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Houston’s hiring of Dana Holgorsen flies in the face of the traditional progression of the coaching carousel. Sure, Group of Five schools have plucked their new head coaches from Power 5 staffs often over the years, but most have been coordinators or assistants being given a shot at their first head-coaching jobs, or recently fired Power 5 head coaches who seek another chance in the big chair instead of moving down the org chart and taking an assistant job at a bigger program. And then there’s Holgorsen, who with his agreement to a five-year, $20 million deal, becomes the only person to move from a Power 5 head coaching job to a Group of Five head coaching job without being fired or otherwise forced out. What Holgorsen did probably isn’t the start of a trend, but it’s still meaningful evidence that even if the Group of Five doesn’t have universal respect among big-time college football, at least its best teams do, especially within the American Athletic Conference. Read more: https://www.si.com/college-football/2019/01/01/dana-holgorsen-houston-west-virginia
“In every key indicator that can be used to evaluate the strength of a conference, the Sun Belt has risen in recent years,” Benson said. “In contrast to some leagues, our attendance is up and we’ve provided record end-of-year distribution to our schools that is 10 times greater that it was in 2014.” n 2013, the Sun Belt Conference – along with a few other conferences – were forced to make drastic changes in their alignment. The Sun Belt lost Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Middle Tennessee State, Western Kentucky and North Texas. In 2014, the Sun Belt went into action, bringing in five new teams including Georgia Southern, Texas State, Appalachian State and Georgia State to fill the void. Over the next few seasons, the Sun Belt was widely believed to be towards the bottom of the “group of five” Conferences, which includes the Conference USA, American, Mid-American and Mountain West conferences in addition to the Sun Belt. That is no longer the case. Benson believes the conference has quickly climbed the ranks within the Group of Five. “The Sun Belt was labeled so long at the bottom of the 10 conferences and that is no longer the case,” Benson said. “We’ve established the brand, established the credibility. As we compete with our four peer conferences, our goal remains the same: to be the highest-rated league in the group of five and send our team to one of the New Year’s Day games. There’s no reason we can’t do that and do it this year.” read more: https://www.troymessenger.com/2018/07/24/the-sun-belt-conference-continues-to-rise-within-the-group-of-five/
A decade ago, TCU was hardly the apple of the Big 12 eye; or any other major conference for that matter. The Horned Frogs had just posted an average attendance of less than 30,000, which ranked well below the likes of UTEP, New Mexico and Hawaii. TCU’s facilities didn’t measure up. And though a budding mid-major program at the time under Gary Patterson, the Horned Frogs were no juggernaut on the field yet, either. Today, however, TCU is the blueprint for those still in Group of 5 purgatory angling for Power 5 inclusion. And with prospective Big 12 expansion being perhaps the final train out of the Group of 5 station, the race is on among those schools to position themselves as strongly as possible should the moment of Big 12 expansion ever arrive. read more: http://espn.go.com/blog/big12/post/_/id/100904/the-race-is-on-among-group-of-5-schools-to-be-the-next-tcu