While the Sun Belt announced that it’s final addition would be James Madison, the Conference USA has attempted to begin it’s rebound with the addition of four schools.

The Sun Belt Conference has expanded from ten to fourteen schools over the last month, adding three former C-USA schools to their lineup and pulling James Madison from the FCS to the FBS.

The Conference USA has moved from four members to eight, pending the potential movement the Mid American Conference (MAC) is currently exploring. The MAC is interested in adding Middle Tennessee State and Western Kentucky and initially, the interest was mutual. With the additions that the C-USA has now made, it’s unknown what the preference of MTSU and WKU is.

From the FCS ranks, the C-USA added Sam Houston State and Jacksonville State, two of the best programs in the lower level currently. They are looking to rebound from the ten-school mass exodus that left them grasping at straws in a struggle to survive.

The Sun Belt is looking to compete with the American

The Sun Belt Conference is now sitting very well with the addition of James Madison to their lineup. With fourteen schools, they have easily displaced the former C-USA and are attempting to compete with the American Athletic Conference (AAC) for power in the group of five.

The Sun Belt Conference now consists of;

  • Appalachian State
  • Arkansas State
  • Coastal Carolina
  • Georgia Southern
  • Georgia State
  • James Madison (Added from FCS)
  • Louisiana
  • Marshall (Added from CUSA)
  • Old Dominion (Added from CUSA)
  • South Alabama
  • Southern Mississippi (Added from CUSA)
  • Texas State
  • Troy
  • ULM
Updated Conference Map

The additions have not only kept the conference contained inside its geographic box but strengthened the schedules of these schools every season. These are formidable opponents who will help keep the competitive fire alive inside of the conference.

Conference-USA is intending on survival

Last week, I wrote a piece on how the C-USA could survive and what they needed to do. They are doing exactly what I said that they needed to. This week, they added schools to help boost their number to eight schools, and I believe potential additions will be announced over the next couple of years.

Remember, this major movement isn’t set to begin until 2023. Unless Oklahoma and Texas buy themselves out of their massive media rights agreements over at the Big 12 before then, none of these schools should be pressured to move until

The schools in the C-USA currently are;

  • Florida International
  • Jacksonville State (Added from FCS)
  • Liberty (Added from Independents)
  • Louisiana Tech
  • Middle Tennessee State
  • New Mexico State (Added from Independents)
  • Sam Houston State (Added from FCS)
  • Texas El-Paso
  • Western Kentucky

The C-USA is not yet out of danger. Not many conferences have survived previously with less than ten schools, as its small number is not only difficult for scheduling but also makes the overall value of media rights agreements significantly less. I’d imagine that they are still scouring the FCS level for potential additions over the next year. Perhaps it would be wise to reach out to North Dakota State, South Dakota State, and other such schools in the northwest region and see if there isn’t mutual interest.

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By John Vogel

NFL Draft Analyst. Dad.

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