Blog Entry

Big East, C-USA: Now what?

Posted on: April 23, 2010 2:06 pm
Edited on: April 23, 2010 4:51 pm

Future of College Football Graphic: Five Super Conferences

The biggest question in all this expansion talk is what is going to happen to the Big East?

If the Big Ten pulls in Connecticut, Rutgers and Pittsburgh for the Big East, the conference will be down to five teams and on life support to survive. As Dennis Dodd points out, Cincinnati, Syracuse, West Virginia and Louisville would do their best to look elsewhere and most likely join the ACC.


Dodd: Part IV: Variables could spawn revolution

Dodd: Part III: Texas would cause domino effect

Dodd: Part II: A look at the Big Ten Network

Dodd: Part I: The sport will never be the same

That means the Big East basically has two options.

No. 1: Fold. Allow the lone member South Florida to go somewhere else, mostly likely to Conference USA.

No. 2: Scrape together the best teams from Conference USA and the Sun Belt to keep the Big East together.

In scenario No. 1, the Big East would realize that no matter what teams it tries to pull over, it just will never be a major player in the college football/BCS world. So just close up shop and let South Florida to go wherever it could.

With C-USA losing SMU, Houston, Tulsa, UTEP and Tulane, that means it will need to replenish to keep 12 teams and its conference title game. Currently it uses two division -- East and West -- but it's time to change to North and South.

Army and Navy might end up staying as Independents, but why? Join a conference. Now that Notre Dame is gone it's time to do away with the Independents.

New Conference USA
North South
Army Florida Atlantic
East Carolina Florida International
Marshall Southern Miss
Memphis South Florida
Navy UCF
Rice UAB
New teams in bold

Things are a little bit more tricky in the South. Who would C-USA want and why?

Well, South Florida would be an automatic, so it really only needs two teams. Forget adding anybody from the MAC and WAC, so the only choices left are from the Sun Belt.

Florida International in Miami would be high on the list, if for nothing else, because of its location. The school is located in a Top 20 television market, has more than 40,000 students, and the school is doing its best to improve the football program (it just upgraded the stadium).

By taking FIU, that makes Florida Atlantic 60 miles north in Palm Beach County a perfect fit for a travel partner in other sports. The Owls also are building a new stadium.

I'm not sure the other schools would be attractive enough for C-USA to invite. Even though Troy has had the most success football wise, it has a major downside of being in a city of less than 15,000 people.

Louisiana-Lafayette does offer the conference a chance to get back int the state of Louisiana and the city is one of the largest of all the Sun Belt schools, but FAU and FIU are more attractive on a broader scale.

Now let's talk about scenario No. 2:

The Big East decides it can stay together by pulling some of the larger teams from Conference USA and Sun Belt. So here is what an eight-team conference would look like.

New Big East New C-USA/Sun Belt
South Florida Marshall
East Carolina UAB
UCF Rice
Memphis Southern Miss
Florida Atlantic Troy
Florida International Middle Tennessee
Navy La.-Monroe
Army La.-Lafayette
  Arkansas State
  North Texas
  Western Kentucky
  Georgia State (future)

Again, not much to work with, but the conference does get Memphis, UCF, East Carolina, the two Florida schools (FAU and FIU) and two military academies (Army and Navy). Is it strong enough to pull an automatic BCS bid? Doubtful.

Plus this creates another problem. Does the Big East invite all these schools to play basketball? No offense, but adding Florida International and its 5,000-seat gym, to play basketball and hosting games against Georgetown isn't very inticing. This would have to be a football-move only.

As for Conference USA and the Sun Belt, they would have no choice but to join forces. Conference USA would be left with only four schools, while the Sun Belt has seven. It would need one more school to get back to 12 and preserve a conference title game.

It's far-fetched and definitely something down the road, but Georgia State starts football in FCS (I-AA) this season and would be a perfect fit as the 12th school.

Located in downtown Atlanta with more than 30,000 students, the Panthers would be a nice addition to the C-USA/Sun Belt Conference.


Since: Oct 21, 2008
Posted on: April 26, 2010 6:49 pm

Big East, C-USA: Now what?

I couldnt have said it any better myself.

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Since: Nov 2, 2007
Posted on: April 26, 2010 1:01 pm

Big East, C-USA: Now what?

I don't know of anyone in NY/NJ that plan their Saturday around the 'Rutgers Game', regardless of opponent.  Don't expect at big bump in the TV audience of an Indiana/Rutgers game then there already is for an Indiana/Penn State game.  Rutgers does not add more viewers then any other opponent on a team's schedule.   

Since: Aug 7, 2009
Posted on: April 26, 2010 12:43 pm

Big East, C-USA: Now what?

Better answer: Add Central Michigan. 3 MAC championships in four seasons. Among top 25 all-time winning percentage. Just last year they beat MSU, a member of the almighty Big Ten. Their style of play would also fit perfectly in the Big East.

Add Villanova as a football member. They are already a member in every other sport, and are the defending FCS champions. They won't be able to compete for a championship immediately, but they could hold their own inconference.

Add East Carolina. Two time defending C-USA champion. Last year they had to beat Houston, picked by many to be the BCS buster.

Add Troy. Another team that probably wouldn't immediately compete for a title, but they wouldn't really be a bottom feeder either. They have had at least a share of the past four Sun Belt championships.

All of these schools make sense geographically. It would make the Big East something like an all-star of mid-majors conference, but so what? They would have nine teams (each gets 4 home, 4 away), and would be strong enough to hold the conference together.

Since: Feb 11, 2009
Posted on: April 25, 2010 10:04 pm

Big East, C-USA: Now what?

ACC vs Big East, the past 30 years of National Championships

2010 - Duke
2009- North Carolina
2005- North Carolina
2002- Maryland
2001 - Duke
1993 - North Carolina
1992 - Duke
1991 - Duke1983 - North Carolina State
1982 - North Carolina


2004 - Connecticut
2003- Syracuse
1999- Connecticut
1986 - Louisville
1985 - Villanova
1984 - Georgetown
1980 - Louisville


10 to 7, so I'd say the ACC can compete with the Big East....however, I didn't realize that the Big East had so many, so props to yall.  I actually love Big East basketball, I just couldn't have folks thinkin the ACC didn't have it's representation...I actually live in Knoxville now, and it was funny to hear people all year talking about how great SEC basketball is...and then who was in the Final Four?  ACC, Big East.  Big surprise, that was, huh?

Since: Dec 12, 2007
Posted on: April 25, 2010 9:15 pm

Big East, C-USA: Now what?

It is interesting that there is one omission from any talk. There is a school preparing itself to make the move up to D-IA within the next 3-5 seasons but would certainly not mind it if that timetable was accelerated. This school is Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. It is in the process of increasing seating capacity of its football stadium to 19000 this year and above the minimum size to 30000 in the next 4. It is a football program that is progressing steadily under a perennial coach of the year candidate, Danny Rocco. This past year, they gave West Virginia a run for their money who was a top 25 team, last year competed with Wake Forest when they were top 25, and 3 years ago lost by bad call to Dayton who then went on to win a bowl game. Many of its other sports could already compete with the major conferences as well. Its women's basketball team lost by 6 to Kentucky who went to the sweet 16 this year, the track team has been ranked in the top 25 the last 4 years, the cross country team has had a top 4 finisher in 4 of the last 5 years and All-Americans each year. Its baseball team throttled St. John's in a series this season and is very young. The softball program has improved greatly and is also very young. The volleyball program has competed regularly with Virginia and Virginia Tech the past 3 seasons. The wrestling team has won the East Regional each of the last 3 years. The sports that would struggle the most in the transition would be both tennis, lacrosse, and the men's basketball program.

I say all of this because they are a program on the rise and would provide nice addition to the Big East or even possibly the ACC. The athletics administration is run more similarly to the ACC than it is with its current conference the Big South and has competitive ties with VT, UVA, and Clemson. It would be a major stretch to see the ACC accept this team right now, but the Big East could benefit from having a team in between the service academies and ECU especially for travel purposes. I will say that I would like to see UCONN not move to the Big 10 and stay in the Big East and have the Big 10 pick up both ND and Toronto. Toronto will be able to move to FBS in the next couple of years is already on a similar academic level as the Big 10 schools and would bring the Big 10 another massive television base, namely Canada because Toronto would be the only Canadien school playing at a major level in America. This would be a great fit and Toronto would have no issues coming up with facilities or fan base.

Since: Apr 5, 2010
Posted on: April 25, 2010 8:34 pm

Big East, C-USA: Now what?

Agreed, Pitt is a bad fit for the Big Ten for a few reasons:
1. It hurts the b-ball program
2. Pitt's alumni are concentrated in East, nobody wants to go to East Lansing, Champagne, (insert crap big ten town here), to see a fball game.
3. No rivalries, Paterno killed that one time rivalry.  Nobody cares about Penn St anymore.

The ACc would be a better fit.

Since: Jan 2, 2010
Posted on: April 25, 2010 6:20 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Apr 6, 2009
Posted on: April 25, 2010 4:51 pm

Big East, C-USA: Now what?

The Big Kinda Northeast and a New Conference USA? This discussion about expansion has been discussed at length all over the place, notably  and 

Since: Apr 6, 2010
Posted on: April 25, 2010 3:53 pm

Big East, C-USA: Now what?

Your new and improved Tiny East would be the biggest disaster ever concieved by man.  Also, what about the basketball only schools?  Does Georgetown, Villanova, Providence,StJohn's find some more Catholic schools and develop the Huge CYO conference.  When the Big East developed the football part anyone with half a brain knew that the day of decision was going to come sooner or later.  ACC,Big 11, Big 12,SEC Pac 10 are the 5 members of the BCS without this problem.  So if they go to 5 SUPER conferences, the Big East becomes odd man out.  I hope Dr Gross before he goes back to S Cali realizes this and get Syracuse the best deal he can make.  Let's not be on the Titanic when we could have sold our ticket to someone else.  We seem to always go back to the real elephant in the room.  Some sort of playoff system so that the Northern Iowa's, Butler, George Masons of the world have a ligitimate shot at the brass ring.  Don't schools like that realize 5 super conferences  will form their own playoff, keep all the money, and all the other schools will be for those old enough to remember, Little Anthony and the Imperials " On The Outside Looking  In".  Thirty Five Bowls is not the solution either. Big 12 9th place vs ACC 6th will be a real rating winner and keep everyone staying past closing time to find out who won.  We are not even talking about this having an effect on basketball but footbal makes the train go so I guess they will worry about that later.  CBS and Turner, make sure your golden goose doesn't get plucked.

Since: Apr 14, 2009
Posted on: April 25, 2010 3:06 pm

Big East, C-USA: Now what?

I live in the northeast and ill take college bball over football any day. i love the competition in the big east with uconn,syracuse,pitt,villanova,wvu,gtown. if this conference splits all of these rivals will be done. All of these teams have made a name for themselves in the big east. if they move to the big 10 or acc they will just play little brother to michigan, ohio state and duke unc who will always be the face of their conferences. i know the move makes sense in terms of money but im going to miss the old big east bball wars, especially the great competition in the tournament at msg.

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