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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
Penn State
West Virginia

(non-football - 6)
St. John’s
Seton Hall

ACC: (10)

North Carolina
North Carolina State
Virginia Tech
Georgia Tech
Florida State

Big Ten: (12)

Michigan State
Ohio State
Iowa State

Big Twelve: (12)

Texas A&M
Texas Tech
Oklahoma State
Kansas State

SEC: (12)

Mississippi State
South Carolina

Pac Ten: (10)

Washington State
Oregon State
Arizona State

Mountain West: (12)

Colorado State
Boise State
Air Force
San Diego State
Fresno State
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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Help me understand. The mistakes the Big East made many years ago are hurting them now. One of them was not allowing Penn State to join about 20 years ago (for every sport) yet they allowed Miami to join around the same time. Then three years later, allow Notre Dame to join in every sport except football (same as what the ACC is doing now) People should just tell Notre Dame to take a hike.. I am tired of people kissing their ass.

Comment #1 by Bobby Townsend on 2012 11 20

They brought in Miami AFTER they realized their mistake in not letting in Penn State.

Comment #2 by Scott Cordischi on 2012 11 20

St John's - Georgetown??? Say it ain't so!!!! I just wish their could be anlignment in the manner u suggest but we're talking organized crime here: exactly the best way to describe the freeken NCAA!!!

Comment #3 by Wally Musto on 2012 11 20

As a Syracuse alumnus, I can honestly say that I wish my alma mater had stayed in the Big East. If they had to leave, I felt the Big 10 would have been a better fit geographically and more to my liking.

Unfortunately this is all about $$$ and CYA (covering your ass) for all of these schools and it's sad to see,

Comment #4 by Scott Cordischi on 2012 11 21

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