Blog Entry

Big East plotting football, hoops divisions

Posted on: October 11, 2011 1:50 pm

Officials from what’s left of the Big East’s dwindling football membership had another conference call on Tuesday morning and there remains no specific timetable on adding UCF, but “appears an invitation is forthcoming” for the Knights, the league’s No. 1 target.

The presidents, chancellors and athletic directors continued to discuss potential expansion candidates. Among those mentioned were UCF, Air Force, Navy, Temple, Houston, SMU and Boise State, a league source told

While Commissioner John Marinatto said in a statement Monday the league would consider a model with 12 football members, part of Tuesday’s call was discussing the possibility of splitting the football and basketball conference into divisions, once the football side is replenished.

Navy, Air Force and Boise State are being considered as football members only, while UCF, Temple, Houston and SMU are at the top of the list as all-sports members so it’s unknown right now how large the basketball membership could grow.

The Newark Star-Ledger reported one proposed alignment discussed at Tuesday’s meeting consisted of Rutgers, UConn, South Florida, UCF, Temple and Navy in an East Division with West Virginia, Louisville, Cincinnati, Air Force, SMU and Houston in a West Division.

However, there remains the very real possibility Louisville and West Virginia may not be in the league and bound for the Big 12 if Missouri leaves for the SEC or the Big 12 expands to 12 teams.

What make Temple, SMU and Houston attractive to the Big East, one source said, is their respective television markets. Philadelphia (Temple) is the nation’s No. 4 market, Dallas (SMU) is No. 5 and Houston is No. 10.

Beyond Navy, Air Force and UCF, a league source said “no one team is definitely next” as an expansion candidate.

There also appears to be conflicting opinions on pursuing Boise State. Some league members support adding Boise State because of the Broncos’ recent success, which would help the league with its future BCS status. However, others believe Boise State, located nearly 700 miles west of Air Force and nearly 2,200 miles from Tampa/USF, is simply too far to consider.

Boise State president Bob Kustra said in a statement Monday that the Broncos “are looking forward to their inaugural season” in the Mountain West Conference and he “has great confidence in the future direction of the Mountain West.”

“While we are certainly flattered to be mentioned in connection with other conferences and we hold those leagues in high regard, our current focus is on continuing to build the outstanding athletic programs that have helped make Boise State a popular and compelling national brand," Kustra said.

“The landscape of college athletics is exceptionally fluid, and we are continuing to monitor the situation. We are confident that Boise State will be well positioned for future success, and we will evaluate our status with the best interests of the entire university in mind. Boise State’s athletic achievements, academic and research successes, popularity, and vision for future growth make the university an extremely valuable conference partner.”

A league source also told that Army is no longer being considered as a candidate by the Big East. “They’ve been honest with us and that they’re not interested because of the challenges they had previously in Conference USA,” the source said.

Army was in C-USA from 1998-2004. The Cadets were 9-41 in C-USA play and finished last in the league five of the seven seasons.


Since: Aug 11, 2010
Posted on: October 11, 2011 2:45 pm

Big East plotting football, hoops divisions

maskedoutlaw.  I agree.  I am a Penn State alum living in Houston and can tell you that no one in Houston cares one bit about U of H football.  This is a 6-0 football team, w/ a legit Heisman Trophy candidate and you can never see them on live TV.  Texas and A&M are the two teams people care about down here.  It's the same thing up in Dallas.  No one cares about SMU football.  SMU vs. Louisville is going to take a backseat to Texas vs. Iowa State every time.  Same thing back east w/ Temple.  When was the last time Temple or any Big East school got air time over Penn State in NJ and Pennsylvania?  That's why the big East always play their games on Thursday and Friday nights. 

Since: Oct 28, 2010
Posted on: October 11, 2011 2:35 pm

"one proposed alignment"

is the key phrase in this story.  Wet Virginia, Louisville, and Cincinnati would never agree to these divisions.  West Virigina woull be shut out of Florida where they recruit most of their players and woudl kill  games with Rutgers and Temple who they played forever even before the Big East.

If these were the teams, then divisiosn woudl eb done for competitive balance, ala the B1G and not geographically.  The Florida schools woudl be divided up between divisions - so everyone could go there more ofetn - same with texas schools - then those schoosl could play each other in a rivarly game.  Also, guessign with the service acadamies and there need to play Army, ND, and other rivals outside the conference, the model woudl be 8 conference games ala ther SEC and not 9.

Since: Oct 11, 2011
Posted on: October 11, 2011 2:21 pm

Big East plotting football, hoops divisions

I understand your love for TV market and I understand the horrible choice of UCF with a smaller fan base that a community college will be chosen to the big east. But if you think serious and use some intelligence regarding a "tv  market". Just because TV's are in the market does not mean all the tv's in the area will watch the team from the area. If that was the case UCF would have millions of fans but instead they can not fill their 35,000 seat stadium. They Struggle to attract 25,000 when Florida Georgia Play in Jacksonville. Are you telling me that all those people who do not go to the game watch it at home? So if the stadium is full at 35,000 seats that means the entire 2,134,411 population of Orlando will be watching?. I know that the entire state of NJ does not watch Rutgers and they can't fill that stadium either. Add Houston and SMU too, they have large markets where UT, Dallas Cowboys and now the Houston Texans dominate the landscape.

I know you don't make the decision for the Big East as much as you want to. But you could do some decent reporting once in a while instead of what you typically do. TV market is great if every single tv is watching. UCF has an enrollment of 50,000 what they don't tell you is that they include commuters, online and on campus population. Commuters to UCF drive to take classes then go watch football at Florida, Miami and Florida State.  They give out free tickets to the area high schools in hopes people will go.

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