Although Texas State athletics will not be participating in the Sun Belt Conference until the 2013-2014 school year, Coach Dennis Franchione represented the Bobcats at the conference’s annual media day in New Orleans.
The main topic for all of the program’s head coaches, including Franchione, was the current realignment among members of the Sun Belt. Two current Sun Belt teams, North Texas and Florida International, are to be replaced in a year by Texas State and Georgia State. South Alabama will be playing its first season in the Sun Belt this upcoming year.
Texas State will begin the 2013 season in its third conference in three seasons. Franchione spoke about the lengthy process, plus what advantages and disadvantages come with the transition.
“It is a process, no doubt about that,” Franchione said. “Two years ago we had 63 scholarships, last year we had 74 scholarships and this season we will have 85 scholarships. You have to make adjustments with everything you do. You have to identify who is in the league and how you fit in the league. Then you make adjustments.”
Franchione will be taking a peek at Texas State’s future, while keeping full focus on their current group of opponents in the Western Athletic Conference. Along with adjusting to team’s schemes and tendencies, there will be venues, college towns and programs that are completely fresh to the Bobcat football team.
One integral piece to the Sun Belt who will not be unfamiliar to Texas State is the conference commissioner, Karl Benson, who opened the door to the Football Bowl Subdivision by bringing the Bobcats into the WAC. Holding the same position in the Sun Belt as he did in the WAC, Benson was quick to stand behind the realignment.
“This is a transition year, and I’ve been through a lot of transition years in my previous position,” Benson said. “Although it can be awkward, it also can be manageable and quite productive.”
Aside from the conference changes, Franchione also had time to answer questions about the program and himself. The head coach talked about what the Texas State program can offer a young student-athlete and what pulled him back to San Marcos.
“This great thing about Texas State is that it really sells itself,” Franchione said. “With 35,000 students, 12 doctoral programs, good academics, $70 million invested in athletic facilities and the commitment to becoming a good FBS school. When I first heard about this job, I thought it would be FCS (Football Championship Subdivision), but they said, ‘No, it will be FBS.’”
Franchione is also embarking on a second media day in Las Vegas July 25 and 26.
“The Sun Belt offers us a good, stable league in which we feel we have a chance to compete,” Franchione said. “Fortunately, we will have a large senior class when we join the Sun Belt. That gives us some upperclassmen and that should help us in our first year in the Sun Belt. The Sun Belt sells itself.”
Follow Jordan Brewer on Twitter: @jbrewer32