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 14, 2007
Posted on: April 24, 2010 12:20 pm

Why would anyone defend the Big East?

If you're a Big East fan, that tells us that with high probability you live in the northeast somewhere.  I used to live in the northeast and I thought I knew what college sports were all about.  Then I moved south 25 years ago and got educated.

Do yourself a favor.  Give up your Big East affiliations and choose a different conference to follow.  The competitiveness is much more compelling in the SEC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 10 and yes, even the ACC.  Plus, you won't have to worry about all these conferences feeding off the Big East carcass.  Only the strong survive...and the Big East has been fatally flawed since day #1 by allowing the basketball schools to control this strange hybrid of a conference.  Fans speak with their wallets and there's a reason that the Big East always ranks last among the BCS conferences in attendance.  Mediocre conference with mediocre teams and mediocre talent.  Sure there are some good players...but really only a few.

Consider this: Indiana, who was terribly uncompetitive in both football and baskeball this past season...took in more money as a member of the Big Ten conference than any member of the Big East football conference (their football and basketball money combined).  And GET THIS: Indiana actually earned TWICE AS MUCH MONEY as the ENTIRE BIG EAST FOOTBALL CONFERENCE COMBINED!

Consider that for a moment...and then do yourself a favor and rid yourself of following the Big East conference.  It's the equivalent of rooting for Betamax.

Since: Aug 14, 2006
Posted on: April 24, 2010 7:58 am

Big East, C-USA: Now what?

Apparently, the Big East is tired  of being the prey and is in the process of becoming the predator by taking Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan State, and Michigan from the Big Ten.
I think it's safe to say this will never happen.

Since: Feb 28, 2007
Posted on: April 24, 2010 12:59 am

Big East, C-USA: Now what?

Still smokin' the good stuff I see.  Far out dude.

Since: Jan 6, 2010
Posted on: April 23, 2010 5:04 pm

Big East, C-USA: Now what?

There is a better option for the Big East that already is being hoisted up the proverbial flag pole

Apparently, the Big East is tired  of being the prey and is in the process of becoming the predator by taking Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan State, and Michigan from the Big Ten. This would give the New Big East 12 football schools 20 basketball participants.

The new conference might and should drop ND, Marquette, DePaul and one other basketball only school...this would make for a 16 team BB group

You say it could not happen...well maybe so but you never know.  Consider the money the four invitees could make by having the entire NY and mid atlantic market for both football and basketball.

These ex Big Ten schools would do okay in football and basketball once they got away from the boring product they currently foist on the public in both sports. 


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