – true or not – about a former coach at ECU who didn’t recruit certain top players because we can’t get them anyways…how do you know unless you try? Same sadly applies to our leadership in CUSA, IMO.

For me, if anyone wants to argue which league is better, the MWC or CUSA, hands down it is the MWC even if for no other reason then the fact that they truly believe they are better while our leaders act like we are second class and hence have no ground on which to make a stand.

Good luck to the MWC on this bold action. And, here’s wishing that our conference leadership can learn something from it.

Gumption…sure would be nice.


18 comments on “C-USA could learn a thing or two from the MWC about gumption

  1. Absolutley 100% agree – I have waxed not-so-eloquently I guess on HTC about CUSA fiddling while Rome is burning. They have done nothing (zero, nada, zippo..) in the past two years when everyone knew defections were coming. Let alone the other raids in the 2000s. Now here we are picking up the leftovers to create Frankenstein in an effort to make them(our)selves whole. Ridicoulous – lord Britt is not my favorite commisioner right now. They could have practically stole those 4 remaining BE football teams several months ago, and that would have not been out of the realm of possibility. Now we get UNCC – lame. I’m on board of course, but still reserve the right to “B & M” as much as I desire. Ah…I feel better.

  2. Blackbeard'sGhost

    Preaching to the choir brother… preaching to the choir…sigh….

    You know what else is sad about this RC…with the possibility of the BE collapsing in football….do you think CUSA will be motivated enough NOW to get those four defecting teams back and try to make this conference more solid now than ever? My bet is no.

    • Hi BBG…sigh…I agree…the league will do nothing IMO to entice them back…and it would seem a pretty easy undertaken given Houston and SMU’s geography, to at least bring them back into the fold. Hate it.

  3. I heard today that Boise State officials are meeting with MWC officials “fueling speculation that Boise State is having second thoughts about joining the Big East”. You hear anything on this? Certainly, that would be a MAJOR blow to the Big East if they “pull a TCU”…

    • Hi Chris…only thing I have seen is the CBSsports piece I linked (and was over on BB as well)…though I have heard the rumors from other friends of mine that are still active journalist. I think the hard line that MWC took with Boise and the non-AQ going by the wayside really has Boise starting to rethink their position…is the two year money grab really worth it to them? And truthfully, they are in a down year for talent this year as well and the MWC schedule might really benefit them in football this year (that is my own thought). My friends know little more than the speculation out there right now. That said, I think there is a reason Boise never formally withdrew for the MWC…same reason Navy said, ‘oh sure, 2015, ok…” and that is the horrible instability of the BE and the BCS changes in 2014, IMO.

      • sorry Ron, i was in an airport when I replied and didn’t read the whole blog on my phone.. we are obviously on the same wavelength here.. on a related subject, I wanted to comment on C-USA’s choices to replace the defectors. Charlotte and ODU? Really? Charlotte doesn’t even have a football team yet… I mean I’m glad they are looking at schools closer to us, but why do you think App State was overlooked? Definately have a better football program than the rest of them, and I would love to go to Boone for a football game.. that would be way cool! Thoughts?

      • Great to hear from you again Chris!

        My guess is that C-USA, like all of the other conferences, is looking to grab a TV market over a rich football tradition. Bigger TV Market = bigger TV contract…so they say.

        Makes you wonder how the SEC ever survived. I would have preferred Appalachian State over Charlotte because I feel that Appy has earned it. Charlotte has not played a down yet of college football and they are fast-tracked (and they will probably leap frog us quickly too because of the TV market).

        Sad commentary on college football…it would be nice if TV contracts were built not on the size of the market, but rather, on the total viewership actually tuning in.

      • You’re right Ron. I should have known that from our own painful experience. Keep’ em coming!

  4. Mike Bartos

    I hear you Ron. It’s like the old Bear Bryant saying…”The first time you quit is a hard thing to do, the second time it is a little easier, the third time you don’t even think about it at all.” All I know is when you are in fight for you life don’t stop punching. Keep on punching Ron.

    • Well said Mike…well said.

      As a fanbase, ours is one to envy and I can’t imagine what this fight would be like in any other place.

      Good to hear that there are others that feel this way, too.

  5. I have no love for the Big East and really don’t believe they are going to keep this shell game going much longer. In fact, the BE’s poor performance on the field is one of the reasons the AQ status label is going away. No one wants to see another UConn or Cincy in a BCS Bowl ahead of a BSU. That said, do you think we spend too much time worrying about our conference affiliations (and I include myself in this)? At the end of the day, it comes down to winning. If we could go out, like BSU, and just win, our situation would be far different. Now, I understand our scheduling, etc.. has something to do with it. However, it seems to me that we create our own problems when we can’t run the table in C-USA and regularly beat the likes of Marshall and Tulsa. That to me is Job 1. If we did then the good things that have come to BSU would begin moving in our direction too. Look at all the great press we got in 2008 after the strong start we had (I was in Afghanistan then and for two weeks, ECU was on the cover of Stars and Stripes). If we could keep that mojo going for two or three years, like TCU or BSU, it would solve a lot of our challenges as a program.

    • Hi there Ed! Thanks for posting.

      I agree that above all, we must find a way to be seen as a consistent and dependable winning team.

      Winning will carry the day ultimately.

      On the conference front, I do not think that CUSA would have been able to keep the defections from happening (and the MWC will have a hard time keeping BSU in) but I would at least have liked to have seen our league publicly fight instead of roll over.

  6. NYCPirate

    The MWC has been a better conference than the Big East prior to losing Boise & TCU. This is why teams would potentially stay there, CUSA cannot say the same thing. I feel your rage about the lack of real leadership in CUSA and wish we would be elsewhere for league play but past performance says MWC > CUSA. According to BCS rankings, MWC > Big East in recent years.

    • Hi NYC Pirate…thanks for dropping in and sharing on this conversation!

      Can’t argue that and when I take shot at CUSA leadership, it is more about at least putting up a fight – in public – to preserve the league. The MWC with Boise State totally is a better league than the BE, no doubt. I know that Coach Holland was pushing for the expanded CUSA and merger deal well before the four CUSA teams defected and when the BE was teetering on the edge after Pitt, Syracuse and WVa announced departures, we could have been loud and decisive and even go after the rest of the BE. Our league commissioner is on the BCS panel…he had to know that the AQ/non-AQ status was going away…we had a chance even before the BE went after BSU, to exploit the failing league (when it had 6 members for football). I would have gladly welcomed USF, Louisville, and Cincy back, but we did nothing…didn’t even try. That’s my beef…not that it would have worked, but at least show a pair or even a pulse.

      Thanks again for stopping in. Do you ever get to Brother Jimmy’s to catch a Pirates game?

      • NYCPirate

        Yes, I’ve been to Brother Jimmys a few times to see games. The Pirate games are now shown at another bar in NYC called Black Finn I think. The owner is an ECU grad. The last game I saw there was the Navy disaster so I haven’t been back since to stop the jinx! 🙂

      • I’ll have to check out Black Finn next time I am in.

        Thanks for checking in NYCPirate.

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