In recent weeks, the Rise & Fall series has chronicled the progress (or regress) of college basketball's major conference teams. But if I equated each team to a civilization, I was mistaken. It is really the NCAA conference that equates to a burgeoning civilization or nation, each with its sometimes stable and sometimes rotating member states. Like civilizations, the prestige and power of conferences wax and wane..
It has taken a couple of years for the fallout affects of Virginia Tech and Miami’s move from the ACC to reach the small time. But now that it finally has trickled down, conferences are starting to snatch up Independent teams like a starving kid at a donut shop.
UC-Davis is all set to officially move to the Big West, the Mid-Con has snatched up IPFW, North Dakota State and South Dakota State for the 2007-2008 season and Florida Gulf Coast is already getting looks before they are ever cleared to become a Division I institution. But the biggest winner of all? The Southland Conference. Full of mediocre teams, coaches and players, this conference reeled in a big fish when it landed Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, perhaps the best DI Independent ever.