A lot of crazy things have happened in the college sports landscape in the past month or so, as several schools have announced that they are switching conference affiliation in the hopes of making things better for their sports programs in the ever changing world of college athletics.
The most recent buzz has surrounded the A-10 conference and their movement to expand by adding Butler from the Horizon and VCU from the CAA. There were even some rumors about George Mason joining them, and of course, you’re familiar with the many stories about Creighton’s supposed interest.
While it appears the MVC is content to stay out of the reshuffling membership craze for now, its members — in particular Creighton — have a window to capitalize on some scheduling opportunities as a result of that reshuffling.
Creighton’s schedule is pretty much complete as we have mentioned before, but it has been criticized heavily by the local media as well as some of the national media. Despite a terrific breakdown of the opponents for next season on our message board The Bluejay Underground — showing that it’s shaping up much better than some would lead you to believe – there are still those who believe that Creighton is doomed with the schedule they have put together and unlikely to get an NCAA seed any higher than they did this season: A #8 seed that led to the game against #1 seeded North Carolina, a challenge in itself to get deeper into the NCAA Tournament.
Last week, it was posted on Basketball Travelers that Creighton was looking to open the season either at home to start a home-home series or a neutral one-time game against a team in the top 75 RPI. While the debate rages on with whether Creighton would actually be able to schedule a game like this, it should still be something that can be done.
It is amazing to me with Doug McDermott being the only first team All-American returning to college hoops next season that ESPN isn’t knocking down the door to help create a “made for TV game.” They did it for Gonzaga and Davidson. They have done it for VCU.
Well, maybe VCU changing conference affiliation now will help the Bluejays.
With VCU’s sudden move to the A-10 starting this upcoming season (rather than next season, as originally planned), that means they suddenly have some games still to schedule. They need to add as many as four games, because the A-10 will play two fewer conference games than VCU would have in the Colonial, and because VCU had two non-conference games scheduled against A-10 teams.
There would be a lot of advantages to calling VCU now and getting something worked out to kickoff the season. First, they have been to the Final Four in recent years; VCU could come into the season as a ranked team, and the name recognition alone by even casual fans would create a buzz. Secondly, of the CAA teams Creighton has played in recent years due to Bracketbusters (George Mason, Drexel, etc.) these two teams have not met yet, with VCU taking on Wichita State and Northern Iowa in the event.
Two strong coaches and teams from two strong leagues make for an interesting storyline to start the season. Would this be the addition to the schedule that would put Creighton over the top and get people to look at the schedule differently? As much as people would like Creighton to get games with Kansas, Kentucky, Duke other elite programs around the nation, let’s be honest: it probably won’t happen. I’m sure Bill Self laughed when Creighton called to see if they could fill a spot in Kansas’ schedule, even though it would be a great regional matchup.
And you never know, someday this could be a matchup for a conference championship. With the ever-changing landscape, anything can happen.
What do you think?