The Sun Belt announced this past week it would be adding four new programs – Appalachian State and Georgia Southern as all-sport members, and Idaho and New Mexico State as football-only members — to begin competing in 2014. The additions will give the SBC 12 football members, enough for a conference championship game.
Provided the following is true, it looks like the Sun Belt will have to look (again) for one more school to get back to 12. The Bowling Green Daily News reports that Western Kentucky has received and accepted an invite to join Conference USA. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel confirmed the move as well. An official announcement is expected to come as soon as Monday.
Tulsa, a “current” C-USA member, is expected to announce sometime this week it will join the soon-to-be-renamed Big East. Provided that move comes to fruition — this news would obviously indicate as such — C-USA would then have an uneven 13 members. WKU would bring C-USA back up to 14.
Assuming our realignment spreadsheet is correct, the new C-USA will feature the following schools: former Sun Belt members FAU, FIU, North Texas and Middle Tennessee; former WAC schools Louisiana Tech and UT-San Antonio; new members Old Dominion and Charlotte; and current members Marshall, Rice, Southern Mississippi, UAB and Texas-El Paso.
As for the Sun Belt, Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com reports that Liberty and James Madison, both of the 1-AA ranks, are the leading candidates to replace WKU. Because why the hell not, right?