I'm rarely a fan of change. I like status quo. I stick by coaches longer than most other fans, because I am afraid of whether you will get something better or worse with the change. I'm nervous about changing quarterbacks in football, because you don't know that what you're getting will be better.
So, suffice it to say, I don't really like all these teams leaving the SoCon. The four teams leaving at the end of the year make me upset. Let me very briefly discuss my feelings on each of the four teams leaving.
I will miss the Mountaineers to some extent. They are a good program- particularly the baseball and football programs. The men's basketball program has been less than stellar in recent years, but they have had some solid performances prior to the Capel years. The Mountaineers are a good program, with name recognition. This was important to the SoCon. They got most of that from their football win over Michigan, but it still helps even in basketball. Level that I will miss them on a scale of 1-10: 7.
I'll really miss Davidson. I know most people really dislike Davidson because of their dominance in the SoCon. While they have found a perfect fit in the Atlantic 10 (a conference with no emphasis on football and one of the top basketball mid-major conferences in the country), they may struggle for a few years there. That being said, I'll miss the Wildcats. They keep the conference in the news, in general. They also care about basketball a lot. Since I care about basketball a lot, I like that. Level that I will miss them on a scale of 1-10: 10.
The Phoenix have never won a SoCon Tournament, and have not been members for that long. They play in a very small gym, that many peopl compare to a can of sardines. Yes, it's safe to say that I will not miss Elon much at all. Yes, their overall athletic program seems to be a bit on the upswing. Yes, it certainly seems that their men's basketball program is on the upswing. But that doesn't matter. They have brought no real exposure to the conference while they've been here, they haven't won in basketball while they've been in, and now they're leaving. Hey- with them gone, it's almost like it's the mid-90s again. Yawn. Level that I will miss then on a scale of 1-10: 1.
The Eagles are another traditional SoCon program- at least in my mind. They have brought some national exposure with their football program (though not as much as Appalachian State, because the Mountaineers upset Michigan who was ranked #4, and Georgia Southern only upset Florida who had only four wins), and have had their moments in basketball where they were pretty good, even if winning a SoCon Tournament always has seemed just out of their grasp. Will I miss them? Sure I will. They seem to be on the uptick again in basketball, and that's always nice. Level that I will mis them on a scale of 1-10: 7.
Yes, I was probably just too harsh to Elon. I just didn't think they brought a ton to the conference to begin with, they weren't here long, and now they're leaving. Oh well. The other three have been in the conference long enough that I will miss them when they are gone. I'm not sure what it all means. I'll enjoy having ETSU back in the SoCon, having VMI back will be fine, and Mercer I will enjoy having in the conference. But it won't be the same. And while change isn't always bad, I never enjoy it before it starts.