College Football Expansion Top 10 Candidates from a Group of Five Conferences

With the Big Ten expanding to include USC and UCLA, and the Pac-12 currently scrambling to keep what it has and come up with other options, who’s available?

Of course, all the talk is about whether Oregon and Washington will be next, and whether the Big 12 will be trying to steal programs somewhere, and whether the ACC is finally ringing it with Notre Dame, or whether the Big Ten is. there first.

What about the schools that might not get the big, giant, massive, but would fill a gap and help build the foundation of the Pac-12 or Big 12 or, maybe, the ACC?

None of these ten schools have the equipment to qualify for the Big Ten or SEC, but they’re still very, very attractive.

All ten of these schools have something in common: people. Large enrollments, decent to huge alumni bases, good to fantastic media markets.

These are the main categories…

Registration: At least 20,000. The school must be large – not an SME.
Alumni Base: Where are the national eyeballs? In a streaming world, this is a big deal.
Media market: This is more important than anything.
US news and world report Latest ranking: How good is your school? This is more important than you might think.
AAU member: Are you a member of the Association of American Universities? This is a big problem for the Big Ten. To give chase, no one on this list is.
Level 1 examination: Are you an elite graduate school with all the things that go with it? This one can bend a little – Notre Dame not, and Nebraska was, but isn’t now.
Stadium Size: Not a deal breaker, but having a big house is nice.

College Football Expansion: Top 10 Group of Five Candidates

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Related

Big Ten Expansion Top 5 Candidates: Possible Schools to Join USC and UCLA

Yes, it should be a top ten list, but here’s another one has to be here. Added at the last minute…

11. Temple

Registration: 32.343
Alumni Base: 360,000
Media market: 4
US news and world report Latest ranking: 103
AAU member: no
Level 1 examination: Yes
Stadium Size: Lincoln financial field, 69.676

Advantages: HUGE market with a huge alumni base. Solid school. Better recruiting area than you might think.
cons: It’s temple football. There have been moments, but it’s a city school in a pro-city.
Best Power Five Fit: ACC
Bottom line: Don’t blow this off like you just did. Remember, media markets media markets media markets. Penn State may have a hold on Philadelphia — for the most part — but for the ACC or Big 12, getting a top five media market outweighs all other concerns.

2022 CFN Temple Preview

10. Nevada

Registration: 55,415
Media market: 104
US news and world report Latest ranking: 227
AAU member: no
Level 1 examination: Yes
Stadium Size: Mackay Stadium, 27,000

Advantages: Huge enrollment and student base. It is THE University of Nevada. Level 1 Research helps.
cons: The football facilities – the stadium – are not great. Small market. It’s not Vegas.
Best Power Five Fit: Pac-12
Bottom line: It could also work for the Big 12. It’s not a needle mover for the Pac-12, but it’s an easy geographic link to Oregon State, Washington State, Utah, and anyone from the Mountain West.

2022 CFN Nevada preview

9. State of Boise

Registration: 25.829
Alumni Base: 80,000
Media market: 101
US news and world report Latest ranking: 299-391
AAU member: no
Level 1 examination: No, level 2
Stadium Size: Albertsons Stadium, 36.387

Advantages: Great football history. Sturdy hoops. Not a terrible media market.
cons: School size. Lack of national base.
Best Power Five Fit: Pac-12
Bottom line: For football fans, this is an easy fit. From a business point of view, this is difficult without a ton of eyeballs, and with the region already partially occupied by Washington State and Oregon State.

2022 CFN Boise State Preview

8. UTSA

Registration: 34,734
Alumni Base: 126,000
Media market: 31
US news and world report Latest ranking: 299-391
AAU member: no
Level 1 examination: Yes
Stadium Size: Alamodome, 64,000

Advantages: Rabid fan base. Texas recruiting base. Large media market. Level 1 research.
cons: Large stadium but could use a different look and feel for a college market. Academic Rank.
Best Power Five Fit: Big 12
Bottom line: It’s a big school going above and beyond and expanding its footprint somewhere in Texas. Easily join the Texas Big 12 schools.

2022 CFN UTSA Example

7. Fresno State

Registration: 24,610
Alumni Base: 300,000
Media market: 55
US news and world report Latest ranking: 213
AAU member: no
Level 1 examination: No, level 2
Stadium Size: Bulldog Stadium, 40,727

Advantages: A decent media market in California in the San Francisco and Sacramento range. Great enrollment. Great fans. Geographically, it fits between a whole host of options.
cons: Academic rank is just okay – not Tier 1 or AAU. Yes, it’s a good market, but it’s not that big. It is more a part of a group school than a must-have.
Best Power Five Fit: Pac-12
Bottom line: The Pac-12 needs to keep its branding as the West Coast conference, and that means getting a lot of schools in California. Fresno State would energize football dates with Stanford and Cal — notoriously hot and cold fan bases.

2022 CFN Fresno State Preview

6. Memphis

Registration: 22.205
Alumni Base: 165,000
Media market: 51
US news and world report Latest ranking: 249
AAU member: no
Level 1 examination: Yes
Stadium Size: Freedom Bowl, 58,325

Advantages: Decent media market. Level 1 school. Hotbed for football. Good hoops.
cons: Media market not That big. Academic rankings are just okay. Decent tender but not huge.
Best Power Five Fit: Big 12
Bottom line: This should soon be an easy decision for the Big 12. It fits right in with the AAC’s city soccer schools like Cincinnati and Houston, and it’s a short distance from Oklahoma and Texas.

2022 CFN Memphis Preview

5. East Carolina

Registration: 28,962
Alumni Base: 190,916
Media market: 102
US news and world report Latest ranking: 213
AAU member: no
Level 1 examination: No, level 2
Stadium Size: Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, 51,000

Advantages: Interesting TV market increasing the non-ACC footprint. Good stadium size and great fan base. Undervalued recruiting base.
cons: Tier 2. There is no national brand name. Not a true non-ACC geographic fit.
Best Power Five Fit: Big 12
Bottom line: The ACC already has Duke, North Carolina, NC State and Wake Forest, it doesn’t need to get much more North Carolina, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea in case the Big Ten finds out how to get UNC out of its awful Grant or Rights media deal. However, the Big 12 must think like the Big Ten. Media markets, new eyes, new footprint, grow the brand. Do this and the competition stretches from Provo to the Atlantic.

2022 CFN East Carolina Preview

4. State of Colorado

Registration: 28,580
Alumni Base: 240,000
Media market: 16 (counts as part of the Denver market)
US news and world report Latest ranking: 148
AAU member: no
Level 1 examination: Yes
Stadium Size: Canvas Stadium, 41,000

Advantages: The market in Denver is relatively untapped by the Big Ten and Big 12. Good fan base. Great new stadium. Excellent academic ranking. Level 1.
cons: Overshadowed by the University of Colorado just down the road. Haven’t made a big football splash in a while.
Best Power Five Fit: Big 12
Bottom line: How has this not happened yet? If Colorado is somehow held back by the Big Ten, it’s an easy grab for the Pac-12, but the Big 12 should be all over the Denver market and connect easily to Kansas and Kansas State.

2022 CFN Colorado State Preview

3. UNLV

Registration: 30,679
Alumni Base: 135,000
Media market: 40
US news and world report Latest ranking: 249
AAU member: no
Level 1 examination: Yes
Stadium Size: Allegiant Stadium, 64.676

Advantages: It’s Vegas. There’s a reason the Raiders wanted to settle there. Good media market. Many students. Great stadium.
cons: UNLV football was terrible. Academics are just okay – even as a Tier 1 school.
Best Power Five Fit: Pac-12
Bottom line: This must be done yesterday. Now that the LA schools are gone, Las Vegas must be the home of the Pac-12, and that means it needs UNLV as an easy host school to step up the snazz for a competition it suddenly needs.

2022 CFN UNLV Example

2. State of San Diego

Registration: 36.334
Alumni Base: 300,000
Media market: 27
US news and world report Latest ranking: 148
AAU member: no
Level 1 examination: No, level 2
Stadium Size: Snapdragon Stadium, 35,000 (can go up to 55,000 if needed)

Advantages: Great media market with no NFL team. Shiny new stadium. Red hot school that just got over 100,000 applications for 2022. Great football program. Great hoops. It’s San Diego.
cons: Not AAU, and not Tier 1. Yes, there’s a fan base, but they’ve got to get up and rock. It’s San Diego – there are other things to do.
Best Power Five Fit: Pac-12
Bottom line: The Tier 2 designation is a killer, but the Pac-12 can’t spin now. It’s the Pac-12 – it MUST be present in Southern California. Right now, Stanford is the closest state school to LA.

2022 Preview CFN San Diego State

1. USF

Registration: 50,000
Alumni Base: 290,000
Media market: 13
US news and world report Latest ranking: 103
AAU member: no
Level 1 examination: Yes
Stadium Size: Raymond James Stadium, 65.618

Advantages: Tampa media market. MASSIVE student body. Decent academic standing. Excellent recruitment base.
cons: Atmosphere is not there with off-campus stadium. Football team has fallen. Commuter school tag – fans need a winner to appear.
Best Power Five Fit: Big 12
Bottom line: It’s insane that the Big 12 hasn’t cleaned this up. If you want to add UCF you have to have USF – you own I-4 AND you have the markets of Tampa and Orlando. Combine all that with the massive enrollments at the two schools, and… the ACC has to think about that too.

2022 CFN USF Example

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