If you haven’t noticed the homepage of our mother ship today, check out the new SBNation.com. For this site, not much will change, although our logo did get a minor update to match the new brand.
With SB Nation heading towards the future, today the college blogs are all thinking about the future as well. So let’s predict where USF football is heading in the next... oh, let’s say five years!
PREDICTION #1: Charlie Strong will not still be USF’s coach in five years.
I feel like this is a pretty safe prediction. Strong is in his mid-50s. If he’s able to (finally) lead USF to a conference title or two, maybe a New Year’s Six bowl, I think he’s very likely to cash in for one more shot at a big-time coaching job.
On the other hand, if things don’t work out well, Strong will become very expensive for USF to keep around. Texas is only subsidizing Strong’s contract for the first two years. If the Bulls are “struggling” along with 6 or 7 win seasons under Strong, suddenly USF would be seriously overpaying him. Would they decide enough’s enough?
PREDICTION #2: USF will have an on-campus football stadium sorted, but not built yet.
The university is being forced to move slowly on this one. I think they know where they want to build, but until the Museum of Science and Industry moves to downtown Tampa, they can’t really say anything about it. We’ll fudge the question about where the money is coming from, because we have five years in this hypothetical to fundraise and cozy up to sponsors and do what needs to be done. I think once USF can start talking about the MOSI site, the gears will start turning to make it happen. But we’ll still be playing in Raymond James in 2022.
(Another thing to keep an eye on — the Bucs’ lease at Raymond James Stadium ends in 2028. Do they keep playing there? Do they clamor for someone to build them a space-age stadium? How would that affect USF if they still didn’t have their own stadium?)
PREDICTION #3: Players we don’t know yet will play for USF.
OK, this is a cop-out prediction, but we don’t even know who will be in USF’s 2018 recruiting class, let alone who will be on the team in 2022. However, I feel confident that there will still be a team.
If you’d like a prediction about pro players, I think Marlon Mack will still be in the NFL somewhere. Quinton Flowers could be too, even though no one seems to have any idea yet what position he projects to play at the next level.
PREDICTION #4: The Big XII will be well on its way to extinction and USF will start prepping for its demise.
By 2022 it would behoove the more ambitious members of The American to open up a back channel of conversation with the members of the Big XII who might be up a creek once that league falls apart. It could benefit all of them to join forces and rid themselves of sporting dead weight, whoever that might be at that point.
Then again, this may all be futile because...
PREDICTION #5: The American will have a new TV contract, but we won’t like it.
As you may have seen, there were drastic cutbacks at ESPN last week because cable revenue continues to go down. Assuming cable TV providers will cling to their expensive bundles and younger viewers continue to reject them, money is going to start drying up for even the rights to lucrative live sports like football. The American is not getting huge money from ESPN as it is, but people seem to think they’ll automatically get more when the league’s TV contract expires in a couple of years.
Well... why? Where’s the money going to come from? Maybe it isn’t there like we all think it will be?
There is a silver lining to this prediction, though. The American doesn’t have as much to lose as the power conferences do if the pie gets smaller. How many of them have overcommitted themselves to a future where the money keeps flowing like water? What do they do if it slows to a trickle?
So those are my predictions... what are yours? Let’s get into it in the comments.