C-USA could go to 16 members; who could be added?

Posted by PATRICK MAGEE on April 10, 2013 

Conference USA could grow even further after recently pushing its membership to 14, CBSsports.com recently reported.

This isn't much of a surprise considering C-USA commissioner Britton Banowsky at one point promoted a C-USA/Mountain West merger that could grow to as many to 24 or 28 teams.

That alliance fell through, but Banowsky can now pursue his own plan of building a league that relies on strength in numbers.

The real question is: Which schools would C-USA actually want considering the remaining options?

The CBS Sports report listed UL-Lafayette and Arkansas State as potential candidates.

* While Arkansas State has made huge strides with its football program, I tend to doubt that C-USA will look to the Red Wolves. If you've ever had to make the trip to Jonesboro, Ark., you would understand why. I'm not saying it's a bad town or anything, it's just isolated and completely lacking any attractive market for C-USA.

* Count me in the group that thinks that UL-Lafayette would be a nice add for C-USA. The Cajuns have earned a devoted, passionate following in South Louisiana in recent seasons and could bring to the league another quality fanbase that will be lacking with the departure of East Carolina. The down side for ULL is that its basketball program has been nonexistent for quite some time.

* Texas State is another school that has a large student body and has good potential for growth. However, the school doesn't add much in market considering its proximity to San Antonio. C-USA is already excited about UT-San Antonio will bring to the table as a new member.

* Georgia State may be a very attractive option at this point for C-USA considering its in Atlanta. In terms of market, it could easily make up for the departures of schools like Tulane, Tulsa and Memphis. But you also have to take into account that GSU's following in Atlanta is modest at best with maybe 10,000 showing up to watch games at the FCS level in recent seasons. The Panthers would have a long way to go to become competitive at football in C-USA... but we have all seen how important the market is in these decisions.

* Old Dominion wants another regional rival in C-USA and James Madison could fit in well. However, JMU is still at the FCS level and would need the a transitional period of two-to-three years to make the leap. JMU has quality academics and would bring a respected name to the fold for C-USA.

You could also throw in South Alabama, but I'm doubtful that the Jaguars are under much consideration.

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