Regardless of what happens in one Power Five conference, one Group of Five league could be expanding.
Air Force and Colorado State of the Mountain West have reportedly made the cut as the Big 12 looks to expand by at least two teams and possibly four. That conference could make their expansion decision as early as the next month.
In the meantime, the MWC won’t be sitting idly by waiting to be poached as commissioner Craig Thompson confirmed Saturday that his conference will look to expand independent of what the Big 12 does. And, more to the point, Thompson doesn’t hide the fact that the league would like a presence in the state of Texas.
“I can say this — and I said it at our [football] media days. We have a lot of people saying, ‘If there’s an opportunity to be in your league, we’re interested.’ So there are numbers there,” Thompson said, without getting into any specifics. “I’ve challenged our membership to think about expansion — with or without losing [current] members. Do we look east? Do we look at the state of Texas, for example?
“So that’s probably going to be something we have to confront this year.”
The Salt Lake Tribune mentions current Conference USA members North Texas, Rice, UTEP and UT-San Antonio as possibilities from the state of Texas. The Sun Belt’s Arkansas State is also considered a viable option.
Scheduling weekend at CFT continues, with news of an addition and tweaks to one AAC member’s future slates.
On the addition front, USF confirmed that they will play San Jose State in a rare home-and-home series that’s not off in the distant future. The first game will be played next season, Sept. 8, Spartan, and will conclude with the Spartans making the return trip to Tampa Sept. 12, 2020.
The 2017 game will mark the first-ever meeting between the two football programs. It’ll also mark just the second game for the Bulls in the state of California.
USF had previously announced a home-and-home series with Georgia Tech for the 2021-22 seasons; now, that series has been moved up to 2018 in Tampa and 2019 in Atlanta.
Finally, a 2017 game against Northern Illinois has been pushed back to the 2025 season. The two teams will play the front-end of a home-and-home this coming season.
Add up all of the tweaks and addition, and USF’s non-conference schedule is now complete through the 2020 season.
San Jose State has a new stadium naming rights agreement, and it rivals Houston’s TDECU Stadium for the longest acronym in college football.
Spartan Stadium will now be known as CEFCU Stadium, an agreement that will see the Peoria, Ill., based bank pay the Spartans $8.7 million over the next 15 seasons.
“We are very pleased to extend and enhance our relationship with CEFCU to include the naming of the stadium. Since 2011, CEFCU has been a loyal partner with San Jose State Athletics and we’ve valued its presence in Spartan Stadium. Today’s announcement is a long-term extension of our ongoing relationship with CEFCU,” San Jose State AD Gene Bleymaier said in a statement.
The venue formerly known as Spartan Stadium has hosted San Jose State’s football team since 1933. It seats 30,456 spectators.
CEFCU Stadium — short for Citizens Equity First Credit Union — makes its official debut for the Spartans’ home opener with Portland State on Sept. 10.
The Seventh-Year Man won’t be the only graduate transfer playing for San Jose State in 2016.
Around March, speculation was circulating that Skylar Lacy was no longer a member of the Louisville football program. In June, a report surfaced that Lacy would be transferring to San Jose State, which Lacy subsequently retweeted from his personal Twitter account.
Now, according to a tweet from the esteemed Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News, the offensive lineman is indeed ticketed for the Spartans. In fact Lacy is now listed on SJSU’s online roster, which is about as official as a confirmation gets short of a press release.
As a graduate transfer, Lacy will be eligible to play immediately in 2016. In fact, he’ll have two seasons of eligibility with the Spartans.
The addition of Lacy will certainly bolster the Spartans’ offensive line in terms of both talent and experience.
After redshirting as true freshman in 2013, Lacy played in two games in 2014. Last season, the 6-6, 305-pound Lacy started nine games at right guard for the Cardinals.
San Jose State will enter the 2016 season without one of its most experienced and dependable playmakers in the passing game at its disposal.
Head coach Ron Caragher confirmed Thursday that Tyler Winston will miss the entire 2016 season because of academics. Provided he gets his academic house in order, Winston is expected to return to the playing field for his senior season in 2017.
Until then, Winston will be permitted to practice with his Spartan teammates.
“He’ll be a great scout team receiver for us,” the coach said according to the San Jose Mercury News.
Last season, Winston was tied for fourth on the team with 35 receptions, and was fourth in yards with 368 despite a season-ending knee injury he suffered in late October. He is currently third on the school’s all-time list in receptions (171) and eighth in yards (1,920).
Of the 30 games in which he’s played, Winton has started 28 of those contests. After being named the Mountain West Freshman of the Year in 2013, he followed that up by being named second-team All-MWC in 2014.