Hello friends. Per a request, here is a running list of those who have gone missing in East Texas. As a journalist in this area, these are the individuals I have noticed as part of the missing groups I frequent. Please feel free to direct me to more. As it is my line of work, I care deeply. Some of these individuals I know about, some I do not know much about. There are many more, but this first post is just the time range of 2000-2020. I will do other time periods if there is interest, although older cases are harder to track.
They are organized alphabetically. Albright, Alwin
- last seen 7/6/19 walking away from his home on Scott Street in Gilmer in Upshur County. He is 74 years old with grey hair and blue eyes. He’s 5’10” and 250 pounds. He was last seen wearing a red shirt and blue jeans. Mr. Albright has medical issues and is without the medications he needs. There is a $1000 reward for information regarding his whereabouts. Anyone with information should contact the Upshur County Sheriff. Alvarado, Eric “Slow”
- Last seen 11/20/18. Disappeared from Atlanta, Texas, he is 6’5” and 180 pounds. He was 32 years old, and now would be 34. He was last seen wearing camouflage pajama pants, a white t-shirt, and a gray zip-up jacket. He also may have the glasses he was wearing. He has tattoos on his arms, chest and neck. There is a $10,000 reward for information on his whereabouts. Anyone with information should contact the Atlanta, TX police. Birdwell, Jerrod
- Last seen 1/6/14. Missing from Tyler, Jerrod was 17 at the time he disappeared. His height is listed as 5’5” and weight as 170 pounds, but he may have grown. He is white, with short black hair and brown eyes. There are no more details available about him. Anyone with information should contact the Smith County Sheriff. Boehm, Frederick “Lil Joe” Joseph
- Last seen 1/25/01. 6’0”, 130 pounds, white male with hazel eyes and brown hair missing from Marshall. He has a rebel flag tattoo on his upper arm. His sister Jolene is searching for answers and offering a $5000 reward. Anyone with information should contact the Harrison County Sheriff. Cannon, Heather Danielle
- Last seen 8/27/09. The 15-year-old disappeared from Athens, Texas. Authorities believe she left of her own accord, and she was last seen in the company of her biological father, Jerral Allen Whitley. Whitley refused to take a polygraph test after Heather's disappearance and was later incarcerated in Florida for drug offenses and grand theft. He was imprisoned for 18 months before being released in October 2014. Police have since completed excavations of a property on County Road 4837, near Larue. Anyone with information should contact the Henderson County Sheriff. Childress, Antoinette Renee
- Last seen 10/13/15. Missing from Henderson at her trailer home. About a month before Childress went missing, her sister, Patricia Nichols, began receiving strange Facebook messages from her. The first message said there was an emergency and Childress needed her phone number. Three weeks later Nichols got another message that just said "Sister where are I, what's going on." On October 6, Nichols got a voice message from Childress's Facebook account. The message said something about guardian angels, but the voice wasn't Childress's. Nichols left home after that and didn't return until November 6, by which time Childress was missing.
Two women contacted Nichols after Childress's disappearance and said they knew what had happened to her. The women stated Childress had been involved in using and selling drugs, and gotten some bad people angry, and was tortured and killed as a result. This information has not been verified.
Childress was seeing Felipe Villanueva at the time of his disappearance. He is considered a person of interest in her case and has multiple warrants for his arrest on drug-related charges and driving without a license. His current whereabouts are unknown and it's unclear whether he's still in the area.
A few days after Childress was reported missing, police found her car being driven by a man in Henderson. He was arrested on an unrelated charge, and stated Childress had sold him the vehicle, something her family finds difficult to believe.
Childress has a warrant out for her arrest, but she's considered a missing person rather than a fugitive. Childress had just gotten off probation at the time and was trying to clean up her life. Her case remains unsolved and foul play is suspected. Anyone with information should call the Henderson County Sheriff Combs, Donnie “Bon Jovi” and Cynthia Arnold (went missing together)
- The pair was last seen 9/26/18 in Linden, near Atlanta, Texas in Cass County. Combs called Arnold and asked her to come pick him up in Cass Countyand she left home to do so. A little while later she contacted her mother and said Combs hadn't arrived and she was still waiting at the meeting spot. Neither of them has ever been heard from again. A few days after they were last seen, Arnold's truck was found abandoned and burned in Marion County, Texas. While Kevin Dewayne Shepard Jr. and his uncle, Gary Edward Shepard were charged in Oct. 2020 with capital murder of the pair, their bodies have never been found. They face the death penalty if convicted. Anyone with information should contact the Cass County Sheriff. Culberson, Larry-
Last seen 9/4/13. Larry went missing from his home on County Road 4320 in Emory. Larry had been having some medical issues shortly before his disappearance. Larry was last known to be wearing camouflage-style gray pants, a white T-shirt and he might be wearing high-top tennis shoes. He was 56 at the time of his disappearance. An extensive search was conducted in the area without any result. His medical condition causes him to walk with a limp. Anyone with information should contact the Rains County Sheriff. Dunn, Hartford Hunter
- Last seen 8/5/04. Vanished from his home in the 200 block of Private Road 4002 in Marshall in the early morning hours, his daughter said she woke up at 7:30 a.m. and found the door open and her father gone. At 76 years old, he was in the beginning years of dementia. He has not been seen since. Anyone with information should contact the Marshall Police. Flint, Kimberly Carter
- Last seen 9/29/18. Kim’s car was found partially crashed and abandoned in the roadway of State Highway 154 near the rural community of Rekaw, in Rusk County. Her purse ID, as well as other possessions, were at her home, according to Kim’s son James. Picture evidence of the wreck shows damage to the front and side panel of the grey four-door sedan. "The vehicle it was found still in the roadway partially crashed," her son said. "She just wasn't there." Two searches, both immediately after the crash and 170 days later, turned up nothing. A witness believes he saw her speaking with someone in a white pickup truck, but as any local knows… there are a lot of white pickup trucks in East Texas. Kim was featured on “The Vanished Podcast.” Anyone with information should contact the Rusk County Sheriff. Farrell, Justin Kyle-
Last seen 05/11/04. Farrell disappeared from Nacogdoches, Texas. In March 2015, his skeletal remains were found near Cushing in Nacogdoches County, Texas. They were identified in April 2015. Farrell's death remains under investigation and has not yet been ruled a homicide. Anyone with information should contact the Nacogdoches County Sheriff. Fleisher, Steven Miller
- Last seen 9/14/16. Missing from Troup, he was last seen around 6:15 a.m. in the 1200 block of Noble Street. Police say Fleisher did not take any of his belongings with him and his family has been unable to contact him. He was 53 years old at the time of his disappearance. Anyone with information should contact the Smith County Sheriff. Flores, Lydia
- Last seen 10/11/20. Reported missing on Oct. 19 by her Shreveport, LA boyfriend, who said he had not heard from her since Oct. 11. She is a 40-year-old Hispanic female, and has two tattoos: a barbed wire on her bicep and a playboy bunny on her lower back. She is 5’1” and 115 pounds. She has brown eyes and auburn hair. She is from Longview, but anyone with information should contact the Shreveport Police Department. Franklin, Johnny William
- Last seen 10/21/08. The black male, 5'9" tall and 150 pounds was last seen in Tyler. His vehicle was located in a church parking lot at 3009 N. Grand Ave. on October 21, but police said they saw no signs of foul play. He was 53 at the time of his disappearance. Anyone with information should contact the Smith County Sheriff. Gallegos, Veronica-
Last seen 01/11/05. Missing from Gun Barrel City at the age of 19, Her live-in boyfriend said she packed a suitcase and left; he speculated she'd returned to her native Mexico. She has never been heard from again. Gallegos left behind her purse, her Mexican identification and her six-month-old child. Her boyfriend is considered a person of interest in her case and has stopped cooperating with investigators. Foul play is possible in her disappearance, but few details are available in her case. Anyone with information should contact the Henderson County Sheriff. Gipson, Tyress
- last seen 8/22/20. Missing from Jacksonville, Texas in Cherokee County, Tyress had just turned 18 and graduated. He is 6’0” and weighs 180 pounds. He has tattoos of the name “Lavance,” “BG$” and prayer hands. He is an African American man, wears his hair in dreads, and has braces. Anyone with information should contact the Jacksonville Police Department. Gutierrez, Marquita Leanna
- Last seen 11/11/19. Some report her as missing out of Canton, while others report her as missing out of Wood County. Marquita Gutierrez was reported missing after borrowing her mom's pickup that morning to go to a doctor's appointment, but the doctor's office said she never showed up. Her husband told police she was last seen in the Dallas area and was possibly heading toward Laredo. Her husband has been named a person of interest in her case. Anyone with information should contact the Wood County Sheriff Hunt, Shirley Mae
- last seen 6/17/07. Missing from Henderson, Shirley was last seen walking on County Road 454 near her home in rural Rusk County. She had alzheimers at the time of her disappearance. She is 5’4”, 140 pounds with hazel eyes, white hair and a partial denture plate. She wears eyeglasses with a gold wire frame, and was 72 at the time of her disappearance. Sheriff’s deputies believe she got in someone’s car, due to scent dog tracking. Anyone with information should contact the Rusk County Sheriff. Jackson, Cole Duane
- last seen 07/13/06. Missing from Timpson, Jackson was last seen near FM 1645 and CR 4230. The truck he was driving came out of a private pasture and rammed into a fence. He stopped and spoke to the elderly man who owned the land. Jackson apologized and said he would pay $120 for the damage, but said he had to run to get away from the "bad people" who were chasing him. He abandoned his Dodge half-ton pickup with minor damage and left his two inhalers, which he needed, in the vehicle. The driver’s side door was open and the truck was still in four-wheel drive. Jackson's wife was three months pregnant with their first child at the time he went missing. Anyone with information should contact the Shelby County Sheriff. Lee, Anthony Tyrone
- last seen 6/25/11. Anthony was planning to go to the rodeo with his mother on the evening of June 25. When his mother came to pick him up for the rodeo, she found his home deserted. The ironing board was set up with the clothes Lee had planned to wear to the rodeo. His pants were on the ironing board with one leg dangling, as if he'd been interrupted while ironing and left in a hurry. His mother said he would not leave the house in his “house shoes” (a very East Texas thing lol) and he had $600 untouched in his bank account. About three weeks after Lee was reported missing, his mother got strange phone calls. A "death song" played on the line, then someone said, "that's what he gets for snitching." His mother noted that he had been associated with a known drug dealer and this person had wrecked Lee's car about a week before Lee disappeared. Anyone with information should contact the Texas Department of Public Safety (State Troopers). Marshall, Kimberly Ann
- last seen 3/17/17 after she spent one night in the Salvation Army womens’ shelter in Tyler, Texas. She was never seen again. Thirty-one years old at the time, Kimberly had cuts and scars on her arms, wrists and back. She also has upper dentures. She is 5’5” and approximately 105 pounds, although she fluctuates in weight. She has brown hair and brown eyes. Few details are available about her. Anyone with information should contact the Tyler Police Department. Martin, David Michael
- last seen 1/14/10. He was a truck driver based in Sand Springs, Oklahoma, and came home to Louisiana most weekends to visit his family. On January 14, Martin called to say he wouldn't make it home that weekend because his truck had broken down. He never contacted his loved ones again. The last person known to have seen him was the mechanic in Longview, Texas whom Martin took his truck to for repairs. They had dinner together, then Martin said he was going to wait on a friend to get truck parts. The mechanic left to do more work on the truck. Martin has never been heard from again. Anyone with information should contact the Sand Springs Police. Martinez, Gregoria Jacobo
- last seen 8/13/09. Martinez was last seen in Nacogdoches. She was born in Mexico and was living in the United States without documents at the time of her disappearance. Her two young children, both of whom are U.S. citizens, and they were visiting their grandmother in Mexico when Martinez disappeared. She had asked the father of one of her children for money to help bring her children home from Mexico. He agreed to meet her and lend her money shortly before she disappeared.Martinez planned to go to the Nacogdoches County courthouse on July 13 to pick up copies of her children's birth certificates, but she never arrived there. She has never been heard from again. She was reported missing on July 16. That same day, her vehicle was found abandoned on the side of County Road 525, near the intersection of U. S. Highway 59 south. There were no obvious indications of a struggle at the scene. Martinez may have gotten a ride south with a truck driver in order to find her children; however, her family never saw her. Both the fathers of her children have been questioned and neither of them have been named as suspects. Authorities believe Martinez was taken against her will. Anyone with information should contact the Texas Department of Public Safety (State Troopers). Marquez, Erin Raquel
- last seen 8/30/14. The 17-year-old disappeared as she was leaving the Longview Baptist Church in Hallsville, near Longview. She has long dark hair that was dyed red, and 5’6”, 130 pounds, and has brown eyes. Anyone with information should contact the Harrison County Sheriff. McKay, Melissa Darling
- last seen 6/10/11. At 1:35 a.m., Melissa walked out of the Choctaw Casino in Grant, Oklahoma with a white male companion, Jeremy Upchurch, of Lamar TX and was never seen again. Upchurch continues to be a person of interest due to his criminal background. Properties in Oklahoma, Delta and Lamar counties were searched, but came up empty. I can’t find an independent source to corroborate, but a personal conversation I had with law enforcement indicates they have found her vehicle in Oklahoma and presume she is dead, possibly due to drug involvement. Anyone with information should contact the Hopkins County Sheriff or Sulphur Springs Police. Meadows, Beverly Lofton
- Last seen 12/26/08. Beverly walked away from the Community Cares Nursing Home in the 200 block of west Merritt Street in Marshall, Texas and has never been seen again. Meadows had lived in the nursing home for about six years prior to her disappearance. She was supposed to wear an identification bracelet that would have activated the nursing home's door alarms, but she took it off before she left. She left without taking any personal belongings. Her mother, who lives 15 miles from the nursing home, believes Meadows was trying to walk to her residence. She was 48 years old at the time of her disappearance, 5’3”, and 240 pounds with short brown hair. She requires daily medication, and she doesn't have her medicine with her. Anyone with information should contact the Marshall Police. Morton, Sheila
- last seen 6/2/14. Missing from Center, Texas, Sheila’s behavior and personality changed drastically in the weeks leading up to her disappearance, according to her mother Joan. She had recently quit a restaurant job she had for seven years, moved out of her residence, and began hanging out with an old group of friends. Additionally, the last purchase Sheila was known to make was for a 9mm handgun, which was left behind when she disappeared. She was last seen at her ex-boyfriend’s house. Her phone was turned off the same day she vanished, and she has never been seen or heard from again. Sheila’s family members do not believe she would voluntarily leave her son behind. Anyone with information should contact the Angelina County Sheriff. Pierce, Ashley
- last seen 3/10/20. Disappeared from the Longview area, she is 5’3” and has a Hello Kitty tattoo on her thigh and a scorpion on her shoulder. She has long brown hair. Anyone with information should contact the Gregg County Sheriff. Salazar, Rosemary “Rose” Rodriguez
- Last seen 10/6/19. Attended a family birthday party at the Golden Corral in Kilgore, and was supposed to report to work the next morning at the Kilgore Walmart, but no-show, no-called. She has several distinctive tattoos, including a heart with a fishing hook, a deathly hallow, and the inscription “my person” next to a rose. She is a 5’4”, 185 pound Hispanic woman with brown eyes and brown hair, and it is not known what she was wearing when she disappeared. Her lime green 2014 Chevrolet Sonic is also missing. Anyone with information should contact the Gregg County Sheriff. Stewart, Harry Edward
- Last seen 11/30/11. Harry was traveling from Springtown, Texas to Alabama and was last seen in Hallsville, Texas. His age was 65 and he is white, 5’10”, and weighs about 170 pounds. Sheriff’s deputies determined he was driving when he hit something and had to leave his vehicle after his radiator overheated. Harry told the responding officer he would wait at the Dairy Queen on Farm-to-Market Road 450 near mile marker 604 for a ride. He was never seen again. Thompson, Lauren Colvin
- Last seen 1/10/19. At 1:53 p.m., Lauren made a frantic but coherent call to her mother. At 2:01 p.m., Lauren called 911 and told Panola County dispatch she was being followed. The call lasted for 21 minutes before disconnecting. Lauren’s family says it “abruptly ended,” police say the “cell phone died.” Lauren’s phone and shoe were found in the Rock Hill community, a rural area with less than 200 residents and more than 2000 acres of woods. A search by multiple law enforcement agencies turned up nothing. A $10,000 reward is offered for information on Lauren’s whereabouts. Anyone with information should contact the Panola County Sheriff. Tidwell, James “Jimmy” Lamar
- Last seen 2/15/12. Family members found his rural cabin in Rusk County abandoned, and later found his vehicle abandoned on Farm Road 95, approximately five miles from his home, without a battery. "I do not believe for one minute that he left this property of his own free will," his sister Lynn Akin said. The road was a route he took frequently. He was 58 at the time of his disappearance. The truck showed no signs of foul play, according to Sheriff’s deputies. Anyone with information should contact the Rusk County Sheriff. Valdovinos, Gustavo Baldovi
- Last seen 7/11/12. Missing from his maternal aunt's home on Houston Street in Tyler. He told his family he was an alcoholic and had decided to go into treatment, and he left with a group of people who promised to get him some help. The group he left with is described as a Caucasian male and two Caucasian females driving a white Chevrolet Z71 or Silverado pickup truck. Anyone with information should contact the Smith County Sheriff. Wells, Brandi
- Last seen 8/3/06. Was leaving the Graham Central Station nightclub in Longview at around 12:30 a.m. Her damaged car was found on Interstate 20 near the Brownsboro exit with her personal belongings inside. She was wearing rust-colored gaucho pants and a floral tube top, and is 4’11, 130 pounds with blonde hair and blue eyes. She was 23 in 2006, she would be 36 now. She was featured on Investigation Discovery’s “Disappeared.” Anyone with information should contact the Henderson County Sheriff. Witt, Jana Mann
- last seen 8/17/05. Missing from Glen Rose in Somervell County, Ms. Witt displayed personality changes several weeks prior to her disappearance. She has also gone by the names Jana Holstin, Jana Howard and Jana Branch. She was 44 years of age at the time of her disappearance, and 5’3”, 160 pounds with blue eyes and dyed red hair. The missing persons database notes that foul play is possible. Anyone with information should contact the Somervell County Sheriff.
Sources: News reports, Charley Project, Missing Eight East Texas and more https://www.news-journal.com/news/local/police-searching-for-husband-of-missing-wc-woman/article_7c5144ee-8434-5e12-9829-360d060c510a.html https://www.ketk.com/news/vanished-hartford-hunter-dunn/ https://www.panolawatchman.com/news/still-no-answers-in-lauren-thompson-case-a-year-after-she-went-missing-from-panola/article_07d707bc-4d15-11ea-8c84-af4fb2d30b79.html
TL;DR: Man with too much time on his hands goes deep down the rabbit hole on a concept this sub already didn’t seem that enthusiastic about. If you really want to skip ahead, CTRL+F “verdict” and it’ll get you there. submitted by
Two days ago, u/MrPhillyj2wns
made a post asking whether USL should launch a D1 league
in order to compete in Concacaf. From the top voted replies, it appears this made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.
But I’ve been at home for eight weeks and I am terribly, terribly bored.
So, I present to you this overview of what the USL pyramid might look like if Jake Edwards got a head of steam and attempted to establish a USSF-sanctioned first division. This is by no means an endorsement of such a proposal or even a suggestion that USL SHOULD do such a thing. It is merely an examination of whether they COULD.
Welcome to the
First, there are some base-level assumptions we must make in this exercise, because it makes me feel more scientific and not like a guy who wrote this on Sunday while watching the Belarusian Premier League (Go BATE Borisov!).
(Known) USSF D1 league requirements:
- All D1 teams must comply with known USSF requirements for D1 leagues (more on that later).
- MLS, not liking this move, will immediately remove all directly-owned affiliate clubs from the USL structure (this does not include hybrid ownerships, like San Antonio FC – NYCFC). This removes all MLS2 teams but will not affect Colorado Springs, Reno, RGVFC and San Antonio.
- The USL will attempt to maintain both the USL Championship and USL League One, with an eventual mind toward creating the pro/rel paradise that is promised in Relegations 3:16.
- All of my research regarding facility size and ownership net worth is correct – this is probably the biggest leap of faith we have to make, since googling “NAME net worth” and “CITY richest people” doesn’t seem guaranteed to return accurate results.
- The most a club can increase its available seating capacity to meet D1 requirements in a current stadium is no more than 1,500 seats (10% of the required 15,000). If they need to add more, they’ll need a new facility.
- Let’s pretend that people are VERY willing to sell. It’s commonly acknowledged that the USL is a more financially feasible route to owning a soccer club than in MLS (c.f. MLS-Charlotte’s reported $325 million expansion fee) and the USSF has some very strict requirements for D1 sanctioning. It becomes pretty apparent when googling a lot of team’s owners that this requirement isn’t met, so let’s assume everyone that can’t sells to people who meet the requirements.
- League must have 12 teams to apply and 14 teams by year three
- Majority owner must have a net worth of $40 million, and the ownership group must have a total net worth of $70 million. The value of an owned stadium is not considered when calculating this value.
- Must have teams located in the Eastern, Central and Pacific time zones
- 75% of league’s teams must be based in markets with at a metro population of at least 1 million people.
- All league stadiums must have a capacity of at least 15,000
The ideal club candidate for the USL Premiership will meet the population and capacity requirements in its current ground, which will have a grass playing surface. Of the USL Championship’s 27 independent/hybrid affiliate clubs, I did not find one club that meets all these criteria as they currently stand.
Regarding turf fields, the USSF does not have a formal policy regarding the ideal playing surface but it is generally acknowledged that grass is superior to turf. 6 of 26 MLS stadiums utilize turf, or roughly 23% of stadiums. We’ll hold a similar restriction for our top flight, so 2-3 of our top flight clubs can have turf fields. Seem fair?
Capacity is going to be the biggest issue, since the disparity between current requirements for the second-tier (5,000) and the first tier (15,000) is a pretty massive gap. Nice club you have there, triple your capacity and you’re onto something. As a result, I have taken the liberty of relocating certain (read: nearly all) clubs to new grounds, trying my utmost to keep those clubs in their current markets and –importantly--, ensure they play on grass surfaces.
So, let’s do a case-by-case evaluation and see if we can put together 12-14 teams that meet the potential requirements, because what else do you have to do?
For each club’s breakdown, anything that represents a chance from what is currently true will be underlined. Candidate: Birmingham Legion FC
Location (Metro population): Birmingham, Ala. (1,151,801)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Legion Field (FieldTurf, 71,594)
Potential owner: Stephens Family (reported net worth $4 billion)
Notes: Birmingham has a pretty strong candidacy. Having ditched the 5,000-seater BBVA Field for Legion Field, which sits 2.4 miles away, they’ve tapped into the city’s soccer history. Legion Field hosted portions of both the men’s and women’s tournaments at the 1996 Olympics, including a 3-1 U.S. loss to Argentina that saw 83,183 pack the house. The Harbert family seemed like strong ownership contenders, but since the death of matriarch Marguerite Harbert in 2015, it’s unclear where the wealth in the family is concentrated, so the Stephens seem like a better candidate. The only real knock that I can think of is that we really want to avoid having clubs play on turf, so I’d say they’re on the bubble of our platonic ideal USL Prem. Candidate: Charleston Battery
Location (Metro population): Charleston, S.C. (713,000)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Johnson Hagood Stadium (Grass, ~14,700)
Potential owner: Anita Zucker (reported net worth $3 billion)
Notes: Charleston’s candidacy isn’t looking great. Already disadvantaged due to its undersized metro population, a move across the Cooper River to Johnson Hagood Stadium is cutting it close in terms of capacity. The stadium, home to The Citadel’s football team, used to seat 21,000, before 9,300 seats on the eastern grandstand were torn down in 2017 to deal with lead paint that had been used in their construction. Renovation plans include adding 3,000 seats back in, which could hit 15,000 if they bumped it to 3,300, but throw in a required sale by HCFC, LLC (led by content-creation platform founder Rob Salvatore) to chemical magnate Anita Zucker, and you’ll see there’s a lot of ifs and ands in this proposal. Candidate: Charlotte Independence
Location (Metro population): Charlotte, N.C. (2,569, 213)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Jerry Richardson Stadium (Turf, 15,314)
Potential owner: James Goodnight (reported net worth $9.1 billion)
Notes: Charlotte ticks a lot of the boxes. A move from the Sportsplex at Matthews to UNC-Charlotte’s Jerry Richardson stadium meets capacity requirements, but puts them on to the dreaded turf. Regrettably, nearby American Legion Memorial Stadium only seats 10,500, despite a grass playing surface. With a sizeable metro population (sixth-largest in the USL Championship) and a possible owner in software billionaire James Goodnight, you’ve got some options here. The biggest problem likely lies in direct competition for market share against a much better-funded MLS Charlotte side due to join the league in 2021. Candidate: Hartford Athletic
Location (Metro population): Hartford, Conn. (1,214,295)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Pratt & Whitney Stadium (Grass, 38,066)
Potential owner: Ray Dalio (reported net worth $18.4 billion)
Notes: Okay, I cheated a bit here, having to relocate Hartford to Pratt & Whitney Stadium, which is technically in East Hartford, Conn. I don’t know enough about the area to know if there’s some kind of massive beef between the two cities, but the club has history there, having played seven games in 2019 while Dillon Stadium underwent renovations. If the group of local businessmen that currently own the club manage to attract Dalio to the table, we’re on to something. Candidate: Indy Eleven
Location (Metro population): Indianapolis, Ind. (2,048,703)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Lucas Oil Stadium (Turf, 62,421)
Potential owner: Jim Irsay (reported net worth of $3 billion)
Notes: Indy Eleven are a club that are SO CLOSE to being an ideal candidate – if it weren’t for Lucas Oil Stadium’s turf playing surface. Still, there’s a lot to like in this bid. I’m not going to lie, I have no idea what current owner and founder Ersal Ozdemir is worth, but it seems like there might be cause for concern
. A sale to Irsay, who also owns the NFL Indianapolis (nee Baltimore) Colts, seems likely to keep the franchise there, rather than make a half-mile move to 14,230 capacity Victory Field where the AAA Indianapolis Indians play and expand from there. Candidate: Louisville City FC
Location (Metro population): Louisville, Ky. (1,297,310)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Lynn Family Stadium (Grass, 14,000, possibly expandable to 20,000)
Potential owner: Wayne Hughes (reported net worth $2.8 billion)
Notes: I’m stretching things a bit here. Lynn Family stadium is currently listed as having 11,700 capacity that’s expandable to 14,000, but they’ve said that the ground could hold as many as 20,000 with additional construction, which might be enough to grant them a temporary waiver from USSF. If the stadium is a no-go, then there’s always Cardinal Stadium, home to the University of Louisville’s football team, which seats 65,000 but is turf. Either way, it seems like a sale to someone like Public Storage founder Wayne Hughes will be necessary to ensure the club has enough capital. Candidate: Memphis 901 FC
Location (Metro population): Memphis, Tenn. (1,348,260)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Liberty Bowl Stadium (Turf, 58,325)
Potential owner: Fred Smith (reported net worth $3 billion)
Notes: Unfortunately for Memphis, AutoZone Park’s 10,000 seats won’t cut it at the D1 level. With its urban location, it would likely prove tough to renovate, as well. Liberty Bowl Stadium more than meets the need, but will involve the use of the dreaded turf. As far as an owner goes, FedEx founder Fred Smith seems like a good local option. Candidate: Miami FC, “The”
Location (Metro population): Miami, Fla. (6,158,824)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Riccardo Silva Stadium (FieldTurf, 20,000)
Potential owner: Riccardo Silva (reported net worth $1 billion)
Notes: Well, well, well, Silva might get his wish for top-flight soccer, after all. He’s got the money, he’s got the metro, and his ground has the capacity. There is the nagging issue of the turf, though. Hard Rock Stadium might present a solution, including a capacity of 64,767 and a grass playing surface. It is worth noting, however, that this is the first profile where I didn’t have to find a new potential owner for a club. Candidate: North Carolina FC
Location (Metro population): Durham, N.C. (1,214,516 in The Triangle)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Carter-Finley Stadium (Grass/Turf, 57,583)
Potential owner: Steve Malik (precise net worth unknown) / Dennis Gillings (reported net worth of $1.7 billion)
Notes: We have our first “relocation” in North Carolina FC, who were forced to trade Cary’s 10,000-seat WakeMed Soccer Park for Carter-Finley Stadium in Durham, home of the NC State Wolfpack and 57,583 of their closest friends. The move is a whopping 3.1 miles, thanks to the close-knit hub that exists between Cary, Durham and Raleigh. Carter-Finley might be my favorite of the stadium moves in this exercise. The field is grass, but the sidelines are artificial turf. Weird, right? Either way, it was good enough for Juventus to play a friendly against Chivas de Guadalajara there in 2011. Maybe the move would be pushed for by new owner and medical magnate Dennis Gillings, whose British roots might inspire him to get involved in the Beautiful Game. Straight up, though, I couldn’t find a net worth for current owner Steve Malik, though he did sell his company MedFusion for $91 million in 2010, then bought it back for an undisclosed amount and sold it again for $43 million last November. I don’t know if Malik has the juice to meet D1 requirements, but I suspect he’s close. Candidate: Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Location (Metro population): Pittsburgh, Penn. (2,362,453)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Heinz Field (Grass, 64,450)
Potential owner: Henry Hillman (reported net worth $2.5 billion)
Notes: I don’t know a ton about the Riverhounds, but this move in particular feels like depriving a pretty blue-collar club from its roots. Highmark Stadium is a no-go from a seating perspective, but the Steelers’ home stadium at Heinz Field would more than meet the requirements and have a grass surface that was large enough to be sanctioned for a FIFA friendly between the U.S. WNT and Costa Rica in 2015. As for an owner, Tuffy Shallenberger (first ballot owner name HOF) doesn’t seem to fit the USSF bill, but legendary Pittsburgh industrialist Henry Hillman might. I’m sure you’re asking, why not the Rooney Family, if they’ll play at Heinz Field? I’ll tell you: I honestly can’t seem to pin down a value for the family. The Steelers are valued at a little over a billion and rumors persist that Dan Rooney is worth $500 million, but I’m not sure. I guess the Rooneys would work too, but it’s a definite departure from an owner in Shallenberger who was described by one journalist as a guy who “wears boots, jeans, a sweater and a trucker hat.” Candidate: Saint Louis FC
Location (Metro population): St. Louis, Mo. (2,807,338)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Busch Stadium (Grass, 45,494)
Potential owner: William DeWitt Jr. (reported net worth $4 billion)
Notes: Saint Louis has some weirdness in making the jump to D1. Current CEO Jim Kavanaugh is an owner of the MLS side that will begin play in 2022. The club’s current ground at West Community Stadium isn’t big enough, but perhaps a timely sale to Cardinals owner William DeWitt Jr. could see the club playing games at Busch Stadium, which has a well established history of hosting other sports like hockey, college football and soccer (most recently a U.S. WNT friendly against New Zealand in 2019). The competition with another MLS franchise wouldn’t be ideal, like Charlotte, but with a big enough population and cross marketing from the Cardinals, maybe there’s a winner here. Wacko idea:
If Busch doesn’t pan out, send them to The Dome. Sure, it’s a 60k turf closed-in stadium, but we can go for that retro NASL feel and pay homage to our nation’s soccer history. Candidate: Tampa Bay Rowdies
Location (Metro population): Tampa, Fla. (3,068,511)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Raymond James Stadium (Grass, 65,518)
Potential owner: Edward DeBartolo Jr. (reported net worth $3 billion)
Notes: This one makes me sad. Despite having never been there, I see Al Lang Stadium as an iconic part of the Rowdies experience. Current owner Bill Edwards proposed an expansion to 18,000 seats in 2016, but the move seems to have stalled out. Frustrated with the city’s lack of action, Edwards sells to one-time San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr., who uses his old NFL connections to secure a cushy lease at the home of the Buccaneers in Ray Jay, the site of a 3-1 thrashing of Antigua and Barbuda during the United States’ 2014 World Cup Qualifying campaign. Breather. Hey, we finished the Eastern Conference teams. Why are you still reading this? Why am I still writing it? Time is a meaningless construct in 2020 my friends, we are adrift in the void, fueled only by brief flashes of what once was and what may yet still be. Candidate: Austin Bold FC
Location (Metro population): Austin, Texas (2,168,316)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Darrel K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium (FieldTurf, 95,594)
Potential owner: Michael Dell (reported net worth of $32.3 billion)
Notes: Anthony Precourt’s Austin FC has some unexpected competition and it comes in the form of tech magnate Michael Dell. Dell, were he to buy the club, would be one of the richest owners on our list and could flash his cash in the new first division. Would he have enough to convince Darrel K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium (I’m not kidding, that’s its actual name) to go back to a grass surface, like it did from ’96-’08? That’s between Dell and nearly 100,000 UT football fans, but everything can be had for the right price. Candidate: Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Location (Metro population): Colorado Springs, Colo. (738,939)
Time zone: Mountain
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Falcon Stadium (FieldTurf, 46,692)
Potential owner: Charles Ergen (reported net worth $10.8 billion)
Notes: Welcome to Colorado Springs. We have hurdles. For the first time in 12 candidates, we’re back below the desired 1 million metro population mark. Colorado Springs actually plans to build a $35 million, 8,000 seat venue downtown that will be perfect for soccer, but in our timeline that’s 7,000 seats short. Enter Falcon Stadium, home of the Air Force Academy Falcons football team. Seems perfect except for the turf, right? Well, the tricky thing is that Falcon Stadium is technically on an active military base and is (I believe) government property. Challenges to getting in and out of the ground aside, the military tends to have a pretty grim view of government property being used by for-profit enterprises. Maybe Charles Ergen, founder and chairman of Dish Network, would be able to grease the right wheels, but you can go ahead and throw this into the “doubtful” category. It’s a shame, too. 6,035 feet of elevation is one hell of a home-field advantage. Candidate: El Paso Locomotive FC
Location: El Paso, Texas
Time zone: Mountain
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Sun Bowl (FieldTurf, 51,500)
Potential owner: Paul Foster (reported net worth $1.7 billion)
Notes: God bless Texas. When compiling this list, I found so many of the theoretical stadium replacements were nearly serviceable by high school football fields. That’s insane, right? Anyway, Locomotive don’t have to settle for one of those, they’ve got the Sun Bowl, which had its capacity reduced in 2001 to a paltry 51,500 (from 52,000) specifically to accommodate soccer. Sure, it’s a turf surface, but what does new owner Paul Foster (who is only the 1,477th wealthiest man in the world, per Forbes) care, he’s got a team in a top league. Side note:
Did you know that the Sun Bowl college football game is officially, through sponsorship, the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl? Why is it not the Frosted Flakes Sun Bowl? Why is the cereal mascot the promotional name of the football game? What are you doing, Kellogg’s? Candidate: Las Vegas Lights FC
Location: Las Vegas, Nev. (2,227,053)
Time zone: Pacific
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Allegiant Stadium (Grass, 61,000)
Potential owner: Sheldon Adelson (reported net worth $37.7 billion)
Notes: Sin City. You had to know that the club that once signed Freddy Adu because “why not” was going to go all out in our flashy hypothetical proposal. Thanks to my narrative control of this whole thing, they have. Adelson is the second-richest owner in the league and has decided to do everything first class. That includes using the new Raiders stadium in nearby unincorporated Paradise, Nevada, and spending boatloads on high profile transfers. Zlatan is coming back to the U.S., confirmed. Candidate: New Mexico United
Location: Albuquerque, N.M.
Time zone: Mountain
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Isotopes Park – officially Rio Grande Credit Union Field at Isotopes Park (Grass, 13,500 – 15,000 with expansion)
Potential owner: Maloof Family (reported net worth $1 billion)
Notes: New Mexico from its inception went deep on the community vibe, and I’ve tried to replicate that in this bid. The home field of Rio Grande Cr---I’m not typing out the whole thing—Isotopes Park falls just within the expansion rules we set to make it to 15,000 (weird, right?) and they’ve found a great local ownership group in the Lebanese-American Maloof (formerly Maalouf) family from Las Vegas. The only thing to worry about would be the metro population, but overall, this could be one of the gems of USL Prem. Candidate: Oklahoma City Energy FC
Location: Oklahoma City, Okla. (1,396,445)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark (Grass, 13,066)
Potential owner: Harold Hamm (reported net worth $14.2 billion)
Notes: There’s a bright golden haze on the meadow and it says it’s time to change stadiums and owners to make it to D1. A sale to oil magnate Harold Hamm would give the club the finances it needs, but Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark (home of the OKC Dodgers) actually falls outside of the boundary of what would meet capacity if 1,500 seats were added. Could the club pull off a move to Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma – home of the Oklahoma Sooners? Maybe, but at 20 miles, this would be a reach. Candidate: Orange County SC
Location: Irvine, Calif. (3,176, 000 in Orange County)
Time zone: Pacific
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Angels Stadium of Anaheim (Grass, 43,250)
Potential owner: Arte Moreno (reported net worth $3.3 billion)
Notes: You’ll never convince me that Rangers didn’t choose to partner with Orange County based primarily on its name. Either way, a sale to MLB Angels owner Arte Moreno produces a fruitful partnership, with the owner choosing to play his newest club out of the existing Angels stadium in OC. Another baseball conversion, sure, but with a metro population of over 3 million and the closest thing this hypothetical league has to an LA market, who’s complaining? Candidate: Phoenix Rising FC
Location: Phoenix, Ariz. (4,857,962)
Time zone: Arizona
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): State Farm Stadium (Grass, 63,400)
Potential owner: Ernest Garcia II (reported net worth $5.7 billion)
Notes: We’re keeping it local with new owner and used car guru Ernest Garcia II. His dad owned a liquor store and he dropped out of college, which is making me feel amazing about my life choices right now. Casino Arizona Field is great, but State Farm Stadium is a grass surface that hosted the 2019 Gold Cup semifinal, so it’s a clear winner. Throw in Phoenix’s massive metro population and this one looks like a lock. Candidate: Reno 1868 FC
Location: Reno, Nev. (425,417)
Time zone: Pacific
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Mackay Stadium (FieldTurf, 30,000)
Potential owner: Nancy Walton Laurie (reported net worth $7.1 billion)
Notes: The Biggest Little City on Earth has some serious barriers to overcome, thanks to its low metro population. A sale to Walmart heiress Nancy Walton Laurie and 1.6 mile-move to Mackay Stadium to split space with the University of Nevada, Reno makes this bid competitive, but the turf surface is another knock against it. Candidate: Rio Grande Valley FC
Location: Edinburg, Texas (900,304)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): McAllen Memorial Stadium (FieldTurf, 13,500 – 15,000 with expansion)
Potential owner: Alice Louise Walton (reported net worth $45 billion)
Notes: Yes, I have a second straight Walmart heiress on the list. She was the first thing that popped up when I googled “McAllen Texas richest people.” The family rivalry has spurred Walton to buy a club as well, moving them 10 miles to McAllen Memorial Stadium which, as I alluded to earlier, is a straight up high school football stadium with a full color scoreboard. Toss in an additional 1,500 seats and you’ve met the minimum, despite the turf playing surface. Candidate: San Antonio FC
Location: San Antonio, Texas (2,550,960)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Alamodome (FieldTurf, 64,000)
Potential owner: Red McCombs (reported net worth $1.6 billion)
Notes: I wanted to keep SAFC in the Spurs family, since the franchise is valued at $1.8 billion. That said, I didn’t let the Rooneys own the Riverhounds based on the Steelers’ value and it felt wrong to change the rules, so bring on Clear Channel co-founder Red McCombs. Toyota Field isn’t viable in the first division, but for the Alamodome, which was built in 1993 in hopes of attracting an NFL franchise (and never did), San Antonio can finally claim having *a* national football league team in its town (contingent on your definition of football). Now if only we could do something about that turf… Candidate: San Diego Loyal SC
Location: San Diego, Calif. (3,317,749)
Time zone: Pacific
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): SDCCU Stadium (formerly Qualcomm) (Grass, 70,561)
Potential owner: Phil Mickelson (reported net worth $91 million)
Notes: Yes, golf’s Phil Mickelson. The existing ownership group didn’t seem to have the wherewithal to meet requirements, and Phil seemed to slot right in. As an athlete himself, he might be interesting in the new challenges of a top flight soccer team. Toss in a move to the former home of the chargers and you might have a basis for tremendous community support. Candidate: FC Tulsa
Location: Tulsa, Okla. (991,561)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium (FieldTurf, 30,000)
Potential owner: George Kaiser ($10 billion)
Notes: I’m a fan of FC Tulsa’s rebrand, but if they want to make the first division, more changes are necessary. A sale to Tulsa native and one of the 100 richest men in the world George Kaiser means that funding is guaranteed. A move to Chapman Stadium would provide the necessary seats, despite the turf field. While the undersize population might be an issue at first glance, it’s hard to imagine U.S. Soccer not granting a waiver over a less than a 10k miss from the mark.
And that’s it! You made it. Those are all of the independent/hybrid affiliates in the USL Championship, which means that it’s time for our…
VERDICT: As an expert who has studied this issue for almost an entire day now, I am prepared to pronounce which USL Championships could be most ‘ready” for a jump to the USL Prem. A reminder that of the 27 clubs surveyed, 0 of them met our ideal criteria (proper ownership $, metro population, 15,000+ stadium with grass field).
Two of them, however, met almost all of those criteria: Indy Eleven and Miami FC. Those two clubs may use up two of our three available turf fields right from the outset, but the other factors they hit (particularly Silva’s ownership of Miami) makes them difficult, if not impossible to ignore for the top flight.
But who fill in the rest of the slots? Meet the entire 14-team USL Premier League: Hartford Athletic Indy Eleven Louisville City FC Miami FC North Carolina FC Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC Tampa Bay Rowdies Saint Louis FC San Antonio FC New Mexico United Phoenix Rising FC Las Vegas Lights FC Orange County SC San Diego Loyal SC
Now, I shall provide my expert rationale for each club’s inclusion/exclusion, which can be roughly broken down into four categories. Firm “yes” Hartford Athletic:
It’s a good market size with a solid stadium. With a decent investor and good community support, you’ve got potential here. Indy Eleven
: The turf at Lucas Oil Stadium is no reason to turn down a 62,421 venue and a metro population of over 2 million. Louisville City FC:
Why doesn’t the 2017 & 2018 USL Cup champion deserve a crack at the top flight? They have the market size, and with a bit of expansion have the stadium at their own SSS. LCFC, you’re in. Miami FC, “The”:
Our other blue-chip recruit on the basis of ownership value, market size and stadium capacity. Yes, that field is turf, but how could you snub Silva’s chance to claim victory as the first division 1 club soccer team to play in Miami? Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC:
Pittsburgh sacrificed a lot to be here (according to my arbitrary calculations). Their market size and the potential boon of soccer at Heinz Field is an important inclusion to the league. Saint Louis FC:
Willie hears your “Busch League” jokes, Willie don’t care. A huge market size, combined with the absence of an NFL franchise creates opportunity. Competition with the MLS side, sure, but St. Louis has serious soccer history and we’re willing to bet it can support two clubs. Tampa Bay Rowdies:
With a huge population and a massive stadium waiting nearby, Tampa Bay seems like too good of an opportunity to pass up for the USL Prem. Las Vegas Lights FC:
Ostentatious, massive and well-financed, Las Vegas Lights FC is everything that the USL Premier League would need to assert that it didn’t intend to play second fiddle to MLS. Players will need to be kept on a short leash, but this is a hard market to pass up on. Phoenix Rising FC:
Huge population, big grass field available nearby and a solid history of success in recent years. No brainer. San Diego Loyal SC:
New club? Yes, massive population in a market that recently lost an absolutely huge sports presence? Also yes. This could be the USL Prem’s Seattle. Cautious “yes” New Mexico United:
You have to take a chance on New Mexico United. The club set the league on fire with its social media presence and its weight in the community when it entered the league last season. The market may be slightly under USSF’s desired 1 million, but fervent support (and the ability to continue to use Isotopes Park) shouldn’t be discounted. North Carolina FC
: Carter-Finley’s mixed grass/turf surface is a barrier, to be sure, but the 57,000+ seats it offers (and being enough to offset other fully-turf offerings) is enough to put it in the black. Orange County SC:
It’s a top-tier club playing in a MLB stadium. I know it seems unlikely that USSF would approve something like that
, but believe me when I say “it could happen.”
Orange County is a massive market and California likely needs two clubs in the top flight. San Antonio FC:
Our third and only voluntary inclusion to the turf fields in the first division, we’re counting on San Antonio’s size and massive potential stadium to see it through. Cautious “no” Birmingham Legion FC:
The town has solid soccer history and a huge potential venue, but the turf playing surface puts it on the outside looking in. Memphis 901 FC:
Like Birmingham, not much to dislike here outside of the turf playing surface at the larger playing venue. Austin Bold FC:
See the other two above. FC Tulsa:
Everything’s just a little bit off with this one. Market’s slightly too small, stadium has turf. Just not enough to put it over the top. Firm “no” Charleston Battery:
Small metro and a small potential new stadium? It’s tough to say yes to the risk. Charlotte Independence:
A small new stadium and the possibility of having to compete with an organization that just paid over $300 million to join MLS means it’s best for this club to remain in the USL Championship. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC:
When a club’s best chance to meet a capacity requirement is to host games at a venue controlled by the military, that doesn’t speak well to a club’s chances. El Paso Locomotive FC:
An undersized market and a turf field that meets capacity requirements is the death knell for this one. Oklahoma City Energy FC:
Having to expand a baseball field to meet requirements is a bad start. Having to potentially play 20 miles away from your main market is even worse. Reno 1868 FC:
Population nearly a half-million short of the federation’s requirements AND a turf field at the hypothetical new stadium makes impossible to say yes to this bid. Rio Grande Valley FC:
All the seat expansions in the world can’t hide the fact that McAllen Memorial Stadium is a high school stadium through and through.
Here’s who’s left in the 11-team Championship: Birmingham Legion FC Charleston Battery Charlotte Independence Memphis 901 FC Austin Bold FC Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC El Paso Locomotive FC Oklahoma City Energy FC Reno 1868 FC Rio Grande Valley FC FC Tulsa
With MLS folding the six affiliates it has in USL League One, the league is a little bit thin (especially considering USSF’s requirements for 8 teams for lower level leagues), but seems definitely able to expand up to the necessary numbers with Edwards’ allusions to five new additions this year: Chattanooga Red Wolves SC Forward Madison FC Greenville Triumph SC Union Omaha Richmond Kickers South Georgia Tormenta FC Tucson Format of Assorted Leagues –
This (like everything in this post) is pure conjecture on my part, but here are my thoughts on how these leagues might function in a first year while waiting for additional expansion. USL Premier –
We’ll steal from the 12-team Scottish Premiership. Each club plays the other 11 clubs 3 times, with either one or two home matches against each side. When each club has played 33 matches, the top six and bottom six separate, with every club playing an additional five matches (against each other team in its group). The top club wins the league. The bottom club is automatically relegated. The second-bottom club will enter a two-legged playoff against someone (see below) from the championship playoffs. USL Championship --
11 clubs is a challenge to schedule for. How about every club plays everyone else three times (either one or two home matches against each side)? Top four clubs make the playoffs, which are decided by two-legged playoffs. The winner automatically goes up. I need feedback on the second part – is it better to have the runner-up from the playoffs face the second-bottom club from the Premiership, or should the winner of the third-place match-up get the chance to face them to keep drama going in both playoff series? As for relegation, we can clearly only send down the last place club while the third division is so small. USL League One –
While the league is so small, it doesn’t seem reasonable to have the clubs play as many matches as the higher divisions. Each club could play the other six clubs four times – twice at home and twice away – for a very equitable 24-match regular season, which would help restrict costs and still provide a chance to determine a clear winner. Whoever finishes top of the table goes up.
And there you have it, a hypothetical look at how the USL could build a D1 league right now. All it would take is a new stadium for almost the entire league and new owners for all but one of the 27 clubs, who wouldn’t feel that their property would be massively devalued if they got relegated.
Well that’s our show. I’m curious to see what you think of all of this, especially anything that you think I may have overlooked (I’m sure there’s plenty). Anyway, I hope you’re all staying safe and well.
The coolest trophy in all of college football is the three way trophy. The Commander-in-Chief's Trophy between Army/Navy/Air Force and the Michigan MAC Trophy between Easter Michigan, Central Michigan and Western Michigan are the only ones currently active, but we need more. What's more is that we could even have four way trophies that would be a ton of fun. submitted by
The Florida Cup(Miami/Florida/Florida State) and the Beehive Boot(BYU/Utah State/Utah) are semi-active, but they should happen almost every year.
Potential ones that would be easy and wouldn't require realignment:
Cascadia Cup - Technically the name of an MLS Trophy, but we will steal it because it fits so well, Washington, Washington State, Oregon and Oregon State. Makes too much sense.
California Cup - Stanford, USC, Cal and UCLA already play each other every year, even in different divisions. Simple.
Ohio MAC Trophy - Akron, Kent State, Ohio, Bowling Green and Miami are all in the MAC East. Toledo being in the MAC West. Swap Toledo and Buffalo, and the MAC East is essentially a six team trophy already, but that's sort of cheating. Without changing anything, Ohio, Akron and Kent State can have and Eastern Ohio MAC Trophy, and Toledo can play Bowling Green/Miami every year to create a Western MAC Ohio Trophy.
Something that divisional realignment would easily solve:
ACC Carolina Cup - Wake Forest, North Carolina, Duke, NC State. Duke/NC State and UNC/Wake Forest don't play each other every year, but because of the 8 game schedule, they all need to be in one division. Trade WF/NC State with Georgia Tech/Miami. Simple.
After this, it's pretty hard, but I thought of a few ideas that some creative and dedicated AD's could make happen:
Indiana Infighting - Notre Dame, Purdue, Ball State, Indiana.
Ohio River Trophy - Louisville, Cincinnati, Miami (OH), and Marshall.
Appalachia Cup - Tennessee, West Virginia, Appalachian State and Virginia Tech.
Coal Country Clash - West Virginia, Pitt, Penn State.
Rocky Mountain State Rumble - Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Wyoming.
South Florida Showdown - Miami, FAU, FIU, USF.
New England Cup(Lobster Roll Championship) - UMass/UConn/Boston College.
Mississippi Delta Madness - ULM, Memphis, Arkansas State, and Ole Miss.
Texas Is Not Quite Back Grand Prix - Cal, Kansas, Maryland.
Lone Star Holy War(Televangelist's Threeway) - TCU/BayloSMU.
Bay Area Rent Control - Cal, Stanford, San Jose State.
Oil Refinery Open - Texas A&M, Houston, Rice.
Red Dirt is Better Than Nashville Country - Tulsa, North Texas, Texas State.
Alabama Afterthoughts Altercation - UAB, South Alabama, Troy.
Battle for the Walter White Corridor - UTEP, New Mexico State, New Mexico.
Cocaine Cup - SMU, Miami, Arizona.
Amtrak Delay Derby - Boston College, Rutgers, Temple.
The I-10 Waffle House Tour - LSU, Louisiana-Lafayette(I guess just Louisiana now?), South Alabama and Florida State.
Rocky Mountain State Rumble 2.0 - Colorado State, Utah State, and New Mexico State.
Rocky Mountain State Rumble Version Family Values - BYU.
Battle for Myrtle Beach(Kenny Powers Cup) - Georgia Southern, Coastal Carolina, East Carolina.
Branson With Your Grandparents Lottery - Tulsa, Arkansas, Arkansas State, and Missouri.
Bottle Service Bonanza - San Diego State, Arizona State, and UNLV.
Hill Country Hullabaloo - Texas State, Texas, UTSA.
Shootyhoops Showdown - Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Indiana.
New Yorker Invitational - Miami, Arizona State, East Carolina, Coastal Carolina.
Californian Invitational - Nevada, Washington State, Boise State.
Bachelorette Party Brawl - UNLV, Vanderbilt, Miami.
Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy, Twitter Edition - Army, Navy, Air Force, Space Force.
Big 12 Reject-a-palooza - UCF, Houston, BYU.
Our God is an Awesome God Grand Prix - Baylor, BYU, Notre Dame.
Casino Money - Oklahoma, Louisiana Tech, Tulane.
I know I didn't get all 130 teams in, but it was hard. Any other suggestions welcome.
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