The Massachusetts Minutemen are reportedly considering a jump from the FCS' Colonial Athletic Association to the FBS' Mid-American Conference. The Rhode Island Rams already left the CAA a week prior, leaving the conference with only ten teams if UMass follows through. That's ten counting the Georgia St. Panthers, who won't join until 2012.â†µ
While the Big East and Big Ten are willingly creeping down the map, the CAA is rapidly shifting southward whether it likes it or not. Their two newest members will be Southern teams, as Old Dominion, based in Virginia, will join in 2011 (and all these defections could open the door for the Kennesaw St. Owls if they get on their funding grind, though the CAA hasn't been listed as one of their target conferences).â†µ
Short term, this would remove one of the Panthers' biggest travel obligations, take a strong program off the schedule, and ding the conference's imposing national standing. But in the long term, it would provide a clearer roadmap to the FBS. If UMass can reach the highest level -- please try not to sprain anything by asking your brain to think of the MAC as the highest level of anything -- then surely a program located in a much better college football region, state, and city has a chance.