Quinn's Corner: UNO should jump to the Missouri Valley Conference if offered

The two parties met Wednesday in Omaha

University of Nebraska-Omaha officials spent some time Wednesday meeting with the Missouri Valley Conference. 

It sounded like a joint "feeling out" process, as the MVC looks to replace Wichita State, which will be departing for the American Athletic Conference. 

I've found myself doing a complete 180 on this topic over the past few weeks.

On one hand, the Valley has been anything but stable over the past five years, and the Summit League appears to be on the upswing. Yet, that doesn't deter me from bouncing back the other way. 

In the end, here's the two biggest reasons why UNO should leap at the chance to join the Valley, if they are in fact invited to do so. 

The first being the fan's familiarity with other Valley schools due to Creighton's extensive time spent in the league. It opens up the opportunity for UNO to market their programs to a whole new set of fans. 

The Mavs already have excellent facilities and a top notch game day experience locked in, now its time to up the level (and familiarity) of the opponent. At the end of the day, marketing games against teams like UNI, Drake, and Illinois State is a much easier sell than IUPUI, Fort Wayne, and Oral Roberts. 

It also makes sense that the Valley would be interested in returning to the Omaha market, where Creighton had so much success. It's not realistic to think that UNO will pick up right where the Jays left off, but it would be a step in the right direction. 

The second, more interesting reason, is the notion that the Valley may be looking to add three additional teams, bringing the total up to 12. If I were a men's basketball coach in the MVC, I'd be very intrigued by the thought of playing a full round robin, 22 game conference schedule. 

Finding quality non-conference games is a bear for mid-major teams, especially home dates. A 22-game slate would take a lot of the pressure off coaches to find games without sacrificing quality or home contests. 

The reasons to jump don't end there. 

TV exposure would be better in the MVC (you'd actually have a shot of seeing a Maverick game on TV in Omaha), and the monetary difference is probably noticeable, but not significant.

There's a real shot that at least every few seasons, an at large bid to the NCAA men's basketball tournament is a possibility for someone in the league. That's not happening in the Summit League anytime soon. Even if that team isn't UNO, the MVC's revenue distribution model for NCAA tournament dollars will directly benefit the Mavs.  

Other sports (soccer, baseball, etc) would also potentially be entering a more competitive league, without sacrificing a ton of travel time. 

Per our conversation with Tony Boone of the Omaha World Herald on Wednesday, It would reportedly cost UNO a cool $1 million to leave the Summit League and join the Valley.

If they have the chance, they should ante up and make the move. 

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It's back to square one in the NFL starting Thursday night. 

Every team is undefeated. Every fan base (except for maybe the Browns) believes that with the right few selections over the next several days, the postseason is within reach. 

In reality, teams the "win" the NFL draft have experienced mixed results the following season, but occasionally, teams will find the right combination of players to elevate their club to the next level.

Look no further than the Dallas Cowboys a year ago, who replaced both their QB and RB on draft night, setting the table for a great regular season.  

That said, here's a few clubs to be on the lookout for in the 2017 NFL Draft that could drastically improve their fortunes. 

Cleveland Browns

Yes, the Browns top the list (again) this season. 

Cleveland has four picks inside the top 60, which in reality, means they could be replacing four starters with drafted rookies over the next few days. 

Defensive end Myles Garrett (Texas A&M) is nearly a lock for the #1 overall selection, and it feels like the Browns will end up with North Carolina QB Mitchell Trubinsky somewhere in the first round as well. 

It's a deep secondary class in this year's draft - don't be surprised if the Browns dabble in that market early as well. 

Tennessee Titans

The Titans also have two first round picks, including the #5 overall pick, acquired from the Los Angeles Rams. 

Luckily for Tennessee, two of their biggest needs are defensive back and wide receiver, both relatively deep groups this year. 

I'd look for the Titans to grab Clemson WR Mike Wiliams at #5, and a defensive back at #18 when they choose again. Williams is the top wide out available, and USC's Adoree Jackson is an intriguing name to watch later in the round. 

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers nearly won the Super Bowl in 2015, and cratered hard in 2016, leading to the #8 overall pick Thursday night. 

In reality, Carolina probably wasn't as good as they appeared to be in 2015, but also aren't nearly as bad as what they showed last season. 

Adding a dynamic play maker like Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey to compliment QB Cam Newton and WR Kelvin Benjamin could make the Carolina offense a scary proposition in 2017.  

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Something I've been into lately (just something random I find to be awesome): 

Realizing I'm late to this particular party, I've been really digging Maren Morris' album Hero recently. 

It's the perfect blend of country, blues, and pop - smooth guitar sounds, vintage drums, not a lot of space filling junk, and her bluesy voice carrying every track forward. 

For country fans (like myself) Morris is a welcome departure from the likes of Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, and numerous other female country singers that have dominated the landscape recently. 

Hero has just enough edge to make it really stand out. It's well worth a listen, especially beyond her hit singles (My Church, 80's Mercedes

 

Contact the writer: 

Joe@AM590ESPNRadio.com

Twitter: @JoeESPN590

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