Everybody can shake off the non expansion by the Big 12 and say it doesn’t hurt us, but it does. It sets a precedent for other conferences to wait until around 2022 or 2023 to make moves since the Big 10, SEC, or PAC could have a UT or OU fall in their lap (Kansas basketball and OSU/Tech to a lesser extent too). Our only hope would be the ACC, but there is little there to indicate they make a move either. So these are the things that would greatly help us out:
Playoff expansion to 8 teams. Even if it doesn’t include a G5 slot, this will greatly help us. Let’s look at reality, we have a great win over OU and a couple wins over solid teams with a loss to a solid Navy. And we are ranked #11. We win out and are for sure a top 8 team. Even in years when we don’t have two big P5 games, there is a reasonably route to get into the top 8 almost every year. I honestly don’t know if this will happen before 2026 or the possibilities, but this is the biggest domino for us.
A way to keep our coaches budget where it is and make a big push to keep Herman. I know some will say we can find another good coach, but they are way overstating that. A few years of us falling off could kill everything. We need to continue to increase alumni donations and keep the big donors involved.
A good OOC schedule every year. Again, in reality we wont be able to get an OU and Louisville like this probably ever again as long as we are a good G5, but we still need quality opponents and two P5s a year. If we have to beat up on mid level P5s like Tech and Arizona every year, we need to do it. Also our G5 games can’t be two pushovers. Schedule the best of the MWC, MAC, or BYU as a game each year to go along with our local G5 game. Some luck with Arizona/Tech making a top 25 run would help us too.
A top level basketball program. The 30 for 30 Phi Slama Jama is airing tonight. Even if we don’t get back to that level, there is no reason why we can’t be a top 25 team and make a run similar to Memphis. I think we are on the way there with the practice facility and new arena planned, but coach money comes into play again. Hopefully fans will increase for basketball as this keeps our schools name in the sports news until late March or (hopefully even) April which is great for our brand.
Of course other things go without saying: increased alumni involvement, increased push in academics, winning games, etc. Just my thoughts on some things that can really help us.