If you haven’t heard, earlier this week, 12 of the biggest European soccer leagues announced they were going to form their own league, called the European Super League. After an immense amount of backlash from the fans of those teams, many teams have pulled out and it appears the European Super League will not happen.
As we mourn the death of the European Super League, it has prompted wild speculations on what a “Super League” would look like for specific sports leagues. In this post, we will be taking a look at what a “Super League” would look like with teams from the Group of 5 football conferences.
I decided to select 20 total teams, breaking them down into two conferences with 10 teams each. Obviously with each of the Group of 5 conferences spanning across the country, geography could be a bit screwy, but I tried to group them as close as I could. Without further ado, here are the members of the Group of 5 Super League:
Appalachian State: One of the easier selections into this super league. The Mountaineers have gone 69-20 since jumping up to the FBS level and have won four Sun Belt Conference championships. And we know they can play with the big Power 5 conference schools, they’ll continue to produce consistent winning seasons in the Super League.
Cincinnati: Coming off their third New Year’s Six Bowl appearance since 2008 and sixth conference championship in that time, the Bearcats have been one of the most consistent Group of 5 programs since 2000.
Florida Atlantic: The Owls only began their football program in 2001 and their overall record is below .500, but the program has potential. The school is less than an hour away from Miami and it will help the Super League have a presence in South Florida and the Miami area.
Marshall: There is a long history of success at Marshall since they rejoined the FBS level ibn 1997. They dominated the MAC and have been a consistent winner in Conference USA, appearing in nine bowl games in the last 12 years.
Memphis: The Tigers’ recent success has helped them become nationally relevant. They have made a bow game every year since 2014, made a New Year’s Six appearance and are consistently at or near the top of the AAC.
Northern Illinois: The Huskies have gone 5-13 in their last two seasons, we know that isn’t great. But, they have been a staple in the MAC since 2010, winning four conference championships and appearing in the conference championship game seven times in that same time frame. There is also a geography play here with the school being just over an hour away from Chicago, this helps the Super League have a presence in the Midwest and great lakes region.
Temple: The Owls are consistently near the top of the standings in the AAC after Al Golden helped rejuvenate the program in the mid-2000’s. Similar to Northern Illinois, Temple is in Philadelphia, which is the fourth biggest television market in the United States. This gives the Super League a team in the Mid-Atlantic area and in a major city.
Toledo: The Rockets have been a consistent winner in the MAC, at the top or near the top of their division. They will help cover the Great Lakes region for the Super League and are only an hour away from Detroit.
UAB: Since returning to Division I in 2017, the Blazers have had four winning seasons, three conference championship game appearances and two conference championships. The program is on the rise and has a lot of momentum around it since it returned. They would be a solid addition to the Super League and consistently win.
UCF: How could we leave out the 2017 National Champions? The Knights have not only been a great program in the past 10 years, but they have also built their brand as one of the cooler places to go to school.
Boise State: It’s hard to find many college football programs that have been more successful and consistent in its winning since 1999 (their first of 14 conference championships in that time frame) than the Broncos.
BYU: This could be a controversial choice because the Cougars are an independent and they play a national schedule with a lot of Power 5 teams, but they aren’t in a power conference and being in this Super League would help BYU more than being an independent would. BYU is one of the more storied football programs on this list and I do not see any of the Power 5 conferences expanding soon, so playing for a conference championship and getting a lot of quality opponents in the Super League would be beneficial to the Cougars.
Colorado State: Has Colorado State been one of the 20 best Group of 5 teams in recent years? No. Are there other teams that might be more deserving to be in this league than Colorado State? Probably. However, as I started to get near the bottom of this list, I started thinking outside of purely football to put teams in. The Rams have a brand new stadium, they are in a top-20 television market and are one of the closest Group of 5 teams near the Great Plains states like Nebraska, Kansas and the Dakotas. All are solid reasons why Colorado State is a good candidate for the Super League.
Houston: Just like some of its fellow members of the AAC that have been mentioned earlier, Houston has been a consistent winner and been nationally relevant. Houston is also a top-10 television market, which can only help the Super League in exposure.
Louisiana: Better known by its nickname, the Ragin’ Cajuns (one of the best nicknames in all of sports), Louisiana is consistently at or near the top of the Sun Belt and will be a solid addition to this Super League.
Louisiana Tech: The Bulldogs are regularly at or near the top of Conference USA every season. They have won six of its last seven bowl games and have a couple of division championships. They will add depth to the conference and be a quality opponent for the rest of the members.
San Diego State: This was another one of the easier selections. The Aztecs have had a winning season every year since 2010 and are always a contender in the West Division. Also, San Diego is a great city and the Super League can plant its flag in Southern California with the Aztecs in this league.
San Jose State: The Spartans are coming off one of their best years in program history, going 7-1 and winning the Mountain West Conference championship. Brent Brennan has done an incredible job building San Jose State and it looks like they are building a program that is a consistent winner in the Mountain West. Now, there are other teams that did not make this list that have far more recent success than the Spartans and there is a compelling case for each of those teams. But, similar to Temple, San Jose is a part of the Oakland-San Francisco-San Jose television market that reaches over 2.6 million households. This gives the Super League a presence in Northern California
SMU: The Mustangs are another program that is on the rise. They are coming off another solid season where they went 7-3 in a shortened season and were ranked in the top-25 for a month. Sonny Dykes has pumped life back into the program and they will likely be a regular contender in the AAC. Also, being in Dallas is a huge plus for recruiting and the television market.
Tulsa: The Golden Hurricanes get the final spot in the Super League. Similar to Colorado State, Tulsa might not have as much recent success as other schools not on this list, but they just made the AAC Championship Game. This is more of a geography move to have another team in the southwest near the great plains states that lack representation in the Super League.
East Division: Appalachian State, Cincinnati, Florida Atlantic, Marshall, Memphis, Northern Illinois, Temple, Toledo, UAB, UCF
West Division: Boise State, BYU, Colorado State, Houston, Louisiana, Louisiana Tech, San Diego State, San Jose State, SMU, Tulsa.
Impact on the Playoff
If this were to happen and these 20, or some combination of 20 teams, decided to join a super league, this would have a great impact on the Group of 5 trying to make the playoff. A big part of making the playoff is the non-conference component, if any of these teams listed wants to make the playoffs, they will need some wins against quality Power 5 opponents. And to be in playoff consideration, the champion of this league will likely have to be undefeated. But, this conference, with these teams are better than any of the Group of 5 conferences as is, and might be just as competitive, or better, than some Power 5 conferences some years. It will be hard for any Group of 5 team to make the playoff, but if they cannot get an invite to a Power 5 conference as an expansion member, they this might be their best chance to get a team in the playoff.
What do you think of the list? Did we leave somebody out or is there a team in here that should not be? Let us know in the comment section or on social media.