Jul 6 13 5:46 AM

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Since I haven't started up a blog about UTA as I have been considering, I am going to post some thoughts about UTA's move to the Sun Belt here.

While the Southland and Sun Belt are comparable in many regards, there are some teams that will benefit from being in the Sun Belt more. Here's a list of the major team sports. Listed in order of greatest impact.

Softball - UTA was a really good team in the SLC. They still rank number one in total SLC conference wins and fourth in winning percentage (behind two current SBCer's), have five regular season outright or shared titles and seven runner-up positions, but one NCAA tourney berth. The SLC has sent multiple teams to the NCAA tourney once, ever. UTA has struggled in the SLC tournament, making it to the championship game only four times, with only one win. All time they are barely over .400 in the SLC tourney (they went 1-2 this year in the WAC). Having an at-large chance, as the SBC proved this year, could be an advantage. In the one year UTA made the tourney, they went 2-2. TXST will also benefit, as they have seven wins in six NCAA appearances. All the other teams in the SLC have a combined win total of six (and Nichols St got two of those in one year).

Football - It doesn't make sense for UTA to join the WAC, with an increase in conference payout, but a large increase in travel costs compared to the SLC, unless football is in play somewhere. The WAC, as a FBS conference, would make the move a little more wise. Then when the WAC imploded. Where does UTA move? Another FBS conference in the Sun Belt. While the SBC makes a lot more sense geographically than the WAC did, with teams from Seattle, WA, San Jose, CA, Denver, CO and Logan UT, it still has far higher travel costs than the SLC does. While the case could be made that upgrading sports made a move necessary, adding football seems to make that equation balance out better, especially in the fast moving world of realignment.

Baseball - UTA's marquee sport was nationally competitive and had numerous SLC titles. In a league that has placed more than the auto -bid somewhat often, UTA could have more than one route into the NCAA's. With the SBC placing four this year, they have a higher caliber, meaning UTA could be playing for more than just a berth, but seeding and depending on how the chips fall, hosting a regional.

Men's basketball - UTA was going to improve in this sport, regardless of conferences. After decades playing in Texas Hall, coupled with terrible play from two of the other three DFW teams and a coach on the radar, the Mavericks were going to start winning more than their history indicates. With the loss of MTSU, UNT and eventually WKU, the SBC is what it once was in the sport. Like the SLC, the SBC is probably a one-bid league in the future. The past version of the WAC was a better conference than the SBC, and that was with castoffs like Seattle and San Jose occupying the 270 or worse RPI's. At least compared to the SLC, the SBC doesn't have very many 300 RPI teams.

Volleyball - Honestly, regardless of conference, there isn't much room for decline for UTA, especially compared to what it was. The SLC was a mid-level D1 conference, good enough for one bid, but the seeding wasn't terrible, but still enough to schedule a team that was supposed to romp. At UTA, the program just has to start winning, period. With a conference that doesn't look much different in the RPI than the WAC or SLC did, UTA shouldn't have as hard a time getting back to where they were, especially in a conference with a few Louisiana schools and WKU and MTSU leaving.

Women's basketball - The one real sport that might be an even trade, maybe a downgrade. The loss of MTSU and their 16 appearances is a big loss for the SBC, they had an at-large in 2012. The SLC consistently had their league rep as an 11-13 seed when UTA was winning the SLC a few years ago. The last non-MTSU team from the SBC was a 14.