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Roadrunners not running from Texas State
I received several e-mails recently from a disgruntled Texas State fan questioning UTSA’s courage — or lack thereof, in his opinion — for not saving the Bobcats a spot on its first-year schedule.
Considering the proximity of the two schools, and the fact they already compete in a host of other sports in the Southland Conference, football would have been a natural extension of the “I-35 Rivalry.”
Someday, it might be.
But with both jockeying for membership in the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision, avoiding the Bobcats in the near future is less a matter of valor than sound business tactics.
The Roadrunners simply have nothing to gain, and so much to lose, by playing Texas State.
Their objective is clear. It’s FBS or bust. As such, victory against a Football Championship Subdivision opponent — even one as respectable as Texas State — would merely be an appetizer to the perceived main course.
Lose, and the Roadrunners yield critical ground in their attempt to secure regional dominance.
That’s why South Florida quit scheduling rival Central Florida.
The Bulls already had cornered the Tampa market. Why give their competitors an opportunity to wedge their way in?
The fact UTSA already deems itself to have the upper hand will no doubt rankle the Bobcats.
After all, the Roadrunners have yet to play, let alone win, a single football game. Indeed, they don’t even have their own practice field. In contrast, Texas State captured a pair of Division II national titles in the early 1980s, and made a run at the Division I-AA crown in 2005.
With an established program, there can be little doubt why the Bobcats would love to play, and likely crush, UTSA.
It’s the biggest advantage they have.
Otherwise, the Roadrunners hold the all-important trump card: The San Antonio metro area dwarfs San Marcos by a ratio of nearly 38-1, bringing the potential for significantly more fans, media coverage, sponsorship dollars and exposure.
As one UTSA official mused, why would the Roadrunners risk any of those commodities by voluntarily giving Texas State a foothold? Especially when the Bobcats already had — and squandered — the chance to cultivate a presence amongst the 1.9 million inhabitants in the San Antonio metro area.
The city sat wide open for decades, with no major college football team and only periodic infringements from various professional leagues. By sacrificing just one home game per season, Texas State could have established a formidable presence.
But now, as the Roadrunners finally emerge from their own slumber, that door is being barred.
With the University of Texas dominating Austin to the north, the Bobcats are in danger of being trapped in no-man’s land, pinned between two major markets, with minimal access to either.
And that is precisely where UTSA wants them.
Back in blue and orange: Though it wasn’t quite official, Wednesday’s student tryout represented Larry Coker’s first foray onto a football field since December 2006, when he led Miami to a 21-20 victory against Nevada in his final game with the Hurricanes.
“It doesn’t even feel like I’ve been away,” he said. “What’s exciting to see is my staff out here, working. I like these guys.”
Assistant Eric Roark was even more succinct: “I feel like I’ve got my manhood back.”
New gear: Coker said UTSA is exploring a potential sponsorship deal with apparel giant Nike.
“Hopefully it will be a four-year deal,” he said. “They see a future here.”
UTSA: 2011 football schedule
3: vs. Northeastern (Okla.) State
10: vs. McMurry
17: at Southern Utah
24: vs. Bacone College
1: at Sam Houston State
8: vs. South Alabama
15: at UC Davis
22: at Northwestern (La.) State
29: vs. Georgia State
12: at McNeese State
19: vs. Minot (N.D.) State
By Dan McCarney, San Antonio Express-News