It's hard to say right now if the most recent bomb to drop on college football will have any fallout on Appalachian State.
Conference USA, long rumored to be a preferred landing zone for the Appalachian State football program, merged with the Mountain West Conference on Feb. 13. The leagues had already formed an alliance during the 2011 football season to share certain resources. Now, they'll be one big-happy merged conference.
It's just unclear who will be in that conference.
Reports say that the mid-major mega-conference could have as many as 24 programs. Since both have been raided from mostly the Big East, plenty of good slots are still available.
Appalachian State's and Charlotte's names have been mentioned recently. East Carolina chancellor Steve Ballard said following the merger that both schools would make welcome additions to the league.
His reasons are basic — both are located in North Carolina. East Carolina, the only North Carolina team in CUSA, is located in Greenville, which is located far away from any potential ECU rival.
It's why East Carolina is open to playing Appalachian State in football and men's basketball, the two biggest money-makers. The Pirates should be even more open to the point of playing a football game at Kidd Brewer Stadium, or at least a men's basketball game at the Holmes Center, some time in the near future.
Both programs would benefit from a potential rivalry. Conference USA members for the 2013-14 school year are down to East Carolina, Marshall, Alabama-Birmingham, Tulane, Southern Mississippi, Tulsa, Texas El-Paso and Rice. That's after CUSA lost Memphis, Southern Methodist, Houston and Central Florida to the Big East.
Programs left in the Mountain West for 2013-14 include UNLV, New Mexico, Wyoming, Colorado State and Air Force. Hawaii would play just football in the MWC, but play everything else in the Big West.
ECU's travel miles is already heavy. Playing more games out west will push those miles off the charts.
It's risky enough for Appalachian State to make the move to the FBS. The FCS has been good to the Mountaineers. Thanks mostly to its upset of Michigan in 2007, Appalachian State has national name recognition, which is rare for an FCS team.
read more: http://www2.wataugad...s-ASU-id-007055