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Kansas Fans: One Power Five is Better than None. Also, SCAC and SAA Previews

Because your basketball is apparently that important.

This is how many college football teams are in Lawrence, coincidentally.
This is how many college football teams are in Lawrence, coincidentally.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Lead

Note: This section is entirely Panjandrum's fault.

So apparently, and we're not going to link to any examples of it because you all have better things to do with your day than subject yourself to such asinine nonsense, the latest great fad on KU message boards in the wake of realignment neurosis is a great one. Ready?

They think it would be best if Kansas were to move to a Power 5 conference without K-State, leaving the Wildcats with no choice but to join the American or Mountain West. That way, as the only Power 5 school in the state, KU would improve their football program since K-State wouldn't be pulling recruits anymore.

You know, the lunacy involved here is really extra special. First, let's disabuse our friends down the river of one notion right from the outset: in terms of media revenues, Kansas State is more important than you are, because of the difference between football and basketball revenue value. It's that simple. If Kansas is a viable candiate to join another Power 5 conference on their own, so is K-State. Yes, Kansas earns more total revenue than K-State. But guys, no other conference cares one iota about KU's revenue from merchandise sales, because that's not revenue you share with the conference. They care about what a school's television value is worth and what you bring in via post-season play.

Yes, Kansas is worth more than K-State in NCAA tournament units. KU would be worth a lot more if they could actually make it to the second weekend more often than not, but that's neither here nor there. But K-State is worth a lot more in post-season bowl revenue, and every decent bowl K-State lands in is worth more than every KU tournament appearance.

As far as the television value, in terms of market share it's a wash because what matters to providers is not some nitwit's guess as to how many fans a team has but whether a network has to be carried in a market to avoid the risk of customer outrage. Protip: No cable provider in Kansas or the Kansas City area can refuse to carry a conference network if either school is in that conference, so it doesn't matter. In fact, it's a really good argument for both teams ending up in different Power 5 conferences, not for one to get in and the other be left out.

Then again, maybe KU could go join the Big East along with all the other basketball schools who can't play football. I mean, if KU basketball is worth so much, Fox would surely shell out enough money to make it worth everyone's while. The Big East is currently making $41M a year on their television deal. That's $4.1M per school, and since every school in the Big 12 is apparently worth $25M per year then Kansas basketball must be worth $25M a year, right? And the best part is that all the weirdos who root for K-State in the fall and KU in the spring would be absolutely overjoyed.

But, you know, that's all rational discussion, I guess. There's a more important detail here, one which is absolutely laughable and should be roundly mocked by anyone with access to the internet:

Are you people seriously suggesting that the best way to make Kansas something other than an abject embarrassment in football is to underhandedly arrange to get into the Big Ten while K-State gets left in the dust? Really?

I mean, I can certainly see the logical thought process. That's completely valid. If K-State is playing in a lesser conference with a crappy television deal and virtually no shot at the playoff, then K-State's attractiveness as a destination for recruits is drastically lessened. Kansas would certainly become more attractive in turn.

But two things: one, the more likely result is that Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Oklahoma State go back to taking all the good players from Kansas while KU continues to not get them, just like back in the days when K-State effectively didn't have a football program because they were a basketball school which beat Kansas at their own game nearly as often as not.

Two, what sort of sniveling coward would even suggest such a thing? Kansas can't compete with K-State, so you think destroying K-State is the solution to KU's incompetence? Can you, KU fan, even for one moment imagine your own reaction if Big 12 fans started posting on message boards claiming that Kansas going to the Big Ten would be awesome because then someone else could win at basketball? You would howl with laughter, followed by chest-thumping about how awesome KU hoops must be.

So one is forced to ask: did you even think through to the end result of your brilliant proposition, Jayhawk people?

Our apologies to the 184 decent Jayhawk fans who clearly see this idea as stupid and spineless. We understand; we're embarrassed when K-State fans get stupid, too.

Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Preview

2014 Standings and Info
21 Texas Lutheran University Bulldogs Seguin TX 3-0 9-2
Trinity University Tigers San Antonio TX 2-1 4-6
Austin College Kangaroos Sherman TX 1-2 5-5
Southwestern University Pirates Georgetown TX 0-3 1-8

The SCAC used to be much larger, but the conference we'll be talking about a few paragraphs from now split off from the league a few years ago to cut down on travel. Unfortunately, there just aren't that many football-playing schools in the southwest, and the SCAC has a certain academic standard. If not for that, the American Southwest would probably be glad to take in these four schools; as it stands, they all have to hope they can run the table and grab an at-large bid to the playoffs. It's an especially galling state of affairs for Trinity, who used to be a near-annual participant -- although their coincidental nose-dive since the split isn't helping.

Texas Lutheran actually was a member of the American Southwest for years, and struggled mightily. In their two years in the SCAC, they've gone 17-3 and did in fact earn an at-large bid last season. They bowed out in one round, but in a game which took two days to complete due to lightning storms, the Bulldogs gave Mary Hardin-Baylor everything they could possibly have asked for. Texas Lutheran graduated third-team All-American G Kendall Wilkerson, but return honorable mention RB Marquis Barolle, still only a junior and the league's Offensive Player of the Year. In addition to Wilkerson, five first-team All-SCAC honorees move on, but in addition to Barolle eight return. Although all it takes in this league is one loss to ruin everything, Texas Lutheran is in decent shape to repeat.

Trinity (TX) is best known for the insane 63-second, 60-yard, 15-lateral touchdown they scored on the final play of the game to beat Millsaps (q.v.) in 2007. The Tigers lose five first-teamers and returns six, including SCAC Defensive Player of the Year LB Julian Turner, just a junior. Last year was actually a horrible disappointment; had Trinity pegged as a playoff team in the preseason, but things just didn't work out as planned. After a long stretch going back into the 1990s in which Trinity never failed to win at least 8 games, the past six years have been rocky; only once, a 10-1 campaign in 2011, have the Tigers won more than 7 since 2009.

Austin's general position has been "win 4 or 5 games, or win a lot less." Not since 2000 have the 'Roos posted a winning record, but a pair of 5-5 finishes has optimism high in Sherman. But Austin suffered more high-profile losses than anyone in the conference, with six of their nine first-team honorees graduating. Things could be rough for the Kangaroos in 2015.

Southwestern (TX) only returned to the gridiron in 2013, and have gone 1-18 since. Four first-team selections return, along with five honorable mentions. All are sophomores or juniors as well, so even if this year is still painful for the Pirates, it'll at least be another year of needed experience as a group. Two of Southwestern's three conference losses last season were by only one score; a surprising second-place finish is not out of the realm of possibility.

Game of the year: With Texas Lutheran appearing to be a clear favorite, their visit to Mary Hardin-Baylor for a rematch on October 24 looms large.

Southern Athletic Association Preview

2014 Standings and Info
22 Centre College Colonels Danville KY 6-0 10-1
Rhodes College Lynx Memphis TN 5-1 8-2
Hendrix College Warriors Conway AR 3-3 6-4
Birmingham-Southern College Panthers Birmingham AL 3-3 3-7
Millsaps College Majors Jackson MS 2-4 3-6
Berry College Vikings Mount Berry GA 1-5 2-8
Sewanee: The University of the South Tigers Sewanee TN 1-5 2-8

All of the above schools, with the exception of Berry, left the SCAC to form the SAA in 2012. Oglethorpe is also a non-football member. This year, the Washington University in Saint Louis Bears and University of Chicago Maroons will join the conference for football, but both have already decided to depart after the 2016 season. The league, having endured its probationary period, will begin receiving an automatic bid to the D-III playoffs this season; the lack of said bid didn't hurt Centre last season, as they received an at-large.

The league as the distinction, at least for the next two years, of being the home of four schools which at one time played major college football. Centre was a major independent early in the 20th century, Chicago was a member of the Big 10, Sewanee the SEC, and Washington (MO) the Missouri Valley (both before and after the split which created what is now the Big 12).

Centre is famous for a couple of things: a 6-0 win over top-ranked Harvard in 1921, and an appearance in the 1955 Tangerine Bowl. The Colonels have had the fortune of replacing one 100-win coach with another; last September 14, Andy Frye earned his 102nd career win, surpassing the man he succeeded, Joe McDaniel. Centre reached the playoffs for the second time in four years, but got shelled by John Carroll in the first round. In addition to the graduation of second-team All-SAA QB Heath Haden, the Colonels lose two players from both the first-team offensive and defensive lines, including SAA Defensive Player of the Year DE Devon Freeman. But they return first-team RB Nolan Coulter, WR Max Mazza, TE Brandon Kamp, OL Tre Killian, and DB Alex Mattingly, as well as Newcomer of the Year LB Andrew Busby. That may be enough to hang on to the title, but there are loaded guns pointed toward Danville.

Rhodes has posted consecutive 802 seasons, sharing the 2013 SAA title with Millsaps. It's not just the best two-year stretch in ages for the Lynx; they hadn't won eight games in a season since 1988, and the six conference wins was an all-time high for a school that's been playing football since the 19th century. Dan Gritti took over in 2012, and has gone 20-7 in three years. Perspective: Rhodes lost six games in 2011 alone. The Lynx return first-teamers DL Spencer Smith, LB Michael Shield, and P Patrick Knight as well as second-team RB Roc Sherrell and WR Jonathan Wiener. Only DB Justin Tolliver departs from the first-team, although Rhodes did lose a three second-team talents, including OLs Landon Jones and Ben Primes. Rebuilding the line will be a priority, obviously.

Hendrix won three games in their inaugural varsity season in 2013. They doubled it last year, and because most of their players are still juniors or younger they're a definite force heading into 2015. QB Seth Peters, the league's Offensive Player of the Year, K Steve Crenshaw, Special Teams Player of the Year, and RB Dayton Winn all return from the SAA first-team, as well as second-teamers WR Ben Luedtke, TE Doug Phillips, and OL Trent Middleton. So the Warriors won't have any trouble scoring points this season. The problem: Hendrix allowed over 30 points a game last season, and the only accolades won by any player on the defense was an honorable mention nod for returning DB Caleb Shannon. Head coach Justin "Buck" Buchanan is the former defensive coordinator at Louisiana College; he built one of the best defenses in Division III from scratch there, so this is not an insurmountable obstacle.

Birmingham-Southern built a solid program in their first few years of football, but their fortunes have trended downward since a 7-3 finish in 2012. Defense has been the problem, and the loss of all six of their first- and second-team honorees isn't going to help matters in 2015. The slide will probably continue.

Millsaps had won at least seven games in seven of the previous eight seasons before collapsing last year. All four first-team selections graduated, but second-team WR Rashad Sims and LB Eric Martin return. It will be hard to climb the standings this year with the addition of Chicago and Washington and the expected improvement at Berry.

Berry was winless in their inaugural season in 2013, but managed to pull off a couple of wins last year. As with Hendrix, it's a young team returning virtually everyone. That includes first-team WR Chris Lilly and LB Preston Stewart and second-teamers OL Jack Morgan, DL Marnado Soumahoro, DB Jackson Putnam, and P Mitchell Blanchard. Four of Berry's losses last year were by one score, so expect another year of experience to result in marked improvement.

Sewanee has not had a winning record since 2000, and although the depths of the late 00s are in the rear-view, this is still not a good football team. Both wins were by a combined seven points, while not a single loss was by less than 11. It's almost like the SEC days. Returning DB Alex Kops made the SAA first team, and second-team RB Devante Jones and K Callum Wishart also return. But it's nearly impossible to contemplate the Tigers posting a winning 2015.

Chicago loses third-team All-American DT Scott Mainquist from a squad which posted its best record since winning the Big Ten under Amos Alonzo Stagg with a 7-0 record in 1913. Just like their 8-2 campaign in 2010, it wasn't enough to claim a playoff berth, so now they'll try to earn one the old-fashioned way: by winning a conference title. Nine players return who were named to last year's University Athletic Association first-team, including Rookie of the Year RB Chandler Carroll, but two things are worth noting for perspective: the UAA only has four teams, and the Maroons lose six UAA first-teamers, including QB Patrick Ryan and Manquin, the UAA Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year. Still: Chicago will threaten Centre. They may not win the league, but their presence is going to be felt during the two years they're in it.

Washington (MO) went 8-3 and earned a playoff bid in 2013, their best season since 2001. But they slid hard last year, and notably only went 1-4 against teams in this year's SAA. P Alec Stanke was the UAA Special Teams Player of the Year, and he returns along with six other UAA first-teamers. The Bears should improve, but not enough to seriously challenge for the SAA title.

Game of the year: Centre travels to Chicago on September 26, and the winner will probably spend the rest of 2015 looking in the rear-view mirror -- unless Rhodes rear-ends them.