Red Towel Roundtable: Will WKU Be Missed?

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Oct 15, 2013; Bowling Green, KY, USA; Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns running back Alonzo Harris (46) rushes against Western Kentucky Hilltoppers defensive back Arius Wright (21) and defensive back Cam Thomas (19) during the second half at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium. Louisiana-Lafayette won 37-20. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Fletcher: The Sun Belt takes a hit with WKU leaving, there is no doubt about it. Year in and year out, the Toppers are competitive in virtually every sport, and when one sport is faltering (2011-12 women’s basketball) another sport excels (2011 football). There will be a huge hole left to fill in softball, and history is no longer on the conference’s side in basketball. The conference – Karl Benson, the front offices in New Orleans – will miss the Tops, with no question. As to whether or not individual institutions will miss WKU? Yes and no. South Al will miss WKU, as that is one of the oldest and (if possible) friendliest rivalries in the league. ULL will miss the Tops as well, but for different reasons. They are a despicable breed, those Cajuns, but now there will be no one to rival ULL as the best athletic program in the conference, so what’s the point? Schools like Troy and ULM will miss the Tops as well, but make no mistake about it – everyone, and I do mean everyone, will be glad they don’t have to face the Tops on their schedule – be it ULM in volleyball or Troy in basketball. The playing field in the conference is a bit more even, and that’ll make for a very interesting few years in the Belt.