Blog Entry

Big East Presidents approve, extend invitations

Posted on: November 1, 2011 1:51 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2011 1:55 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson

On Tuesday, the Big East held their annual meeting of the school Presidents in Philadelphia. As expected, commissioner John Marinatto used the gathering as an opportunity to get the official votes from league members regarding the specific plan for conference expansion. After the meeting, Marinatto provided a veiled update on the league's plan and timetable regarding expansion and the exit process for West Virginia.

“Our Presidents voted unanimously to extend invitations to specific institutions, including both football-only and all-sport members to join the Big East Conference," Marinatto explained in his official statement.  "I will be speaking to representatives of those schools shortly and look forward to announcing with them their acceptance into the Big East. The addition of these members will extend our reach, bring us to exciting new markets, strengthen our status within the BCS, and lay the foundation for possible further expansion, all while maintaining the high quality and standards our Conference is known for.

“In light of the lawsuit filed by West Virginia yesterday, the Presidents also discussed and confirmed our continuing commitment to enforce the Conference’s 27-month notification period for schools choosing to leave. The Conference believes these claims to be wholly without merit and will explore all its legal options to protect its interests and to ensure that West Virginia lives up to its obligations.”

There are not too many surprises in this update, including the clarification that both football-only and all-sports invitations will be extended. Navy, Air Force, and Boise State are expected to be among the football-only invitations, while Conference USA schools UCF, Houston, and SMU have been awaiting official invitations to join in all sports since the 12-team football expansion plans began taking shape.

The real development in the statement is the league's plan to hold West Virginia to the 27-month withdrawal period.'s Brett McMurphy detailed West Virginia's lawsuit against the Big East hoping for an exit in time to compete in the Big 12 for the 2012-2013 academic year. In the Big 12's teleconference, West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck explained that "our team is working with their team" to make it happen. Marinatto's statement on Tuesday suggests that this may be a more difficult process than the Mountaineers originally imagined.

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Since: Oct 16, 2011
Posted on: November 1, 2011 3:29 pm

Rebuilding the Big East

The Big East is having a tough year. So far three football programs have officially declared their departure (Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and West Virginia) and three more are looking to leave (Cincinnati, Connecticut, and Louisville). To rebuild, the Big East is looking to rebuild with teams like Air Force, Boise State, Central Florida, Houston, Navy, Southern Methodist, and possibly Army and Temple. Of these I do not believe Air Force or Boise State will join up. In fact, the target goal of the new Big East is 12 teams; I think they should plan for 14 just in case Louisville and Cincinnati both decides to leave. The teams under consideration are the best available from the C-USA, MAC, and independents but I believe additional teams should be considered.

There are no major teams left but the Big East did pretty good taking C-USA teams and with a higher level of competition, made them more competitive (Cincinnati, Louisville, and USF all come to mind) if not on the field definitely on college football fans' awareness. The best way to rebuild the Big East is to make sure that TVs are tuned to Big East games. Major media market are needed but rather than spread out to cover more markets, major markets within "reach" should be saturated. By this I mean have two Big East teams to cover each market so that each fall weekend a Big East game is played loco-regionally. The two teams thus should alternate home games for the season, with one game against each other to open the season. Once awareness is maintained or even raised, it will be easier to recruit and thus build better teams in the process.

Thus I propose the following. Listed are two teams set for synergy, each will play each other once a year every year but will be in different divisions of the Big East. Each team will also play 5-6 in division games (5 for a Big East with 12 teams, 6 for a Big East with 14 teams) as well as 2 rotating cross division games (staggered for a home and away game each). I have arranged the divisions based also on each team's average ranking from 1960-2010 as listed at . I have also included two teams making the transition from D2 to D1 for their geography, Villanova and UMass (both in italics below). These two teams will be placed in separate divisions. A contest should be conducted to name the two divisions as they will not be amenable to East & West or North & South. In the list, current Big East programs are in bold. Since in basketball divisions will not matter so much as all teams can play each other, the basketball only non-football programs are not listed.

Division A & Division B (mcubed average ranking 1960-2010)
Cincinnati (67.1) & Louisville (63.3) [Ohio Valley]
Connecticut (69.3) & Massachusetts (NA) [New England] 
Buffalo (96.7) & Rutgers (73.2) [New York & Jersey]
South Florida (46.3) & Central Florida (72.3) [Florida]
Southern Methodist (69.3) & Houston (53.1) [Texas]
Villanova (89.9) & Temple (76.4) [Philadelphia]
Navy (68.7) & Army (80.5) [Military]
Average mcubed (72.5) & (69.8)

The two matched programs should open conference play with each other. Given inclusion of a bye week, all Big East programs can open conference play over two weekends. To foster a sense of rivalry and Big East conference should pay for a trophy of some sort trophy to represent these games but allow the two teams to name the trophy. The Big East would be smart to award the winner of the trophy a donation to their general scholarship fund ($10k+?). A scholarship contribution would make it more than a game trophy and get buy in from students (prospective, current, and alumni) and faculty. The Big East would be extra smart if it uses the exit fee money from teams leaving to create an endowment fund for a "Big East" scholarship at each schools (to remain at each school as long as they are members). The rivalry game prize money would go into this endowment fund. All this would generate a certain buzz and allow the Big East to market their conference play openers. 

The Big East should also open conference play with the annual cross division rivalry games because it is possible that both teams could become division champions and a rematch could occur in the Big East championship game. Better to put as many games between their first encounter and their last encounter.

This Big East does not guarantee an automatic bid to the BCS (average rankings for the new Big East is 71.3 as compared to 57 for the old) but it does help lay a foundation for a good conference.  How so? Well in addition to markets and marketing opportunities, this Big East will also have footprints in 5 of the top 10 states for for football recruitment according to  (#1 Texas, #2 Florida, #5 Ohio, #6 Pennsylvania, and #10 New Jersey. The Big East has to rebuild for the long term.

Additional Notes.
1. The new Big East could start play in 2013 or 2014, depending on when they let out exiting members.
2. Average travel for both divisions are similar, both contain the Ohio Valley, New England, Florida, Texas and Philadelphia.
3. Both Buffalo and Rutgers are AAU members and are matched against each other.
4. If both Cincinnati and Louisville leave, the conference would still be OK with 12 teams.
5. If Boise State and Air Force joins, they would be set as cross division rivals.
6. If Notre Dame stays, their football team should play 4-6 games against Big East programs. This would help strength of schedule as well as another marketing opportunity.

Since: Apr 23, 2007
Posted on: November 1, 2011 3:27 pm

Big East Presidents approve, extend invitations

If the Big East is raiding other conferences, it should not be hypocritical and hold Pitt, Syracuse, and WVU hostage for 27 months. Marinatto fiddled while the Big East burned and now he is just being petty.

Since: Mar 6, 2007
Posted on: November 1, 2011 3:19 pm

Big East Presidents approve, extend invitations

Same reason WV is joining the train wreck known as the Big 12.  Do you really think that conference will survive? 

Since: Mar 12, 2007
Posted on: November 1, 2011 3:16 pm

Big East Presidents approve, extend invitations

Pitt, Syracuse, West Virginia and TCU are gone or are in the process of leaving.  Connecticut, Rutgers, Louisville and Cincinnati would jump at the chance to leave if offered.  Wy would anybody in their right mind want to join this train wreck of a conference.  The Big East needs to drop football and concentrate on basketball.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: November 1, 2011 3:16 pm

Big East Presidents approve, extend invitations

Those schools should tell the Big East to go F themselves and just let the Big East die out.  Those schools are better off where they are since their conferences are better than the Big East is currently.

Since: Jan 29, 2008
Posted on: November 1, 2011 3:10 pm

Big East Presidents approve, extend invitations

Day late and a dollar short.  Maybe if he had done this I don't know, two years ago, we wouldn't all be in this mess.  If they had invited UCF, ECU and maybe someone else like Navy in football, we aren't watching this saga unfold.  Marinara looks like he needs to get back to a plate of spaghetti and meatballs anyway.

Since: Oct 5, 2009
Posted on: November 1, 2011 3:07 pm

Big East Presidents approve, extend invitations

The BE looks like CUSA from 8 years ago. so now since they are in the BE they are AQ teams but they werent when they were in CUSA?  It doesnt make cense all of a sudden these teams are AQ teams becuase they are in the BE? The teams havent gotten any better in that time frame.

Since: Mar 12, 2007
Posted on: November 1, 2011 3:06 pm

Big East Presidents approve, extend invitations

I find it kind of funny the Big East is extending six invitations and most likely want them playing in the Big East next year.  But, they want to hold the teams leaving for 27 months. Looks like to me it should work both ways.

Since: Dec 15, 2006
Posted on: November 1, 2011 3:03 pm

Big East Presidents approve, extend invitations

Marinatto is a clown....that is all

Since: May 27, 2011
Posted on: November 1, 2011 3:01 pm

Big East Presidents approve, extend invitations

Navy and Air Force will reject unless Army is offered an invite..the other 2 academies will not show that kind of disrespect unless Army delcines an invitation.Both academies have all ready brought that to the attention of the Big East...Yell

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