News from SI's Pete Thamel :
With this move I think the Big East is positioning itself to become a big rival of the MAC for years to come.
"I think the Big East is positioning itself to become a big rival of the MAC for years to come"
There's some truth to that ... but rather than mock it (which is fun, I'll confess) let's pause and look at the college landscape for a moment.
If you're the Big East commissioner, you face a choice -- (a) fold up your tent, (b) try to rival the big boys, or (c) position yourself in a different tier.
Option (a) is a last ditch thing ... no commissioner pulling more than McDonald's wages could possibly suggest that and survive more than a day.
Let's be honest -- at this point option (b) isn't viable. There's probably 25 (at most) schools in the upper tier of the game and they're already spoken for. No team in that 25 who wishes to move would move to the Big East ... they'd opt for one of the emerging "super" conferences.
The stars are aligning around SEC, Big 10, Pac 12 and Big 12 ... and of those the Big 12 is probably the shakiest. Assuming it crumbles then Texas and Oklahoma go to one of the established and the others flee to whoever will take them.
So, if you're the Big East commissioner you might well be thinking, "Well, if I can't sit at the grown-up table I can at least be the biggest kid at the folding card table."
The trouble is there just isn't as much money at that level. There's some entertaining football for sure, but not the money. But that may be okay if some of those programs have decided they can't compete with the Alabamas and Michigans anyway, so stop spending so much money trying.
This kind of thing is, I think, the inevitable conclusion to the trend line we see today. With the coming playoff scheme (4 games to start, surely going to 8 and likely 16) there will emerge 25-some-odd schools who will be plausibly in the hunt for that dance. Football is not basketball. There won't be a Gonzaga storybook season.
And if you think there's too much focus on money and winning now ... just wait until that system kicks in. Those schools at the top are going to go nuts trying to stay in the discussion. The rich will get richer and the poor poorer.
So again, if you're the Big East commisioner maybe that's your strategy -- give up trying to pretend to be an elite football conference. Go smaller scale, focus on optimizing programs to available revenue, and be happy with that.
My two cents ... and I'm just speculating.
The Big East is positioning itself to be the best Div 1.5 conference out there. Right now there are 120+ Div IA teams (FBS). That includes schools like Michigan, with $133M budgets and even surpluses, and Tulane, which doesn't make money on sports. Why are they direct competitors?
Brian has brought this up a number of times, but when Indiana State can keep Michigan from offering FCOA scolarships your system is broken. ISU can't keep up with the Joneses, so move them to another street. I think we'll see the 64 (4 superconferences x 16 teams) teams become the new Division 1, and the rest of the current Division 1 will break off, have their own playoff, etc. Big East, Sunbelt, MAC, WAC. There ya go.
"I think we'll see the 64 (4 superconferences x 16 teams) teams become the new Division 1, and the rest of the current Division 1 will break off, have their own playoff, etc. Big East, Sunbelt, MAC, WAC."
I think that's spot on.
Two things come to my mind as I sit here desperately trying to avoid doing real work:
I certainly hope #2 does not come to pass ... but I think there's an element of that going on already. After six straight NCs I'm starting to hear ESPN commentators bad-mouthing the SEC for their attitude and the boring nature of year-after-year NCs.
Re: 1, that already happens. Iowa State tore down the goalposts a year ago, Colorado and Minnesota used to be powers, and in general they may get better talent in the future because they're Div 1... but they'll also have all the other sports in the major conferences, which will be a plus
Re: 2 - the SEC's decline has already started. Sure, they're still dominant and will be for a bit, but their single biggest advantage is already gone. Guaranteed 4 year scholarships and the amount of attention that Oversigning has gotten as a practice means that for the first time in years the SEC will have to deal with 4 and 5 star busts just like everyone else does.
Sure, there are still some advantages (Population shifts, perception, etc) but Oversigning has had more to do with their dominance than anything IMO.
They lucked into the title game this year. Its not like they are far and away the best team each year. Last year we really don't know if they were because they played each other in the title game. Also the year Alabama beat Texas the Longhorns were going to hammer them if McCoy doesn't get hurt. Regardless of what ESPN or cbssports say the SEC will not be getting 3 or 4 teams in a playoff in any year.
Means each super conference sends one team. 16 teams, and you get the possibility of 3 playoff games before the NC round even starts. Carve off a non-con game for the potential of the semi final conference championship, and each pod of 4 will send a team into the 4 conference playoffs.
This greatly increases the number of times a national audience sees the teams they want to see (16 dominant teams) in post season play. It also eliminates the need to play Alabama the first game of the year for "votes".
No more voting, a clear path to victory, and more games worthy of television.
Now, if they can just put the conference playoffs at the home fields of the schools in the playoffs, we'll really have something worth going watching in person AND on TV.
you might not even need 9 conference games, and could drop the regular season back down to 10 games total, with two snacky cakes in the beginning (hey look at all these Big East teams?) and shift the conference schedule forward to make room for exanded playoffs, so that all the students still get their studying done.
Also, let everyone have post season practice time, and eliminate Bowls that don't support the NC playoffs. Or at least sell tickets in the modern era, i.e. online and don't make schools fund the bowls and they'll shrivel up and die on their own. But giving everyone extra practice without requiring a bowl game might do that on it's own.
...I agree that if we end up with 4 main super conferences (or whatever they're called) then the playoff would likely stay at 4 teams.
No way it would expand to 8 or 16 teams. First of all, with conference championship games, it's already a default 8 team playoff (I'm obviously assuming some Big 12 expansion under this scenario).
Second, under a 4 super conference scenario, if you expand the playoff to include second place teams then you run the risk of having those uninteresting LSU-Alabama rematch type championship games that no one really wants to see. For a national championship to really be interesting and have legitimacy, then it must be a game that draws national interest. To run the risk of having two schools from the same state (or, egads, the same TV market) in the game is to great.
Lastly, a 4 team tournement with four major champions facing off has a beatuiful simplicity to it and the winner can be rightly hailed as a "Champion of Champions."
Wait until a second place 11-1 SEC school is left out in favor of some 8-4 teams and we'll see how long the 4 team model holds up. Just my opinion, and I'm a die-hard cynic about things ... but my sense is 4 teams won't stand ... it'll go to 8 at least.
The Big East started out as basically a regional basketball conference that had a couple of competent football teams. Now, they are evolving into a national basketball conference that has a couple of competent football teams.
I guess that's progress.
well thought out and makes sense. Maybe even try and secure some schools that randomly do well in baseball and basketball. Trying to keep up with the Jones' can be like Russian Roulette for these programs.... Didn't Dave Brandon advise that only 20 Athletic Departments broke even or were in the black last year.....
arent they the only conference basically unaffected by all this expansion stuff? I know they lost Temple but Temple was never going to be there for the long haul
They're the most stable, unmoving conference right now arent they?
East Carolina is actually a pretty fun football environment, FWIW. Any school within minutes of the beach and having a pirate as a mascot is bound to be a fun place.
That and it's pretty easy to get into ECU, so lots of people go mainly to party. Sorta like WVU.
As a Pirate, I agree with this. It's definitely a football school and gamedays are very fun. I think they'll compete in the Big East assuming this move helps with recruiting. I'm excited to get to watch different teams, but with that being said, I'm not a huge fan of the move. A few years ago I would have loved it, but I don't think it's much of a step up from C-USA at this point.
Why do I think that somewhere in the B1G offices Jim Delany is sayng to himself "shit....beaten to the punch!"
East Carolina has a quality football program as far as lower tier FBS programs go. Tulane.....meh. The Big East's days are absolutely numbered right now, and its commisioner knows it.
The Big East is indeed fast becoming a Conference USA or MAC like conference.
It's actually pretty sad. Especially when the Big East loses all BCS perks and becomes mediocre and not at all geographically connected it will just be a mess. At least in the MAC schools are close together... the Big East offers its members nothing but somewhat decent basketball and huge travel costs
Take a careful look at the Big East football roster:
UConn, Louisville, South Florida, Cincinnati, Tulane, Temple, Boise State, San Diego State, UCF, SMU, Memphis, Houston and ECU
The Big East IS Conference USA with a couple new teams thrown in the mix.
I remember when the Big East raided Conference USA- its sad that those Conference USA teams are now whats holding the conference together...
The ACC will likely want to replace Maryland with a shcool like Louisville or UConn- and then what happens?
Why are school still joining the Big East- it seems like the certain instability outweighs the marginal improvements from moving "up" to the Big East...
Wonder with the Big East losing so much ground if the MWC wouldn't pull in the likes of Boise and SDSU again. They'd look like the stronger conference, honestly.
From the ESPN article:
"Of those 13 schools, nine are former members of Conference USA, two are former Mountain West members and one is a former Mid-American Conference member."
That's just gross... If the MWC schools return do some of the schools look to rejoin Conference USA or find a new home- or will the Big Eat survive as the weirdest mid-major possible...
Weren't some of the media outlets discussing this last week? I haven't heard anything since but it sounded at the time that there was a eral possibility of the MWC pulling this all together, up to and including BYU getting back with the party. You have to think after the past couple years of genuine uncertainty that the MWC would love to be one of the last ones standing.
I said it twice...
Just so things make sense with their new divisional alignment as well, Temple can finally put in the East division, East Carolina can be in the West Division, and Tulane can go in the East division to give the East division its rather southern focus.
Can't articulate exactly why, but I immediately thought of this.
The only thing keeping the Big East afloat right now is basketball. Thier "good" football teams have either left or are going to leave. Basketball is where it is at for that conference, and neither of these teams have good basketball programs.
is going to take a little bit of a step down when Syracuse and Pitt leave. If the ACC were to replace Maryland with either Louisville or UConn that would be another hit.
Guessing it will be UConn for the ACC and it is up for debate how good they are going to be without Calhoun in the long run. Louisville has eyes for the Big 12
The Big East knows how to make big moves when they are negotiating their new tv contract.
So the Big East is basically Conference USA from 10 years ago and half of the ACC is the Big East from 10 or so years ago. CUSA probably will take some more teams from the Sun Belt. Have to think the Sun Belt may eventually go the way of the WAC. One of the most amusing realignment stories was when Denver annpunced yesterday they were going from the WAC to the Summit, meaning they will have been in 3 conferences in 3 years.
They are collecting a bunch of mid majors who have solid programs. As bad as the big ten was this year, I don't think we're in a position to stick our noses too high in the air.
Is going to keep on going for a while We will not get to stability until the 5 super conferences are complete.
So know the Big East is at 13 teams (assuming as expected UCONN) goes to the ACC one Navy arrives. They will have to make another move, unless they are expecting someone else to leave before then to get them back down to 12. For the divisions I would assume East Carolina and Temple will go to the east and Tulane to the west.
There is talk that these 2 schools might try to stay with the Mountain West.
are just stupid. The Big East is now basically the old Conference USA. The Mountain West became the old Western Athletic and the Big 12 looks more like the SWC with orphans.
"Of those 13 schools, nine are former members of Conference USA, two are former Mountain West members and one is a former Mid-American Conference member."
Might as well call in Conference USA...
New Mexico St. and Idaho should be happy about this as they will probably end up in a conference after this. New Mexico St. probably in the Sun Belt after CUSA takes more teams from then and Idaho to CUSA or the MAC.
Weren't SDSU and Boise in talks to move back to the Mountain West, or was that just speculation?
They were, but I they recommitted to the Big East, what ever that means. One of their complaints was that they wanted more west coast schools and Tulane is that. Wouldn't be surprised if the Big East picked off UTEP (to get into Texas) or Tulsa to eventually get back to 14. Surprised the Big East has no taken Tulsa yet. Three 10 win seasons since joining CUSA in 2005, only 1 losing season, and 4 division titles and one conference champion since 2005.
Maybe I'm missing something but I thought Tulane was in New Orleans...not exactly west coast IMHO
Big East, Conference USA, WAC and MWC's best teams should form together into an 18 or 20 team conference.
Play the teams in your division once, with the winner of each division playing for the championship at the home stadium of higher ranked team.
In basketball, do the same thing, only twice, then play the tournament in New York like you would do any other year.
Turn the league into an MLB type entity (AL, NL).
See: WAC circa late 90s. Couldn't work with 16 then either.
Who else is pumped for the Tulane/Boise State rivalry? These two teams really hate each other!
With the Big East headed towards mid major oblivion it seems like the only question is who is the fourth major conference? Unless Texas sinks the whole thing, a possibility, it is probably the Big 12. I was talking to a UNC alum and there is talk that whatever happens with Maryland’s buyout could have big implications for the ACC. Many expect Maryland to get out for around $20 million, as opposed to $50. If this happens many expect Florida State and Clemson to bolt for the Big 12 (they can’t go to the SEC due to an agreement about not adding schools in existing states)
At that point many at UNC feel that the ACC’s core problem of being too focused in North Carolina, particularly in an era when cable subscriptions drive revenue, becomes catastrophic. At that point UNC and probably UVA look to make a move to the SEC or Big Ten. Academically the BIG 10 is a better fit for both schools and would probably be the choice of the faculty. Working against this is the whole southern thing. Many of the old guard in North Carolina and Virginia, who tend to be in charge at these institutions, resent the influx of northerners that has occurred over the last decade or two. As a result they may be more inclined to go in the direction of the SEC.
UNC also has the problem of its little brother with an overinflated sense of its worth. It is likely that any move by UNC will result in NC State going crazy and trying to create problems in the state government. Obviously the Big Ten should have no interest in NC State so UNC will need to find away to end their relationship with them. Duke is a question but all I could get out of my UNC friend about this issue was “F… Duke”. Since this does all seem to be about cable money anyway there is no reason for the big ten to take any more than one team out of North Carolina.
Overall I would be happy with both UNC and UVA in the Big Ten. Not great football schools but overall both are high quality institutions and Big Ten basketball would become firmly entrenched as the preeminent conference. This also has the benefit of screwing Notre Dame and eventually forcing them into the Big 12. Notre Dame and Texas trying to get along with terrorizing their conference bothers with unreasonable demands would be entertaining.
Notre Dame in the Big12 would be hilarious. They could try to push Texas around, but they'd have zero success
UNC has a more NC-centric population than UVA does with its VA population. UVA is probably less hostile to the influx of northerners than UNC, and I'm not sure how significant it is at either school. And I don't think UVA and VT being in separate conferences is a big deal nowadays, either.
If ECU is only joining for football, where do the rest of their sports go? I assume C-USA won't keep them for the rest . . .
Kent St. is now one win away from an automatic BCS berth. Who'd have thunk that at the start of the year? (Assuming a win vaults them into the top 16; they're currently ranked 17th, behind #16 UCLA who is likely to lose, among other teams.)
They need help too, though. A win and a UCLA loss might not be enough - there is a pretty large point differential.