Saturday, July 16, 2011

Benson overly optimistic for new WAC?

So the WAC has it's 10-team league for 2012. It looks like this after last week's addition of Texas-Arlington.

New Mexico State
Utah State
San Jose State
Louisiana Tech
Texas State
Texas-San Antonio

It's Karl Benson's job as WAC commissioner to be optimistic about the future of his league. And nobody has seen more turnover than Benson over his tenure in the WAC. But in this story, Benson says that the WAC could return to a level where Benson said, "The WAC will  return as a multiple-bid conference."

Benson believes that with 10 teams and true travel partners, travel costs will go down and quality road wins will go up increasing RPI and putting more teams in the conversation for at-large bids.

The WAC is simply not a basketball league. Departing schools Boise State, Fresno State, Nevada and Hawaii are legitimate football programs that have occasionally made some noise on the basketball court. But losing all four in a two-year span is a substantial loss to the league's limited remaining prestige.

The WAC's current membership is hardly ever in the conversation for at-large berths, let alone multiple teams. Can market size, travel partners and new arenas make up for that lack of tradition for the new WAC? 
It remains to be seen.

Since Mark Fox left Nevada, Utah State has carried the banner for WAC hoops and I've written about the way the UtAgs schedule and we all saw what that got them this past season with 30 somewhat meaningless wins, a 12 seed and another first-round exit for the league.

The Aggies had a great schedule last year, but injuries left the team a shell of the squad that I thought could have given Arizona a run for its money on the road and a group of subs who played host to St. Mary's. Next year's schedule is Utah State like in nature, which is good for this particular team. Marvin Menzies needs wins and the community needs a team that wins in order to come out on a more consistent basis.

I guess my question for Benson is what kind of time table does he believe before the WAC will turn into a multi bid league? Because with the previously mentioned schools who are departing, it's happened three times with current WAC members since 2006. Nevada and Utah State were knocked out in the first round in 2006, Nevada won a first-round game in 2007 and NMSU lost to Texas. And Utah State was an at-large team in 2010, where both USU and NMSU lost in the first round.

And it's hard to see the following schools turning things around that drastically.
Last year W-L, RPI and Strength of schedule according to

Denver (13-17, 9-8 in the Sun Belt; 244 RPI; 227 SOS) The Sun Belt ranked No. 23 in RPI last year and No. 21 in strength of schedule.
Seattle (11-20 as an independent; 289 RPI; 310 SOS)

Southland Conference additions: The Southland Conference ranked 29th in RPI and 29th in Strength of Schedule in 2010-11.
Texas-Arlington (9-16, 7-9 Southland; 272 RPI, 304 SOS)
Texas State (14-15, 11-7 Southland; 224 RPI; 263 SOS)
Texas-San Antonio (16-13, 12-7 Southland; 193 RPI, 298 SOS) 

What has been proven at NMSU is that the Aggies were an already established program in the Big West and the Sun Belt before making the jump to the WAC. UTEP and UNM were consistent contenders in the WAC before moving on to have success in bigger and better leauges.

If the new additions are mediocre teams in below mediocre leagues now, what makes Benson confident they will enjoy similar success in the WAC?


Anonymous said...

Stop comparing what the Texas schools did in the SLC. They are in the WAC now. They are going to see a huge increase of its athletic budget, improve its facilities, hire better coaches, and recruit at a higher level. Sitting here and writing about what these teams done in the past is very stupid. Don't be stupid Mr. Groves.

Alan said...

anon 1:42, making personal attacks to another person on this blog reflects, in my mind, the person making the comments. Please be respectful, make your point and take the personal jab out of it. Otherwise you get no dessert :-)


Anonymous said...

A pig with lipstick is still a pig. Karl Benson has been asleep at the wheel for the past so many years as leader of the WAC and his league has become the laughing stock of college athletics. Groves, you think we should all be excited around here for this new league? If people here won't buy tickets and go to the games in the current WAC, with the name teams, do you really think it is going to happen with this new league IF we are able to get a few more wins? NOT! The main reason IS, we here in Las Cruces still know we have the same idiots (boston & ad staff) running the show.
I must add, UTSA and TX State have gone out and hired BIG NAME successful D1 football coaches to lead their program forward in what they see as a step up in league play. Franchione and Coker have been to the top of the mountain of college football and nmsu has............?
can we do something about boston?

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:26, so what is it? First, you complain about about our conference and how no one will attend games. Then, you complain about Boston not bringing in a big name football coach. Where is the money suppose to come from? If people won't support their University then how can anyone expect NMSU to have good programs? You can't get something for nothing.

Anonymous said...

I live in San Antonio, Texas and UTSA and Texas State are up and coming schools. UTSA has excellent basketball and football coaches. Texas State has a lot of potential in both sports. Both are always competitive in sports like baseball, track and softball. Texas State has a good volleyball team that has been to the NCAA a couple times recently. I think they will be good additions to the WAC. I don't know much about the other schools.

And as someone else on here pointed out, improvements to facilities and fundraising are already taking least at Texas State and UTSA.

The good part for me is that I can see NM State when their teams travel to this area.


Anonymous said...

What is Karl Benson smoking?

He says the Weak Ass Conference, aka, WAC. Will be a "multi-bid conference."
If that's the case, how come the we only have one bowl tie in for 2012?

He's gotta be smoking some good stuff to make a claim like that! Gimme some ese!

Ganja Boy

Anonymous said...

Football (BCS)is unfortunately ruining basketball conferences, and I need to cite no other authority on the subject than Coach K at Duke.

Boise State is chasing the dragon thinking they are going to make their dough back a la Fresno State. All Fresno got is a bunch of Crips and Bloods "rocking" their gear while selling crack.

See how their pushing the Texas schools to bring back football. Arlington has 19,000 enrollment and I'll bet they don't have to recruit outside the Dallas area for an athletic 6 or 7 for hoops.

Anonymous said...

Jason-Still waiting to see who the Aggies are hiring in Tom Lewis's former position since he moved up? Trei Steward?

Jason Groves said...

Likely Ryan Mack. But not sure yet.

Mont said...

"Since Mark Fox left Nevada, Utah State has carried the banner for WAC hoops and I've written about the way the UtAgs schedule and we all saw what that got them this past season with 30 somewhat meaningless wins , a 12 seed and another first-round exit for the league."

Few more meaningless than the 18 wins we got in the WAC reg season and tournament. It would be nice if the little eight would provide a little competition and RPI support some year.

Anonymous said...

You were correct. Word is Ryan Mack got Tom Lewis's position. Please update us on what you find out when it is official!

Anonymous said...

Why's UNM worried about $4K missing when Alford's been picking their pockets all this time???

Anonymous said...

UNM ought to toss $4K NMSU's way, give the Aggies a few recruiting tips after Lobos pass on them and then meet NMSU at a neutral court - - say in Socorro. Paid attendance would be just as high.

Anonymous said...

Because UT State lays an egg perennially in the NCAA first round, they're just built to be an annoyance in the WAC. Their style can't win anywhere else and they keep the WAC from being a two-bid league with their 30 meaningless wins.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:24PM has an odd, but actually very good point.


Anonymous said...

Reggie (RT 10:36)-

How else to you explain USU dominating the conference and then folding quicker than one of your flashy suits in the Big Dance?

Oh yeah, right you beat Stu and Jaycee Carroll in '07... More like Gibson and Knauber (freshman and walk-on) won that one. You owe those guys your one year in Sacremento, dude!

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, RT -

There's an assistant job and you could work alongside Tony Delk. You two guys were solid pro's and of course Tony has that ring.

Anonymous said...

lol..What is the deal with singling me out? I agreed with someone...that's all. It's funny but annoying at the same time.

Are you going to allow this to continue Jason? I'm under the impression that Anon 5:30PM is the same person from last season that was antagonizing me just to be an *ss. It's really stupid and childish.


Jason Groves said...

RT, you're right. Last word is yours since at least you sign your name.