Bullseye D, on all points. Cowen definitely killed us after the 1998 season. One of the great blunders in Tulane history--equal to what Rufus The Dufus did to us.I could easily see the ACC adding UConn and Tulane or another quality academic institution. But we'd have to have Football and Basketball win and win regularly for the years between now and when the "Big Bang" happens. That's when all the "Power Conferences" go to 16 members (and hopefully there's still 5 "Power Conferences" in the aftermath) and the official split between the P5 and everyone else creates three D1 levels.Very simple. There will never be a P6 conference. The P5s will never agree to share revenue with a 6th conference. There might be a handful of G5 schools get assumed into a P5 conference if the money makes sense to a particular conference such as Florida schools in AAC moving into Big 12. But that will be the extent of it.
As I've said repeatedly for years, Cowen misreading the tea leaves in the wake of the 1998 season has cost this University a few hundred million dollars, and untold how many more going forward. We were in better position than TCU to get into a P6 conference at the time, and he pissed it away.
In the next 5-10 years there will be a big split. Dannen, Fritz and Dunleavy could be heros if we get into the "haves" rather than the remain with the "have nots" we keep company with now.
I have to believe that all P5 eventually go to 16 teams (four 4-team divisions) for a variety of reasons not the least of which is that it will create stronger geographic rivalries within each division (in all sports), reduce travel costs (especially for the secondary sports), and best of all allow each conference to have its own 3-game playoff in all sports. In looking ahead to the possibility of 16-team P5's, a total of 16 teams would be added to the P5's (Big XII 6; Big 10 2; ACC 2; SEC 2; PAC 12 4). Ironically the SEC might have the hardest time finding 2 teams (assuming anchor teams like OU and UT stay put). The PAC 12 will also struggle to find 4 quality schools. I could also see the Big 10 pirating Mizzou from the SEC, and the SEC taking WVa. from the Big XII--making the Big XII bogie 7 schools. Tulane's best chances are with the ACC and Big XII, with an outside shot at the SEC if the other SEC schools pressure LSU to cease their resistance. Fitts, Dannen, Fritz and Dunleavy have to be preparing for this day. As you said, hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake--something Cowen could never understand.