Hope you’re well. I often have the hope of getting two blogs up in a day and today I’ve finally done it. I put in a call to CAA commissioner Tom Yeager for the story that ran today about Georgia State’s season-ending four-game run.
Yeager’s assessment on GSU in 2012: “They’ll be playing teams that have kids that have played a number of years, have started for a number of years, have been in the program. I’m sure the first couple seasons, there’s going to be some continued growing pains. (But) I don’t think there’s any question theyre going to be a competitor fairly quickly.”
We ended up talking about where GSU might land in 2012, which I’ll share with you. He said the plan is “to look at some type of divisional play” when GSU joins and the CAA goes back to 12 teams, which is what it was before Hofstra and Northeastern dropped football after the 2009 season.
The most obvious alignment – putting Georgia State in with the other southernmost schools, Richmond, Old Dominion, James Madison, William & Mary and Towson – may not fly.
A little history, which I confess I was aware of until a few minutes ago: The CAA has only had football since 2007. Largely the same teams made up the Atlantic 10 football conference from 1997-2006. They were the Yankee Conference for decades before that. (Georgia State in what used to be the Yankee Conference. Go figure.)
Anyway, what Yeager said was that in the previous north-south alignment, Villanova and Delaware both developed strong rivalries with Richmond, James Madison and William and Mary. So they aren’t going to want to get sent to play in the other division where the ties aren’t as strong. Further, Villanova and Delaware play each other in a season-ending game that Yeager likened to Georgia-Georgia Tech. So it sounds like both schools’ strong preference would be to stay together and in the south.
But, obviously, you’d want to keep Old Dominion with the other three Virginia schools, so maybe that makes Towson the odd man out, even though it’s two hours from Philadelphia and an hour from Newark, Del., and a whole lot closer to Virginia than Maine.
So it could be that Georgia State will go into the north with New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Towson and Rhode Island. Or maybe not.
I don’t know what it would mean for Georgia State to be in with schools in New England rather than Virginia. Geography always helps in building rivalries, but I suppose it’s not imperative.
“There’s some potential there’ll be some lively discussions about the new division set-up,” Yeager said. “There isn’t a really easy identifiable way to split it.”
Something that may sink these plans before they even get off the ground, though, is Rhode Island. I mentioned earlier this week a report that URI might be leaving the conference for the Northeast Conference. Here’s an story from June in the Richmond Times-Dispatch that explains it further (You may be interested to know – or probably not – that I interned at the Times-Dispatch 16 summers ago and actually worked with the writer of the article linked. I have a story I could tell you about my first attempt at writing about auto racing. Did not end well.). Basically, URI has been getting drilled in the CAA and the costs are getting high. The addition of GSU would seem to be a double whammy – a team that figures to push URI further down and, if they’re in the same division, require a charter flight every other year.
I’ll write more about GSU’s future with the CAA when I get the opportunity. Kind of interesting.
Any preference on where GSU ends up?