USA South might need a team

It’s true — Shenandoah’s move to the ODAC for 2012-13 doesn’t immediately put the USA South’s automatic bid to the football playoffs in jeopardy. However, there are surely more moves to come.

Even with no more changes, the USAC will have seven football-playing members in 2012, the minimum required to maintain an automatic bid, because Maryville is an associate member of the league. However, the departure of Shenandoah from the league means there are just six teams remaining in the other men’s sports in the conference: Averett, Christopher Newport, Ferrum, Greensboro, Methodist and North Carolina Wesleyan. After a two-year waiting period, the conference would lose its automatic bid in baseball, men’s basketball and other sports in 2014-15, unless additions are made.

Now, I went into this in more detail on the Daily Dose, but I’ll whittle it down to bullet points for the football-focused discussion.

  • The USA South needs more men’s members.
  • The nearest available schools are from the Great South, which does not sponsor football.
  • Adding those schools greatly reshapes the footprint of the conference.
  • That would make Christopher Newport an extreme geographic outlier in the northeast corner of the league.
  • CNU could then decide to leave for reasons of travel costs, same as Shenandoah did.
  • Therefore, change might be even more urgent.

Here’s a couple of things that could happen. The USA South could choose to bring in Huntingdon and LaGrange as associate members in football as well, bringing the league to nine schools, although the conference really needs at least one full member with men. (The league has three women’s-only schools.) Piedmont is the closest school of the Great South to USAC country, but doesn’t have football. Huntingdon is a few hours further away. A full USAC-GSAC merger is possible but fairly large for women’s sports and perhaps unwieldy for men’s sports, although a divisional setup is possible as two other non-football schools in Georgia work their way into the GSAC.

Bottom line: Huntingdon and LaGrange could still be out in the cold. But if Christopher Newport leaves for all sports and finds football affiliate membership somewhere besides the USA South, the conference will need them.

ATN Podcast: Three big showdowns

Pat and Keith spend a fair amount of time on the three Top 25 matchups from this past week, including the playoff implications and what we learned from them. Also, what do we make of Wittenberg’s road struggle at Allegheny? Are Mount Union’s five turnovers on Saturday a concern? Plus the big games in upstate New York, next week’s showdowns and more in this week’s Around the Nation Podcast.

Click the play button below to listen.

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Game Day: Too good to leave

Back in the early days of, I would be forced to stick close to home. Version 1 of the site could only be updated with the right software, and the scoreboard was all manual. Scores came in via email. I would post them on the site.

If I were on the road, I might be able to get my wife to check scores a couple of times. Sometimes I would painstakingly dictate updates to the front page to her so she could upload them. But as you might expect, that wasn’t very popular.

Those days are long gone. The system has been upgraded, now twice. I could update the site from a cellphone if I needed to. But there are too many good games that it only makes sense for me to stay home and work the desk this Saturday.

Too many games to count, too many screens to follow, and probably too much caffeine by the time it’s all said and done.

There are the three games between Top 25 teams — that’s obvious. Wittenberg faces Allegheny at 11 a.m. my time, on DirecTV channel 659. (This is why I have the Sports Pack, right?) Springfield and Alfred face off, Hampden-Sydney faces Salisbury, etc., etc.

Let us know what you’re following and what you’re seeing on game day here in Week 4.