Now that NDSU has made a decision on head coach, the first order of business for Dave Richman is to make sure the four signed incoming freshmen intend to honor their commitment. Mark Miller from WisSports.net reported Thursday that Paul Miller intends to keep his commitment to NDSU for next year. I spoke with Germantown (WI) head coach Steve Showalter today he said that Jake Showalter (his son) and Evan Wesenberg plan to meet with the Bison coaches about their status. Have not heard any change of commitment from Prior Lake’s Jon Sobaski, the other signed commitment. NDSU has two scholarships left to play with, a JUCO big man is coming in for a visit this weekend for Richman to look at.
Some other news tonight; the rumor that we heard over the weekend became official as Western Illinois head coach Jim Molinari resigned as head coach of the Leathernecks. The full story is here from Peoria, with comments from Molinari, confirming he is joining Tim Miles’ staff at Nebraska.
Molinari leaves Macomb after completing revamping that program, the Leathernecks were bad for a while, but he turned the team into nearly an NCAA tourney team, losing to SDSU in the Summit League final in 2012. WIU made back to back CBIs in 2012 and ’13.
With Molinari leaving, that makes five of the current eight Summit League schools that will have new coaches in 2014-15. NDSU (Dave Richman); USD (Craig Smith); IPFW (Jon Coffman); IUPUI (Jason Garnder) and now WIU. It’s a league that we have got used to schools going back and forth, and now coaches are on the move and that’s a good sign that you have successful teams in a successful league. Add in Oral Roberts, who’s had a solid team for years and what you have is a pretty solid league that’s more stable than it was even 12 months ago.
Lastly, this story seemed crazy 12 months ago when first blogged about, but now it seems there is some serious steam about the possibility about Missouri State moving up to FBS and join the Sun Belt Conference. Brent Thibodeaux, who covers Texas State football for Rivals, tweeted Wednesday that the Sun Belt is hopeful for a 12th school in this order: James Madison – 1st, Missouri State – 2nd and Liberty a distant 3rd.
— Brent Thibodeaux (@BrentThibodeaux) April 9, 2014
While this news may shock or at least surprise some Bison fans, we’ve been hearing the rumors about Missouri State for a while. The renovation of Plaster Field is a real thing, they have a live camera that you can see the construction going on in Springfield. The Bears have not tore up FCS in recent years, 25-42 since 2008, Mo State won five games this past season, the most since 2010. The Sun Belt is eager to add a 12th school so that the league can stage a championship game at the end of the year for added revenue, and the reason why this is happening and soon is because the deadline to move up for 2015 is June 1st. The actual geographic footprint makes sense for the Sun Belt, despite the additions of two schools in Georgia and one in North Carolina, the rest of the league isn’t that far from Missouri (2 in Arkansas, 2 in Louisiana, 2 in Alabama, 2 in Texas). Western Kentucky is leaving for Conference USA on July 1, but with the additions of Georgia Southern and App State, the league will sit at 11 for this coming football season. We’ve known for a while that James Madison has been sought after, I don’t believe the Sun Belt is their fit, I think they want C-USA, and join their rivals from Old Dominion. As crazy as this is to think, this could happen and soon.
I’ll leave this post with this thought. If Missouri State does decide to leave, that brings the Missouri Valley Football Conference back to 9 teams. On one had you can return to a format where each team plays everybody. On another hand, there could be a possibility that if Mo State is gone, is it inconceivable to think that Patty Viverito and Tom Douple get on the same page and talk to UND? The Summit League would love to get to an even number and that would get them 10. I know Bison fans you can freak out know, but that’s why it’s a blog. Enjoy.