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WAC realignment... Yikes!

grizzlyjournal

Well-known member
The recent press release by Western Athletic Conf. commissioner Jeff Hurd is a bit of a shocker to me (& I thought I had been following conference realignment pretty closely).
• My first thought was that the Idaho Vandals might wish they could join the Big Sky THIS year, instead of 2014-15.
• My second thought is...."whew," at least we won't have to worry about Utah Valley State U. making any more future attempts to join the Big Sky.
• Third thought? What a nightmarish travel schedule!

Can't see much of a future for the "new" WAC, wac, wac, wac.... (the laughingstock of western ncaa conferences!) Does this newly aligned conference even merit an auto-qualifier for the NCAA basketball playoffs?

(apologies if this was already covered on the egriz football board... which I do not read.) And to think that a couple of years ago, posters on the griz football board were lobbying for a "move up" to the WAC.

Press release excerpt: DENVER – The Western Athletic Conference today enthusiastically welcomes six institutions to the league. As of July 1, 2013, California State University, Bakersfield, Chicago State University, Grand Canyon University, the University of Missouri-Kansas City, The University of Texas-Pan American and Utah Valley University are officially members of the WAC.

“Today is an important and exhilarating day for the WAC,“ Commissioner Jeff Hurd said. “We proudly welcome our six new members and look forward to the contributions each of them will bring to the conference.”

The WAC now consists of nine full members, as the six new schools join the University of Idaho, New Mexico State University and Seattle University as members for the 2013-14 academic year. Information about each of the new members is listed below.

link to full story: http://www.wacsports.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=10100&ATCLID=208532560" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
 
So, it looks to me like it has just turned into a terribly watered down version of the gigantic sun-belt...which idaho hated because everyone else was so far away. Yikes! Dodged a bullet there!
 
We probably shouldn't be slamming the WAC or Sun Belt when our own conference can't even come close to those two conferences lately in RPI.

#13 - WAC
#15 - Sun Belt
...
#28 - Big Sky


If the WAC and Sun Belt are laughing stocks of NCAA basketball, what's the Big Sky? :?

We had 5 teams finish 300 or worse in RPI this year. The WAC had 1, the Sun Belt had 1. We had 2 teams finish better than 200 in RPI this year out of 11. The WAC had 6 (out of 10), the Sun Belt had 6 (out of 11).

Yeah, the travel schedule looks like a nightmare, but really our own conference is beyond horrible at the moment. If anything with the additions maybe the WAC will join us down at the bottom of the barrel and we can all chill with the Independents and the Big South.

28 - (Sun Belt) Middle Tenn. St.
53 - (WAC) Louisiana Tech
56 - (WAC) New Mexico St.
66 - (WAC) Denver
74 - (Big Sky) Montana
85 - (Big Sky) Weber St.

109 - (WAC) Utah St.
111 - (Sun Belt) Florida Intl.
120 - (WAC) TX Arlington
150 - (Sun Belt) West. Kentucky
154 - (Sun Belt) South Alabama
163 - (Sun Belt) Arkansas St.
171 - (Sun Belt) AR Little Rock
196 - (WAC) Idaho
218 - (Sun Belt) Florida Atlantic
221 - (Sun Belt) LA Lafayette
224 - (Big Sky) North Dakota
247 - (Sun Belt) North Texas
255 - (Big Sky) Northern Arizona
257 - (Big Sky) Northern Colorado

260 - (WAC) TX San Antonio
261 - (WAC) San Jose St.
272 - (WAC) Texas St.
278 - (Sun Belt) Troy
283 - (Big Sky) Sacramento St.
301 - (WAC) Seattle
305 - (Sun Belt) LA Monroe
314 - (Big Sky) Southern Utah
317 - (Big Sky) Montana St.
321 - (Big Sky) Eastern Wash.
338 - (Big Sky) Idaho St.
339 - (Big Sky) Portland St.


Now lets look at the teams they are adding....obviously not what you'd consider high quality additions, but if you compare them to the teams in the Big Sky, it's about on par with what we have right now.

237 - CSU Bakersfield (Better RPI than all but 3 of the Big Sky teams)
284 - UMKC (Higher ranked than 5 Big Sky teams)
297 - Utah Valley State (Higher ranked than 5 of the Big Sky teams)
306 - Texas-Pan American (Higher ranked than 5 of the Big Sky teams, and higher ranking than UND or SUU when it was announced they were joining the Big Sky)
320 - Chicago State (About the equiv of what Southern Utah and North Dakota was when the Big Sky added them..terrible).
Grand Canyon (no rpi)
 
Potomac Griz said:
We probably shouldn't be slamming the WAC or Sun Belt when our own conference can't even come close to those two conferences lately in RPI.

#13 - WAC
#15 - Sun Belt
...
#28 - Big Sky

...

Now lets look at the teams they are adding....obviously not what you'd consider high quality additions, but if you compare them to the teams in the Big Sky, it's about on par with what we have right now.

237 - CSU Bakersfield (Better RPI than all but 3 of the Big Sky teams)
284 - UMKC (Higher ranked than 5 Big Sky teams)
297 - Utah Valley State (Higher ranked than 5 of the Big Sky teams)
306 - Texas-Pan American (Higher ranked than 5 of the Big Sky teams, and higher ranking than UND or SUU when it was announced they were joining the Big Sky)
320 - Chicago State (About the equiv of what Southern Utah and North Dakota was when the Big Sky added them..terrible).
Grand Canyon (no rpi)

Are you trying to make the point that teams can improve over two years, like UND, or what? SUU will have to totally rebuild. UND was practically all freshmen two years ago. Next year, it should push Weber and Montana for the top three: practically everybody's back, three redshirts transfers are eligible, two FBS transfers (including UMKC's best player), and adding Minnesota's Mr Basketball for the past two years.

UVU's Hunsaker is very capable of making UVU into a very good program. UMKC has replaced its coach with a Louisville assistant and has every intent to upgrading that program. UTPA and Chicago St perpetually self-destruct. Bakersfield has potential and will get good crowds. GCU will depend on Dan Marjle's coaching and recruiting (which won't be easy with no tournament for 5 years).
 
UNDfan said:
Are you trying to make the point that teams can improve over two years, like UND, or what? SUU will have to totally rebuild. UND was practically all freshmen two years ago. Next year, it should push Weber and Montana for the top three: practically everybody's back, three redshirts transfers are eligible, two FBS transfers (including UMKC's best player), and adding Minnesota's Mr Basketball for the past two years.

UVU's Hunsaker is very capable of making UVU into a very good program. UMKC has replaced its coach with a Louisville assistant and has every intent to upgrading that program. UTPA and Chicago St perpetually self-destruct. Bakersfield has potential and will get good crowds. GCU will depend on Dan Marjle's coaching and recruiting (which won't be easy with no tournament for 5 years).

More trying to make the point that it seems silly to poke fun at the WAC and Sun Belt when our own conference is such a mess and one of the worst in all D1 basketball. Many of the teams that the WAC is adding are in better positions (in terms of RPI) than SUU and UND were when they were added to the Big Sky, and as you pointed out many of those teams are making major efforts to improve their programs significantly.

Of course teams can improve, look at UND, damn near knocking off Weber in the tournament. Hell, you very well could have beat Weber had your coach not had some sort of brain fart on that last play.
 
Ugh. PG's post perhaps highlights just how awful the BSC is better than anything else I have ever read.

When I scanned that list of teams the WAC was adding I thought, "wow what a bunch of bottom feeding nobodies". But then when they're compared to the bottom half of the BSC they look like Big Ten programs.

How sad.
 
More reason to get the hell out of this pathetic conference. Imagine the caliber of player could bring in if the GRIZ were in a better basketball conference. Not much to chose from though. I would love to see the GRIZ in the MWC. I just don't see that happening until there is a lot more movement, or changes made to benefit programs below the BCS level.
 
Urban schools in the Big Sky - Portland St and Sac St - should be leading the way in basketball, yet they can't because of atrocious basketball facilities. The new WAC schools - Bakersfield, GCU, Chicago St, UTPA, Seattle - have better facilities most of the Big Sky. Until the Big Sky schools invest in something as basic as a gym with at least 3000 in seating, how can the Big Sky expect anything than mediocrity in the sport?
 
UNDfan said:
Urban schools in the Big Sky - Portland St and Sac St - should be leading the way in basketball, yet they can't because of atrocious basketball facilities. The new WAC schools - Bakersfield, GCU, Chicago St, UTPA, Seattle - have better facilities most of the Big Sky. Until the Big Sky schools invest in something as basic as a gym with at least 3000 in seating, how can the Big Sky expect anything than mediocrity in the sport?


A better question might be, why is a program like Montana associating with teams that draw 614 people to conference games? There's a huge world outside the BSC



It's time the big birds spread their wings and -- in the immortal words of the great Dave Niehaus -- Fly, fly away!!!!
 
EverettGriz said:
UNDfan said:
Urban schools in the Big Sky - Portland St and Sac St - should be leading the way in basketball, yet they can't because of atrocious basketball facilities. The new WAC schools - Bakersfield, GCU, Chicago St, UTPA, Seattle - have better facilities most of the Big Sky. Until the Big Sky schools invest in something as basic as a gym with at least 3000 in seating, how can the Big Sky expect anything than mediocrity in the sport?


A better question might be, why is a program like Montana associating with teams that draw 614 people to conference games? There's a huge world outside the BSC



It's time the big birds spread their wings and -- in the immortal words of the great Dave Niehaus -- Fly, fly away!!!!


And go where? The WAC?
 
ANYwhere. Lets be honest. For DI BB, where we are is as horrible as it gets.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
EverettGriz said:
ANYwhere. Lets be honest. For DI BB, where we are is as horrible as it gets.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


I agree, the problem is there is nowhere to go........................for the foreseeable future
 
timing is everything.

the timing to have gone into the wac was the late 90's. if we'd gone then, we'd be in the mwc today, where we belong, competing against other state universities like wyoming, new mexico, colorado state, nevada, utah state.

we didn't because of football. football was happily whomping up on hapless opponents, winning "national championships" no matter the inferior level, thus gratifying the hyper-macho pygmies who were able to outsource their masculinity, a la dick cheney.

this is a basketball thread. but basketball never had a say in the "move-up" controversy, even though inarguably it would have been the better move for both the men's and women's programs.

well, as my dad said, you always get a second chance. will we see it? will we take it?

probably not. the great inferiority complex that is the state of montana will prevail.

see you at the oklahoma panhandle state game. or that stinken little gym at sac state.
 
I doubt basketball will ever have the "say" in any potential move-up. That's just the way things are. Except in a few select schools like Duke and Kansas, football is king. (A caveat: I'm much more of a football fan than a basketball fan, but I do recognize the frustrations felt by BB fans.)
 
Wildcat fan concisely pegged the "theme" of this rather claustroPHOBIC thread with his "... And go where? The WAC?" (Thanks WC fan, for NOT ridiculing us poor eGrizzers too much!).

And citay -- as he so often does -- explaining the Big Sky Conference's dilemma (historically and existentially).

Potomac Griz put it all down in graphic black & white with accompanying statistics: Proof that -- in March -- the Western Athletic Conference WAS a stronger RPI conference than the Big Sky WAS.

No longer.

Today and going forward, the Big Sky really IS a significantly stronger conference than the WAC with the recent defections of Idaho to the Big Sky, Utah State and San Jose State to the Mountain West (announced July 1), Louisana Tech to Conference USA (announced July 1), and New Mexico State rumored to soon announce a move to the Sun Belt.

... Leaving only ONE school (Denver) from that March RPI ranking as higher than Montana and Weber State, and only two total (add Texas Arlington) as ranked higher than the top FIVE Big Sky Schools (Montana, Weber State, U North Dakota, Northern Arizona and Northern Colorado).

We all realize that newfound Big Sky Conf. "strength" is more by default than anything else.

Unless the Pac 12 or the Mountain West decide to expand into two-division 16-school conferences (and who would invite us anyway?), there appears... truly, to be nowhere for Montana to move up to.

I do see a glimmer for next season in hoops with considerably stronger basketball programs at UND, Northern Arizona and Northern Colorado. But there's still that lower tier currently populated by too many Big Sky schools.

In the meantime, I'll stick with my "slamming" of the now football-less WAC.
 
Many of the teams joining the WAC (which I agree is a complete cluster$&%# of a conference now) were independents last year, so having a conference affiliation, even if it's with a very watered down WAC, will help them significantly.

I guess the question is will the WAC join us at the bottom of the NCAA with the Big South and other flat out awful conferences? Or will they drop but not drop that far? Will we actually overtake the WAC (for the first time since as far back as I can find conference RPI records, 10+ years) in the battle at the bottom? We'll have to wait and see.

Maybe when our conference is able to climb out of the gutter, some jabbing at the WAC(a likely bottom dweller next year) and other bottom dwellers would make sense. Right now though, WE are a bottom dweller.

27 Southern
28 Big Sky
29 Big South
30 Mid-Eastern
31 Southwestern Athletic
32 Independents

Last 10 years of the Big Sky:

2003-2004: 23
2004-2005: 29
2005-2006: 17
2006-2007: 24
2007-2008: 25
2008-2009: 24
2009-2010: 18
2010-2011: 24
2011-2012: 25
2012-2013: 28

Only 2 years being in the top 20 out of 32. That's pathetic and should be considered unacceptable. Will the Big Sky improve significantly next year? I hope so. I'd love to see the Big Sky be somewhat respectable next year and at least finish above 20 again... I seriously doubt it'll happen though, and if I had to guess I'd guess we finish very close to the WAC next year (somewhere around 25). Even with UND and NAU showing a lot of promise in terms of improving, I just don't see it being able to pull our conference up to respectable levels next year. Hope I'm wrong.

As for the question where would we move to... As city pointed out our opportunity of getting to a better conference (for now anyway) passed when we passed on the move up years ago.

One thing I've wondered about though is if the basketball programs had an opportunity to jump to another better conference, would our athletic department take that opportunity? Would our athletic department be OK with football being in the Big Sky, but basketball being elsewhere? I kind of doubt it...mainly because the athletic department pays so little attention to the basketball programs.
 
"One thing I've wondered about though is if the basketball programs had an opportunity to jump to another better conference, would our athletic department take that opportunity? Would our athletic department be OK with football being in the Big Sky, but basketball being elsewhere? I kind of doubt it...mainly because the athletic department pays so little attention to the basketball programs."
Potomac Griz said:
Good perspective on the mess we're (the Big Sky) in, Potomac...

I have no doubt that Montana (men's and women's programs... women's soccer also) and Weber State (men's program only) would be competitive in either the Big West, WCC or the Mountain West conferences.

Doubt that transition will ever happen, though.
 
Great discussion!!

(I'm bashfully attempting to returning to posting on this site after my unflattering remarks about Mario Dunn. Disclaimer: I know basketball a little too well and I believe my remarks about Bradshaw being the best newb for the Grizz tarnished Dunn a bit, which wasn't my aim. He is a solid player and a hell of a great recruit for the Grizz. I just think Bradshaw is better prepared to play immediately and contribute this season whereas it might take a full year for Dunn to make the full transition. He will be a nice addition for the Grizz though.)


The Sky has really struggled the past decade to being a relevant DI basketball conference. Personally, adding team that have paltry facilities doesn't really help the conference. Sac St and PSU have been the epitome of dismal. Great to hear that PSU is going to remodel and expand the Stott Center. That is not only great news for the Vikings, but also, for the entire Sky. That means we only have one absolutely awful facility left in the Sky (Hornet's Nest) and a handful of below par facilities highlighted by the Butt-cock Pavilion in Greeley. But facilities only improves a conference so much. Teams do the rest.

Even with a crummy gym, PSU has won two championships and represented the Sky in the NCAA's twice since 2000. Good coaching, athletic players, and most importantly winning OOC games, especially on our home courts and as many neutral/in season tournaments as possible. The Sky can't afford our third place teams losing to Nebraska Omaha in the Bracket Buster (I'm gonna miss these games). Each year, I hope the Sky will get better, but...case in point, SUU has an amazing stadium, but hasn't been able to do much with it. Proof that facilities only do so much (Weber football has awesome facilities and look at our recent record...got my fingers crossed things improve this year...not looking promising only having 10 OL on our roster. :roll: )

IS THERE HOPE?!?

I think so. UND should be one of the best teams in the conference next year. I think NAU, EWU, MSU, and UNCO will be better as well. After replacing the entire team, ISU, under Evans (HUGE REASON WHY THE GRIZZ became so good defensively under his tutelage), will be better. Finally, Sac isn't the doormat of the conference any longer, which is a good thing as long as they continue to upset a few teams every year. UTAH at the Huntsman Center last year. What am I getting after? The Sky has better coaches, improving facilities, and getting more talent. Three years ago only Weber and Montana were getting good recruits. Now 5-6 teams are. Things are looking up.
 
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