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Big East On The Verge Of Imploding?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

 

Here we go again!

Just when you thought that the game of conference musical chairs had finally settled down, there’s news that Maryland is leaving the ACC and Rutgers is leaving the Big East both for the Big Ten Conference.

Locally, this is another body blow for the Big East which has suffered more in this high stakes game than any other conference. A few years back it was Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College that bolted for the ACC. More recently Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame also announced that they will be joining the ACC while West Virginia and TCU departed for the Big Twelve.

Ouch, baby!

And the pain may not yet be over for the Big East. With Maryland heading to the Big Ten in the fall of 2014, the ACC will likely look for a replacement for the Terrapins and the UConn Huskies may be their first choice.

Where does that leave the Big East? Some might say up Crap Creek without a paddle!

There is no doubt that Big East Football, despite the impending additions of Boise State, San Diego State, Houston, SMU, Central Florida, Memphis and Navy has been crippled by these recent departures.

New conference commissioner Mike Aresco can publicly proclaim the viability of his new hodgepodge football conference, but it will be nothing more than a glorified version of Conference USA. That’s if it can manage to stay together which if a very big “if.”

Rumors are already swirling that Boise State, San Diego State and BYU are all in discussions to rejoin the Mountain West. UConn and Louisville are allegedly campaigning hard to join the ACC as are the likes of St. John’s and Georgetown according to the New York Daily News.

If you had to use a few words to describe the Big East right now, “a big fat mess” might be appropriate. Which is a shame, when you think about it.

Once the premier men’s basketball conference, the Big East has fallen victim to the sport of football and the big money that comes along with that sport. And some of the founding basketball-only members like Providence can whine all they want about what’s going on right now but they are partially to blame.

Dave Gavitt

Had the presidents of those schools heeded the advice of the late Dave Gavitt who, long before there was a Big East Football Conference, recommended that they admit Penn State to the league, it is possible that none of this would have happened.

It would be nice if we could simply press the “reset” button and go back to a time when the major conferences made at least some geographical sense. But that horse left the barn a long time ago.

The NCAA is also partially to blame here requiring at least 12 teams for a conference to hold a championship game for football. They should abolish that rule immediately. Who cares if a conference has 8, 10, 12, 14 or 16 teams? If they want to have a conference championship game for football, let them!

But that would make too much sense and if we have learned anything about the NCAA and the way they operate, common sense does not enter into the equation.

For what it’s worth, here’s this man’s opinion of what the power conferences SHOULD look like in a more perfect world:

Big East:

(all sports - 10)
Boston College
Cincinnati
UConn
Louisville
Penn State
Pittsburgh
Rutgers
Syracuse
Temple
West Virginia

(non-football - 6)
Providence
St. John’s
Seton Hall
Georgetown
Villanova
Marquette

ACC: (10)

Duke
North Carolina
North Carolina State
Virginia
Virginia Tech
Georgia Tech
Clemson
Miami
Florida State
Maryland

Big Ten: (12)

Michigan
Michigan State
Ohio State
Iowa
Iowa State
Indiana
Purdue
Illinois
Northwestern
Nebraska
Minnesota
Wisconsin

Big Twelve: (12)

Texas
Texas A&M
Texas Tech
TCU
Oklahoma
Oklahoma State
Kansas
Kansas State
Baylor
Missouri
SMU
Houston

SEC: (12)

Kentucky
Vanderbilt
Florida
Alabama
Auburn
Mississippi
Mississippi State
LSU
South Carolina
Arkansas
Tennessee
Georgia

Pac Ten: (10)

USC
UCLA
Washington
Washington State
Oregon
Oregon State
Arizona
Arizona State
Cal
Stanford

Mountain West: (12)

Colorado
Colorado State
Boise State
BYU
Air Force
Wyoming
San Diego State
UNLV
Utah
Fresno State
Nevada
New Mexico

Now I ask you – would that be so bad? Each of my proposed conferences, for the most part, makes geographical sense.

Obviously, Notre Dame would retain its much-desired football independence in this scenario.  The Irish would obviously factor into this playoff picture if they were having a strong season as they are this year.

It would also be great if there were enough leftover schools within a general proximity of one another to form an 8th “power conference,” but that would be a stretch. Some will argue that my inclusion of the Mountain West as a “power conference” is going too far.

However, if there were enough schools from, say, Conference USA to put together a viable conference, you could have 8 of them which would set up nicely for a national playoff in football with Notre Dame having the ability to suplant the lowest ranked conference champ in the playoff. You could take the champions from each conference and/or Notre Dame, seed them and play it off from 8 teams to 4 teams to 2 and, eventually a National Champion.

Again, that would make too much sense!

But, hey, a man can dream can’t he?


 

 

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