Well lets be honest, it’s been a while since I posted on this here forum known as my blog. So that gives you an idea of how much controversy this conference realignment is causing if it’s dragging me back to the blogging board. I hadn’t really thought too much about the conference realignments until recently when my beloved Syracuse Orange came out of outer space with the announcement that they, along with Pittsburgh will be departing the Big East and moving to the ACC starting in a few short years. It’s a move that is both celebrated by young Orange fans and criticized by old timers who would rather see a rival game against Georgetown or Uconn every year. Younger generations of Orange fans haven’t experienced the full Big East rivalry since the conference expanded and became a basketball powerhouse. Instead, they prefer to play the likes of Duke, North Carolina and Maryland every year, a task that will surely not be an easy one for the Orange.
But let’s be real about this decision to move to the ACC. It had nothing to do with basketball and everything to do with football and money, money, money. By joining the ACC, it provides Syracuse with financial stability due to the tv contracts that have been in place for some time. It’s clear the tv networks are controlling all of this movement whether directly or indirectly. I recently heard over the airwaves that there will soon be two NCAA football conferences – ESPN and FOX. Oh how true that is!
Overall, the Big East is crumbling and it’s their own fault. With a series of decisions in the mid 2000′s, the conference decided it would make moves to greatly expand it’s basketball conference by adding teams such as Depaul, Marquette, Louisville and Cincinnati. Given that not of the schools added had comparable division 1 football programs, the conference became a set of “Basketball Schools” and a set of “Football Schools”. This decision to be inconsistent with adding schools that can compete in all (or almost all sports) within the conference presents that idea that those leading the conference had little direction and little planning for the future. Why would a school want to “kind of” join the Big East?
So here we are again, just a few years later and the conference is crumbling. Although the demise began in 2004 with the departure of conference leaders Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College, the recent departures of Syracuse, Pittsburgh and now West Virginia to the Big 12 are setting the Big East up for the end of it’s existence; and if nothing else, the end of it’s BCS participation privileges.
Big East officials are again playing this ridiculous game of trying to “save the conference” by inviting teams such as Boise State, Air Force, Navy and Central Florida. Boise State would join just for football and not basketball where other schools may join for both. Are we seeing a pattern here? The inconsistencies are glaring through again and it spells disaster for the big east. Will they fold and completely disappear? Or merge with the Mountain West and become the first super conference (precursor to the future ESPN conference)? This all remains to be seen.
What is clear is the Big East is shrinking as an influential conference and it will take someone with radical philosophical differences to change the direction. Maybe they should consider partnering with ESPN or FOX to make the first TV Network College Conference. At least for once, they’d be on the forefront of College Football expansion.