UNT is leaving the Sun Belt Conference for Conference USA. Previously UNT belonged to: Big West, Southland, Missouri Valley, Gulf Coast and Lone Star conferences.
No trophies, no stability.
Most schools joined the Big Ten Conference in the 1890s and stayed.
Since 1935, Iowa has played Minnesota originally for a prize pig, later for a 98-pound bronze pig. Since 1925, Illinois has played Ohio State for a turtle.
Since 1925, Purdue has played Indiana for the Old Oaken Bucket. Since 1943, Purdue has played Illinois for the Purdue Cannon.
Since 1930, Wisconsin has played Minnesota for bacon, later Paul Bunyan’s ax. Since 1950, Indiana has played Michigan State for the Old Brass Spittoon. Since 1953, Michigan has played Michigan State for Paul Bunyan’s Trophy.
For 63 years Illinois played Northwestern for a tomahawk, later the Land of Lincoln Trophy. The granddaddy, since 1909, Minnesota plays Michigan for the Little Brown Jug.
They’ve stayed together all these years ... for trophies.
Louisiana-Lafayette players are the Ragin’ Cajuns. UNT players are the Mean Green. If only they played each other for the “Green Cajun Trophy.” If only UNT played Arkansas State for the “Red River Ribbon.”
In middle Tennessee are distilleries. If only UNT played Middle-Tennessee for the “Little Brown Bourbon Bottle,” no conference swapping would occur.
Then, as I sit in front of the tube Saturday afternoons, I wouldn’t have to say, “Honey, get in here. I recognize the teams; tell me which conference they’re in this week.”