The UMass football program is searching for a new conference home following the 2014 season. The Minutemen will part ways with the MAC as an associate football member and is in a difficult situation in the evolving college football landscape. Could the Sun Belt Conference, centered in the south, really be the best for for UMass?
Jeremy Fowler of CBSSports.com reports UMass and the Sun Belt have entered preliminary discussions about the possibility of having the Minutemen join the conference. From a conference membership standpoint, UMass could become the Sun Belt’s 12th conference member, which would open the door for potentially starting up a football championship game for the first time in conference history.
Unfortunately for UMass, joining the Sun Belt could present even more challenges for operating a football program at the FBS level than they have experienced as a member of the MAC. If UMass was isolated as a football member in the MAC, they will be totally out of this world as a member of the Sun Belt Conference. At least in the MAC the closest school to the school was Buffalo. As a member of the Sun Belt the closest conference rival would be found in North Carolina (Appalachian State). Perhaps it might be time to suck it up and consider a move back to the FCS level, where the school could better manage travel.
The Sun Belt will be adding Idaho, New Mexico State, Appalachian State and Georgia Southern as conference members this fall. Texas State, Georgia State and South Alabama have recently joined the conference as well.