ONE CONCLUSION reached when Conference USA schools released their football schedules Thursday was affirmation that Marshall would indeed visit West Virginia on Sept. 1, with the intrastate rivals playing football for the final time in our lives.
The second one was this: The proposed merger that I jokingly call "Megaconference USA" will not take place for the 2012 football season.
There's a "not so fast" caveat on the latter, though.
From time to time, reports dribble out that Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson and Conference USA's Britton Banowsky are working furiously on the merger, which apparently has expanded from football-only to all sports.
The goal, it seems, is to get a basic alliance in place for television purposes for the 2012 football season. One sign that the parties aren't joking: Sports by Brooks, which has operated since 2001, reports that employees of Mountain West conference television outlet The Mtn. have been informed that the network may cease operations after the 2012 MWC baseball tournament.
The site also reports that the deal is far enough along that attorneys are exploring the legal ramifications, especially those dealing with television. The broadcast deals the two leagues have in place - C-USA is in its first season with Fox Sports, for example - present complex issues, to say the least.
At this minute, there are 20 members in the two conferences. Fresno State, Nevada and Hawaii (football-only) are due to join the MWC, but Texas Christian is splitting for the Big 12 and Boise State and San Diego State are heading to the Big Not-So-East.
Joining that league from C-USA are Central Florida, Houston and Southern Methodist (SMU trying to play basketball in the Big East? Really?) Add and subtract accordingly, and you have 17.
You might as well factor in an expansion to 20, 22 or even 24 teams. There will be no lack of applicants such as Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Texas-San Antonio, Louisiana Tech, etc., etc.
I am not sure what to think about this marriage of self-preservation, what scheduling logistics to expect in which sports, or whether it will really increase TV revenue per school. I surely do not expect the megaconference to land "AQ" status in the Bowl Championship Series, if such a thing still exists after 2013-14.
Didn't we think conference realignment was a little crazy back in 2003?
The potential upheaval in the BCS overshadows another movement - one to limit bowl participation to those winning seven games.
Not sure such a proposal has a prayer, but keep an eyeball on it.
The reasons to do this are obvious: Does a 6-6 team really deserve a bowl berth? And aren't 35 bowls way too much? (I know one 6-6 team that wasn't apologizing for playing in a bowl last month, by the way.)
The Football Bowl Association will discuss that in its April meetings in Miami, Fla., where it will discover the proverbial toothpaste has left that tube. For example, good luck on stripping ESPN Regional Television of its seven bowls.