Charlotte 49ers football is moving up big in the world of college football next year, but their new neighborhood, Conference USA, may prove to be somewhat menacing.
Charlotte’s foray into the ranks of the FBS next year, in only their third year of football, is going to be a real challenge for the 49ers. They are an independent this year in the FCS and they don’t play a single FBS game. Nine of their 11 games are against FCS competition. The other two are from even lower divisions. They lost heavily to three of their FCS opponents last year who appear on this year’s schedule, North Carolina Central, James Madison, and high-quality Coastal Carolina. The North Carolina Central game is away as are four of the other FCS games this year. Charlotte is playing name-brand FCS schools that take their football very seriously. They are going to lose some of these games.
The real problem is that they jump into the FBS frying pan for real next year and join Conference USA. This year’s schedule is really not preparing the Charlotte 49ers for the level of football fire they will see in Conference USA next year. With the likes of Marshall, Western Kentucky, Middle Tennessee State, Rice, Texas-San Antonio, Louisiana Tech, North Texas, Southern Mississippi and UTEP lurking, not to mention the rest of the southern schools, the leap from this year’s schedule to next will give a new meaning to the word quantum.
Enjoy your cupcakes now Charlotte, if you can. Some of these will be more than Charlotte can handle. As for next year, if Charlotte is looking around for who the cupcake is in Conference USA and can’t find one, it is because, well, dear Charlotte, dear, dear Charlotte, the cupcake is you. I guess turnabout is fair play.