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Let’s talk about it: What’s a mid major?

We are bound to get some angry comments, but this is where we land for this season

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament West Regional-Arkansas vs Duke Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Friends, family, followers and haters of Mid-Major Madness dot com!

A new season is here, with real games starting Monday after a week of exhibitions that saw some highlight dunks and the like as Division I schools (for the most part) mopped the floor with non-DIs. With a new season, that means more realignment news in the offseason and already in the past week.

You will notice, like you probably did last season, that we at the old blog are covering some teams that historically the elders of MMM did not.

Let’s start with the obvious: We still cover not-a-mid-major-but-still-a-mid-major Gonzaga until Gonzaga doesn’t play in the WCC. Read this story for an explainer that sums up things nicely. Once the Zags leave mid-major league WCC for not-mid-majors Big 12, Pac-12 or Big East, then we will stop including them on the site.

Got it? OK cool.

Now to some that will rustle jimmies.

We count the A10, Mountain West and the American Athletic Conference among the mid majors, while we exclude the Big East.

To put it simply, if your favorite school is in the Pac-12, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC, Big East or ACC, then congratulations, you don’t root for a mid major. If your favorite team isn’t in one of those leagues, then you are a mid-major fan in our book.

If you are mad about this, kindly send a tweet to me (@lance_hartz) or the main account and we will respond in five to seven business days. I’ve updated the Mid-Major Teams by Conference page on the site to include who we count.

Here is a handy-dandy flowchart for you visual learners out there:

Is your favorite school is in the Pac-12, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC, Big East or ACC? If yes, then that team is not a mid major. If no, then that team is a mid major.
Mid-Major teams flowchart
Lance Hartzler

Some more in-depth explaining

  • We exclude the former conference of Kemba Walker step-back jumpers against Pitt because, well, look at who is there. Blue Bloods Villanova and UCONN, and some past mid-major darlings (that in my heart still count but we don’t always get what we want).
  • We get the top programs of the MWC and AAC — San Diego State, Boise State, Houston, UCF, Cincinnati, et cetera — are either in constant talks to move to bigger leagues (SDSU, Boise State) or are straight up going to the Big 12 next year (the other three I named). But, we can use some nuance here and understand the lower levels of those leagues are not as equal as the top end, and some put more resources into basketball and athletics than the rest. Context! Wow!
  • The A10 is perennially a fun league, and is regarded for the most part among the mid majors. It is fair to lump it in with the MWC and AAC as “high-mid-majors” (new term that we should make more real) because not all mid majors are created equally and that IS OK. The Big Sky =/= WCC. Sorry guys.
  • This is an arbitrary definition. It is going to change again when realignment reshapes things. ESPN counts the MWC, but not the AAC, Big East and Gonzaga using “Power 25” as their term; the Field of 68’s mid-major poll excludes the Big East, AAC, MWC and the WCC with “Top 60 Non-Power Conference” as their term of choice; even Wikipedia has a different definition, saying anyone not in a Power 5 is a mid major. So, my point is, no one agrees on a singular definition.

It is coming to a point where we need some new terms in the lexicon, but I think waiting on upcoming realignment is the right call.

Anyways, send hate mail to the proper channels. Let’s have fun this year everybody.