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Did we screw up by not going to The Big South?

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I know we have an AQ as of 2009 in the NEC. The criteria is difficult at best this season for an AQ. But if we were in the Big South we could be at 63 rides as of now. I know with our grants and hopefully 40 scholarships we should be on par with the PL and close to the second tier of the CAA and I am confident we can beat Stony Brook right now. But reading AGS I think we may have screwed the pooch here.


The more informed posters please share insight and "sell" me off my theory. Take the travel down south 3-4 times a year, whats the big deal? Players love road games especially if they are by airplane. To bus down to South Carolina would be a problem. Its not like the basketball team and baseball teams bus it down south. In fact they have more trips then football would. I know there are more players traveling for football so it would be more expensive. In short tell me why we didn't take The BS up on their offer? Does it really have all to do with us trying to be cost containment in football??????

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I am not as informed as other posters, so I'll put that out there before giving my view.


I think we should have gone to the Big South. Instead we are waiting and hoping for the CAA to implode. This sounds like a very defensive strategy. What happens if the CAA doesn't implode? Do we stay in this NEC mid-tier football conference forever? Look at our facilities. We should be lucky to be invited to a full scholarship League. It's been said many times that full scholarship football teams wouldn't come to us. If we were in the Big South, full scholarship teams would have to play us at home. Also, the Big South would be "southern" in name alone since there would be 2 New York teams in the league. It's an early CAA type conference.


If you've noticed my sloppy posts, it's because my Blackberry keeps fighting me. How frustrating.

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IMO, it depends on what the goal was. If the goal was to be eligible for the playoffs, then UA made the right decision. If the goal was to play at the highest levels of FCS, then I think the wrong decision was made. FWIW, I think the goal was to be eligible for the playoffs so the right decision was made.


Also, do we know that UA is at the maximum number of scholarships? The last I saw - may have been in the fall, there were less than 20 scholarships. I don't know that UA has the funds to get to 63 scholarships - so the NEC plan may fit in well with the Universitys economic situation...

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According to Dane 96 and Danefan (who are very much in the know) we will be maxed out this season with the full allottment of scholarships. You add the 1he 15-20 grants in aid and now we have almost the equivalent of what the PL offers its programs. With an additional 10 rides we will be able to beat teams like William & Mary,Northeastern, Rhody, Hofstra etc in the CAA. Delaware and UMASS will still be an uphill battle but the field will be more even. We are good enough now to win the PL.


My concern is: have we taken the cost containment route and if so, that is contrary to everything I have heard. There is more then enough $ for 63 rides @ Albany right now. And don't give me any of this Title IX BS! Hell SBU is doing it and its not like our tuition is what they charge at any PL school. If this is the case, then it is a decision that probably rides with Dr. McElroy. I do trust his leadership. I am going to have to hear something very exciting at this years golf outing.

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I'll make it easy -- I don't know if the decision was right or wrong.


At this very moment in time it appears that the decision was the wrong one. As the above posts echo we are not able to compete on a national level while in a conference that limits our scholarships. Stony Brook can compete because for a national championship right now. The problem right now is we don't hold our own destiny in our hands. We sit in purgatory waiting for a conference to either implode or be created. IMO that's not an easy way to pitch our program to the people that matter the most: recruits and donors (which includes the legislature).


However, I have a few thoughts going the other way also.

1. Don't overhype the Big South. We were just as good if not better than every team in the Big South last year.

2. Where we sit right now is clearly a transitional stage. If the NEC does not continue to add scholarships and shows no intention of moving up I wouldn't be surprised if we made a move, even if that means going indy (which would suck).

3. I think the SBU athletic department has been stretched very thin financially because of this move and I think it has/will hurt other sports. That is likely a factor that weighed into Dr. McElroy's decision to not accept the BS offer. We are not a one-trick pony.

4. Things will be a little more clear when we start to build our stadium. We instantly become a more attractive program for either: the CAA as a conference or the CAA North teams to associate with.



These are my intial thoughts. I am swamped at work and trying to get out of here at a decent hour. I'll post more this weekend hopefully.

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I think today was the first time I heard the words "cost containment" applied to UA football. I really really don't like those words applied to my university. This is not a second tier university. I still have dreams of us being FBS sometime before I die.


3 Main reasons why the Big South made sense.


1) Commitment - Shows commitment that UA wants to compete at the highest levels (academically and athletically). Big South is a step up from the NEC.

2) Excitement - We would qualify to play FBS teams. Playing a team like Army builds excitement.

3) Competition - We are slipping behind Stony Brook. It's unarguable that UB and SBU have surpassed UA in developing a program.


Keep in mind, 10 years from now will the Big South be the next CAA? Picking a conference is like picking a stock. We want a conference on the rise not one on the decline, the MAAC comes to mind as a dying conference.

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We can still beat SBU....for now. Last years game wasn't as close as the score. They were not better then Colgate or Fordham and certainly a far cry from Montana. SBU got absolutly crushed 63-7 against New Hampshire. So I wouldn't say we have slipped behind SBU as of now. We can still beat them. Now, if things stay the same @ UA and SBU moves to 63 in the next 2-3 years that is a different story. i don't think they will be a s competitive as some think right away in the BS. I would sure as hell rather be playing SBU on opening sday then UMASS!!!! SBU is a walk in the park.



Chuck Priore HAD BETTER WIN OR ELSE in the next 2-3 years because he will have had every advantage available to him at this level. If he does well @ SBU look for him to move to high end FCS or to FBS. If not then ......

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An interesting thing I'd like to add to this discussion:


I had a conversation a few weeks ago with the father of kid from NJ whose college choice came down to the following three: Albany, Stony Brook and Appalachian State. This was last year (kid was a freshman this year).


He made some very interesting points to me.

1. He absolutely loved Coach Ford (like most parents). He wanted his son to go to Albany because he didn't think he'd play right away at App State.


2. He absolutely despised Priore. Its the first I've heard of this. He said Priore appeared to be "rushing the program along". His words. He said that he felt the kids going to SBU were nothing more than #'s to the program. Now I haven't heard anything like that about Priore, but he also hasn't been at the DI level very long to hear things like that. He is a Ford protege so I hope he does not conduct himself in that manner.


3. The kid ended up going to App State on a full ride. He started 6 games as a true frosh at App State.


Moral of the story is - we are still out-recruiting SBU even with their move forward. I truely beleive that us in the NEC with 50+ rides and no stadium will be on the same recruiting level as SBU in the Big South with 63 rides and a stadium. That is solely because of Ford. How long can that last?


With that being said I do believe that we can stay in the NEC for the next 4-5 years and not fall far behind SBU. This assumes that the NEC at least allows scholarships to the counter-level (54 or 57 I believe).


Where we will fall behind SBU is if we don't get FBS games in that 5 year period. Part of our recruiting pitch right now that sets us apart from the NEC teams is our schedule. Kids want to play in front of 25,000 people at Montana and Delaware. They won't do that anywhere else in the NEC besides CCSU (but not as frequently). SBU plays at Rutgers next year and Army in 2010. The Rutgers game is HUGE for recruiting. Playing in front of 40,000 people against a local Big East team is a great recruiting sell. Its also a great money-maker. SBU will likely get about $300,000 for it. We can certainly use that money.


If the NEC stops upping the scholarship limit we need to get out. Even if it means going independent and playing basically the same schedule. We have the luxury in the northeast with a lot of FCS programs.


A nice Indy schedule for us would look something like (in no order):




2 PL

2 IVY's






Rhode Island





Central Conn.




I wouldn't play SBU again until/if we ended up in the same league.

With 63 rides we have the ability to go 8-3 or 9-2 with that schedule, which would put us at the very least on the edge of an at-large into the 20 team playoff.

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Hear a lot about "when we get a stadium". How are people feeling about the chances of getting stadium funding next year? The premise was the economy would be better and it would come thru. The economy may not be better next year.


I'm very hopeful. Are you?

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I am hopeful on getting the $ next yr. I am because I'm assuming it is going to be the highest priority item on UA's list. As far as conference, I think until we get the stadium, the NEC is the right place. After the stadium is built affiliation can be addressed.

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I am not hopeful because I haven't seen or heard anything that would make me hopeful.


The economy is not going to be great by that point.

We have no clue what effect the elections in November will have on the NYS legislature.

We haven't heard anything from the athletic departmnet (I don't know if there is anything to tell us?)


It was announced that Heery International was selected on April 4th. They said 4-6 months to complete the study. I assume that means 4-6 months from April which puts us somewhere in August - October for the announcement and disbursement of a tremendous amount of marketing and fundraising materials. Anything short of that is a sign to me that the athletic department is not optimistic.


I hope that we can get some real answers at the golf outting this year.

July 18th and 19th - Friday and Saturday. Contact Juan Torres in the football office if you want to register or if you have any questions. Its is open to everyone - alumni and friends of the program.


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My prediction (and I am serious)



Rutgers 84

SBU 10


I know the payday is unreal but this is a stupid game to play. I understand that the exposure for recruits is great but SBU is not Appy State, in fact they are closer to Alfred then Appy and I am serious. APPY gets BIG BOY 1A (sorry I hate the initials) transfers by the truckloads and they are good players obviously. If UMASS played Rutgers it would be 40 something to 14 Rutgers. Rutgers is becoming a national power and one of the top teams to beat in the East This game could be SBU's undoing. They would of been better off playing Syracuse, Temple or Buffalo. THEY WONT BE READY FOER THIS LEVEL FOR ANOTHER 10 years, if they havent fired the AD and football staff by then. I wouldn't want Albany to play this game either once they see the 57 rides and are a counter. Army is fine for both programs.


Army will be more of an even playing field. Trust me Ive been to watch SBU practice and play and they didn't strike fear into me. They were smaller then Albany and a little slower. They did have an explosive passing attack and add that to our weak pass defense and the game was closer then it should of been. We beat them sensless on the ground last season all except at the end when we couldn,t punch it in. There big ground attack came on two seperate runs. How much better will they be this year? Maybe a little. Look no further then the New hampshire game for them last year they got mauled.


I envision/expect Albany going further in FCS then SBU but facilities are a must or all of this will be a moot point. Who knows this could turn into a great rivalry. Remember this series is lopsided in our favor.


As far as Fordie is concerned I could actually see him coaching until he is 80. The guy is in" Joe Paterno like" shape. he seems to adjust well to the younger athlete at least from what I observe from a distance and he obviously can recruit. His schemes do not appear outdated and kids seem to still like playing for him. That may change tomorrow but for now we appear to have a winning coach that obviosly knows what he is doing and still likes doing the job. It is now in Lee MaCs hands and the University. If the State fails to deliver they must go forward with a plan B NOW!!!!!! The momentum of this program is building and they need to capitalize on it NOW!

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