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Topic:  How did the Sunbelt “lap” the MAC

Topic:  How did the Sunbelt “lap” the MAC
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CatsUp
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  Message Not Read  How did the Sunbelt “lap” the MAC
   Posted: 9/11/2022 11:53:04 AM 
Over the past, probably 5-7 years, the Sunbelt has gradually gone from a conference that was generally thought of as being at least somewhat inferior to the MAC to now, where it’s obvious that they are much better. This fact was emphasized yesterday with Marshall beating Notre Dame and App State beating Texas A&M. And, it wasn’t that they just beat those teams but that they went “toe to toe” with them.

Why and how did this happen? Is it cyclic? Are they pouring in more money? Thoughts?
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SBH
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  Message Not Read  RE: How did the Sunbelt “lap” the MAC
   Posted: 9/11/2022 12:38:21 PM 
They had the fortune of playing two teams that were grossly overrated. Notre Dame is putrid.
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bobcatsquared
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  Message Not Read  RE: How did the Sunbelt “lap” the MAC
   Posted: 9/11/2022 1:01:01 PM 
Let's not forget Georgia Southern winning at Nebraska. Just because Nebraska has fallen on hard times lately, it's still a SBC team over a Big10 team.
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Pete Chouteau
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  Message Not Read  RE: How did the Sunbelt “lap” the MAC
   Posted: 9/11/2022 1:10:15 PM 
Investment and donor engagement to no small degree.

Proximity to talent to a larger degree.

Adding the right new blood was a massive shot of caffeine for them.
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Casper71
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  Message Not Read  RE: How did the Sunbelt “lap” the MAC
   Posted: 9/11/2022 1:45:03 PM 
They are recruiting more talented players than MAC teams.
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BryanHall
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  Message Not Read  RE: How did the Sunbelt “lap” the MAC
   Posted: 9/11/2022 1:48:00 PM 
Pete Chouteau wrote:
Investment and donor engagement to no small degree.

Proximity to talent to a larger degree.

Adding the right new blood was a massive shot of caffeine for them.


Great answer. You can just cite the reasons why the SEC is so far ahead of the Big Ten and put them in lower case.
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Urban Bobcat
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  Message Not Read  RE: How did the Sunbelt “lap” the MAC
   Posted: 9/11/2022 2:26:28 PM 
MAC=Mediocre Athletic Conference


URBAN BOBCAT

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bobcatsquared
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  Message Not Read  RE: How did the Sunbelt “lap” the MAC
   Posted: 9/11/2022 2:29:56 PM 
And to think MAC fans who prefer basketball over football complain that the conference put all (or most) of its resources into football at the expense of basketball.

Is it time to rethink this philosophy?
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Pete Chouteau
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  Message Not Read  RE: How did the Sunbelt “lap” the MAC
   Posted: 9/11/2022 3:23:54 PM 
bobcatsquared wrote:
And to think MAC fans who prefer basketball over football complain that the conference put all (or most) of its resources into football at the expense of basketball.

Is it time to rethink this philosophy?


What resources?
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bobcatsquared
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  Message Not Read  RE: How did the Sunbelt “lap” the MAC
   Posted: 9/11/2022 4:13:13 PM 
Yeah, maybe I should have worded it differently.

Instead of "resources", I should have said most "decisions" the MAC has made over the last couple of decades was with what's best for football in mind.
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Pataskala
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  Message Not Read  RE: How did the Sunbelt “lap” the MAC
   Posted: 9/11/2022 5:24:24 PM 
They haven't just lapped the MAC, they've lapped all the G5 conferences. They've been doing things the Mountain West used to do. Last season they had two teams (Louisiana and Coastal) in the Top 25 for most of the year. After two weeks of this season they have the most wins by a G5 vs "P" teams (3) plus a win vs ranked Notre Dame (ND technically isn't a "P" because they're not in a "P" conference), they have the second-best percentage vs other G5 conferences, and they're the only G5 that hasn't lost to the other subdivision. Here's each conference's record in OOC games so far (the G5 vs G5 numbers don't include the record of independents, who are 3-8 vs G5 teams):

AAC 11-9 (0-6 vs “P”; 5-2 vs G5; 6-1 vs 1AA/FCS)
CUSA 11-11 (0-4 vs “P”; 4-6 vs G5; 7-1 vs 1AA/FCS)
MAC 7-15 (0-10 vs “P”; 2-3 vs G5; 5-2 vs 1AA/FCS)
MWC 12-14 (1-10 vs “P”; 4-2 vs G5; 7-2 vs 1AA/FCS)
SBC 18-10 (3-7 vs “P”; 6-3 vs G5; 9-0 vs 1AA/FCS)


We will get by.
We will get by.
We will get by.
We will survive.

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ou79
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  Message Not Read  RE: How did the Sunbelt “lap” the MAC
   Posted: 9/11/2022 6:30:45 PM 
When someone says that the Sun Belt members are closer to better talent, that may be so to an extent, but recruiting over them is the SEC, ACC, Big 10, Big 12 along with a host of G-5 conferences and FCS conferences. Actually, a lot of the Sun Belt members are not far removed from formerly being FCS/D-IAA schools. There are higher expectations in the Sun Belt then in the MAC. And for those who say the Sun Belt is not reaping the immediate reward of having three (3) of its members beating P-5 schools and Notre Dame, two (2) of who were ranked in the Top 10, guess where ESPN's gameday program will be this weekend? That's right, Boone, NC.
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colobobcat66
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  Message Not Read  RE: How did the Sunbelt “lap” the MAC
   Posted: 9/11/2022 8:19:16 PM 
For better or worse, the MAC is a stagnant conference with all the stability in the world. It’s footprint basically covers the rust belt, an area mostly in decline or slow growth as far as population is concerned. The Sun Belt is exactly the opposite, in terms of stability ( only top division football since 2001)and in an area of more moderate growth ( or do it seems to the casual observer like me). I have no idea how that relates to increasing interest but that’s the backdrop I see the conferences operating in.

There teams are in the south or near the south in more moderate climates where football can be played in tolerable weather instead of the Midwest where fans have to endure a month or two of winter weather.

Fans in the south are just bigger football fans, it borders on being a religion to many down there.

All Sun Belt games have been on a ESPN platform since 2011, making their product just as available to their fans as the MAC.

They have 3 programs ( App st., marshall, Ga southern?) that have been power houses in the FCS building up their football traditions and their fan bases. New programs are being added from the FCS that have the excitement of a fan base wanting to play big time.

As mentioned above, the talent down south dwarfs that in the MAC footprint. It is true that everybody recruits the south, but there’s still a lot of leftovers to pick over for the local G-5 teams. I’m sure many recruits love playing close to home.

Attendance figures bear out the decline of interest in MAC football. The MAC has fallen from about 16,400 to 13,700 since 2016 to 2021. The Sun Belt has averaged about 18,000 every year from 2016 to 2021. Lower fan interest has to correlate to dollars available for the programs I presume. The ESPN tv contracts apparently have been about $600K/year for MAC schools and about $500K for Sun Belt schools. There is a new CBS Sports deal with the MAC that brings more money, but I don’t know those details. The Sun Belt just renewed their rights deal for about $2million/school, as far as I can figure from published reports.

Last Edited: 9/11/2022 10:29:46 PM by colobobcat66

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Jeff McKinney
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  Message Not Read  RE: How did the Sunbelt “lap” the MAC
   Posted: 9/12/2022 8:51:41 AM 
Very interesting thread. I think you all have identified the main reasons that the Sun Belt has passed the MAC in football. It hasn't been that long ago that the MAC was the better conference.

I see this as being a permanent realignment rather than cyclical. I don't think the MAC schools have the resources or access to talent to escape being the weakest FBS conference. The MAC is basically an FCS level conference now, and as someone noted, there are a couple FCS conferences that are better some seasons.
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The Optimist
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  Message Not Read  RE: How did the Sunbelt “lap” the MAC
   Posted: 9/12/2022 8:55:54 AM 
5-7 years ago, Marshall was not in the Sun Belt and App State had just made the jump to D-1 FBS football.

The Sun Belt looks a whole lot different now than it did two decades ago in large part because they've embraced realignment. The MAC has taken the opposite approach with stability. Stably bad.

Last Edited: 9/12/2022 8:56:44 AM by The Optimist


I've seen crazier things happen.

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GoCats105
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  Message Not Read  RE: How did the Sunbelt “lap” the MAC
   Posted: 9/12/2022 12:53:41 PM 
Not only have they embraced realignment, but they've asserted their regionality. It's what the MAC wishes it could be with being able to bus to every school in the conference. Texas State is probably the one outlier for most of the Eastern schools.

Also, while they do play weeknight games, their deal with ESPN to put most of their games on ESPN+ so they could play on Saturdays was a huge bonus for them. The MAC playing strictly midweek games in November is killing this conference. The "MACtion" buzz has worn off.
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BigGreenTruck
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  Message Not Read  RE: How did the Sunbelt “lap” the MAC
   Posted: 9/12/2022 4:15:00 PM 
The Optimist wrote:
5-7 years ago, Marshall was not in the Sun Belt and App State had just made the jump to D-1 FBS football.

The Sun Belt looks a whole lot different now than it did two decades ago in large part because they've embraced realignment. The MAC has taken the opposite approach with stability. Stably bad.


Stability isn't bad, being stable is a good thing. Being stagnant is what is bad. The last momentum the MAC had was the 2 BCS games, that is now 5 and 8 years removed. And neither NIU or Western Michigan followed up on the BCS appearance. Nor did anyone take the reigns.

Gone are schools that dragged the Sun Belt into mediocracy and in the last 8 years they have been replaced with regional schools who care about their athletic departments. With most having an emphasizes on football.

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Urban Bobcat
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  Message Not Read  RE: How did the Sunbelt “lap” the MAC
   Posted: 9/12/2022 5:29:43 PM 
The beloved stability of the MAC will fall like a house of cards once teams start to leave.

Last Edited: 9/12/2022 5:30:05 PM by Urban Bobcat


URBAN BOBCAT

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Pataskala
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  Message Not Read  RE: How did the Sunbelt “lap” the MAC
   Posted: 9/12/2022 6:08:26 PM 
Urban Bobcat wrote:
The beloved stability of the MAC will fall like a house of cards once teams start to leave.


MAC teams have been passed over at least twice in conference realignments over the past decade. I don't see any of them being such plums that they'll draw interest when future shuffles happen. The next round will likely be "P" to "P" realignment involving Pac-12 to B10 and B12. If G5 conferences need to fill in spots, teams are more likely to move up from the other subdivision.


We will get by.
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We will get by.
We will survive.

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Buckeye to Bobcat
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  Message Not Read  RE: How did the Sunbelt “lap” the MAC
   Posted: 9/12/2022 7:03:53 PM 
Been saying it for years. The MAC is like a whack-a-mole machine that doesn't invest in anything. They all stay the same, and when a good coach gets plucked, they look around at the average MAC salary and declare that to be the new coach's job. And since Candle may not go 9-3 this year, it will further scare off MAC leaders from paying a good coach over a mil, worried that the ROI just ain't there.
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Pataskala
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  Message Not Read  RE: How did the Sunbelt “lap” the MAC
   Posted: 9/13/2022 10:50:10 AM 
Here's something for CUSA to crow about: Two of the Sun Belt's marquee wins were by CUSA defectors in their first year in the SBC. ODU beat VaTech and T'erd beat ND. So maybe CUSA can take some credit for those.


We will get by.
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OhioCatFan
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  Message Not Read  RE: How did the Sunbelt “lap” the MAC
   Posted: 9/13/2022 10:53:51 AM 
Buckeye to Bobcat wrote:
Been saying it for years. The MAC is like a whack-a-mole machine that doesn't invest in anything. They all stay the same, and when a good coach gets plucked, they look around at the average MAC salary and declare that to be the new coach's job. And since Candle may not go 9-3 this year, it will further scare off MAC leaders from paying a good coach over a mil, worried that the ROI just ain't there.


In this context I think the muffed punt by MTSU that killed the addition of WKU and MTSU to the MAC really hurt. Those two schools, especially WKU has a lot of the tradition and that fan enthusiasm that characterizes the SBC. It wouldn't have been a complete solution to the current MAC woes, but it would have been a step in the right direction. Sure hope that the MACDaddies are still working with WKU behind the scenes to find another dance partner. The University of Delaware has been mentioned, but I'm sure there are others. I've always thought that Indiana State might make a good addition.


"It is better to be an optimist and be proven a fool than to be a pessimist and be proven right."

Note: My avatar is the national colors of the 78th Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry, which are now preserved in a climate controlled vault at the Ohio History Connection. Learn more about the old 78th at: http://www.78ohio.org

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GoCats105
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  Message Not Read  RE: How did the Sunbelt “lap” the MAC
   Posted: 9/13/2022 11:19:11 AM 
OhioCatFan wrote:
Buckeye to Bobcat wrote:
Been saying it for years. The MAC is like a whack-a-mole machine that doesn't invest in anything. They all stay the same, and when a good coach gets plucked, they look around at the average MAC salary and declare that to be the new coach's job. And since Candle may not go 9-3 this year, it will further scare off MAC leaders from paying a good coach over a mil, worried that the ROI just ain't there.


In this context I think the muffed punt by MTSU that killed the addition of WKU and MTSU to the MAC really hurt. Those two schools, especially WKU has a lot of the tradition and that fan enthusiasm that characterizes the SBC. It wouldn't have been a complete solution to the current MAC woes, but it would have been a step in the right direction. Sure hope that the MACDaddies are still working with WKU behind the scenes to find another dance partner. The University of Delaware has been mentioned, but I'm sure there are others. I've always thought that Indiana State might make a good addition.


Actually in this context MTSU fits right in with the MAC personality wise. They're holding on to Stockstill way longer than they should have and have refused to further reinvest in their football program. They probably just didn't want to spend the travel money? I guess? Even though it's going to be worse in the long run once those FCS teams come up to CUSA.
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OhioCatFan
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  Message Not Read  RE: How did the Sunbelt “lap” the MAC
   Posted: 9/13/2022 11:28:21 AM 
GoCats105 wrote:
OhioCatFan wrote:
Buckeye to Bobcat wrote:
Been saying it for years. The MAC is like a whack-a-mole machine that doesn't invest in anything. They all stay the same, and when a good coach gets plucked, they look around at the average MAC salary and declare that to be the new coach's job. And since Candle may not go 9-3 this year, it will further scare off MAC leaders from paying a good coach over a mil, worried that the ROI just ain't there.


In this context I think the muffed punt by MTSU that killed the addition of WKU and MTSU to the MAC really hurt. Those two schools, especially WKU has a lot of the tradition and that fan enthusiasm that characterizes the SBC. It wouldn't have been a complete solution to the current MAC woes, but it would have been a step in the right direction. Sure hope that the MACDaddies are still working with WKU behind the scenes to find another dance partner. The University of Delaware has been mentioned, but I'm sure there are others. I've always thought that Indiana State might make a good addition.


Actually in this context MTSU fits right in with the MAC personality wise. They're holding on to Stockstill way longer than they should have and have refused to further reinvest in their football program. They probably just didn't want to spend the travel money? I guess? Even though it's going to be worse in the long run once those FCS teams come up to CUSA.


I think the main problem was the MTSU delusional fan base that truly believes they'll be the next pick by the AAC if they just wait a year or two.


"It is better to be an optimist and be proven a fool than to be a pessimist and be proven right."

Note: My avatar is the national colors of the 78th Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry, which are now preserved in a climate controlled vault at the Ohio History Connection. Learn more about the old 78th at: http://www.78ohio.org

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BillyTheCat
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  Message Not Read  RE: How did the Sunbelt “lap” the MAC
   Posted: 9/13/2022 11:46:35 AM 
Interesting numbers:

https://knightnewhousedata.org/fbs/sunbelt

You can see what each Sun Belt school spends and where they rank in FBS, and you can tab over to the MAC. It's pretty glaring that the MAC is not keeping up.

Last Edited: 9/13/2022 11:48:53 AM by BillyTheCat

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