Thursday, September 26, 2013

ESPN's Fowler: Charlotte 49ers' football plan 'ambitious'

ESPN's Chris Fowler spoke to the Charlotte Touchdown Club on Thursday. I caught up with him and asked him several questions for a Q&A for Friday's Observer. Among the topics was Charlotte 49ers football. Although he asked that I not quiz him on the 49ers' depth chart, he did say he knew that Charlotte was playing football now and had a few opinions on the course the program is taking.

Q. So, as a college football expert, you know that the Charlotte 49ers have a football team now, right?

Fowler: Absolutely. I’m aware that they’re a start-up and they won their first couple of games.

Q. What do you think of their plan of moving from the Football Championship Subdivision to the Football Bowl Subdivision’s Conference USA in two years?

Fowler: It’s ambitious. (GameDay) was just at the number one team in FCS, North Dakota State, and it’s a big issue for them. Do they want to build a dynasty (in FCS) or move up? Egos aside, they’re happy to be there and win championships and to stay at 63 scholarships.
But moving up, like the 49ers want to do, is a huge leap. For the prestige of the school and the egos involved, you want to be at the highest level, but you have to be prepared to take your lumps.

Q. How does the uncertainty of the college football landscape play into that?

Fowler: You don’t know what it will be like in five or 10 years. You don’t even know that Conference USA will be at the highest level if there’s going to be a split (among the current BCS leagues and other FBS leagues). Even the fact that it’s called F – “B” – S makes no sense (anymore) because we’re going to a playoff system.

So programs like Charlotte could get lost in the shuffle. That’s no disrespect: but there are just too many variables that could come into play, like full cost of attendance or pay for play. I don’t know where that’s going to put schools like Charlotte. But they have an ambitious plan, I’ll say that.

Q. Where do the 49ers fit in recruiting in the Charlotte area?

Fowler: That’s why I think it’s ambitious. So many programs make recruiting North Carolina talent crucial to their plans. And the ACC has a hard time defending their borders from the SEC. (UNC), Clemson and N.C. State really struggle protecting that turf against the SEC.

Now the 49ers step in. They’re not going to go after those kinds of players, at least not now. But they want to get a couple of them to believe in them after they’ve been offered by somebody else. They’re competing with Appalachian State and East Carolina for a certain kind of player, too. So the 49ers are trying to sell their program on a couple of different levels.

Q. What’s it like taking GameDay to a place like Fargo, N.D.?

Fowler: We expected it to be cool, but it went beyond our wildest dreams. It’s an example of a program with fans who wanted to show the world they’re as passionate and crazy about their team as anybody. And it was easier to get to, surprisingly, than places like Tuscaloosa or Eugene.

Q. How about a GameDay for Gardner-Webb at Charlotte next week?

Fowler (laughing): That could be on my list. But a lot of things would have to happen first.


Anonymous said...









Anonymous said...

4:23pm is absolutely correct. We need to change our name to the University of Charlotte and be done with all of this "confusion". This should be a high priority behind adding a medical school.

Anonymous said...

Yep. Agree with both responses. Changing the name to the 'University of Charlotte" would help a bunch.

Like the article said, for the presitige of the school, you want to be at the highest level. You want to be ambitious. Hitching your wagon to a school over an hour away in Chapel Hill is not ambitious, prestigious, or wanting to be at the highest level

Anonymous said...

True, because UCLA (University of California - Los Angeles) and UNLV (University of Nevada - Las Vegas) are just wannabe programs glomming on to the main school...

Anonymous said...

University of Charlotte? is a public school that is a member of the UNC system. There is no confusion, UNCC, UNC Charlotte, Charlotte: simple.

Anonymous said...

To 7:0 as soon as App goes by UNC Boone, NC State goes by UNC Raleigh and ECU goes by UNC Greenville and UNC goes by their TRUE name UNC Chapel Hill then I will agree with you!

Anonymous said...

Obviously some confusion exist with
San Francisco 49ers
NFL team.

Kish, freshman unc chapel hill

Anonymous said...

Charlotte doesn't recruit against ECU. Maybe one day but not right now. Might even be hard to get some of the top App St targets.

Anonymous said...

Ecu built a good name for themselves under skip. But skips gone and its been downhill with ruffin.
Same for app with moore.