I feel a little conflicted. As a Pitt guy, I know it is in Pitt’s best interest to get out of the Big East and to the ACC ASAP. Unfortunately, it increasingly appears that the only way that can happen is for the Big East to die, and die soon.
Don’t get me wrong. I have no sympathy for the Big East itself. Nor is this about the basketball schools. My conflicted feelings are for the football programs that will beleft behind. The ones that have no where to go or will have to wait and sweat a while. The ones that are just there waiting for the Sword of Damocles hanging over their head to fall and strike them down
We have been sweating this out for years. When the Big East was raided in 2003, it has been a countdown for when the end would come. It has lasted longer than expected. The conference Pitt is heading to is different from expected in 2003, but Pitt is moving on. Meanwhile, the Big East fault lines are being laid bare.
For yet another day, the Big East tried to have a meeting to discuss getting new members and other issues. And for yet another day, nothing came of it.
Why? Because the split in the interests have things as paralyzed as anything we have seen in Washington D.C. over the summer.
All of this uncertainty, which has been dominated by arguments between the basketball and football factions of the Big East, has slowed the talk of expansion, if not stopped it.
At yesterday’s meeting, potential candidates such as Boise State, Central Florida and Temple were discussed, but no consensus could be agreed upon which teams to invite first, or at all.
The basketball factions were adamant about not adding anyone, while the football faction argued that if the Big East is going to survive as a BCS conference, whose champion gained automatic entry to a BCS bowl it is imperative for Boise State, with its high national ranking was a necessity for survival.
The basketball schools have locked in to the issue of raising exit fees first. This is obviously a non starter with Louisville, Rutgers, WVU and UConn at the moment. The Big 12 expansion has Louisville and WVU waiting. UConn wants to go so badly. Rutgers wants options. Heck, arguably Notre Dame wouldn’t want any higher fees considering some other scuttlebutt…
But if Missouri leaves — and as of this morning the prevailing theory was that the Tigers were still focused on joining Texas A&M as the 13th and 14th members of the SEC — the Big 12 would make a move to go from 9 to 12 teams with Big East members Louisville and West Virginia as the prime schools on their wish list. Such a move might also happen even if Missouri remains.
The SEC might have one back up plan if Missouri decides to stay. Word is spreading throug the SEC that Clemson may come into play as team No. 14.
The Tigers are more of an SEC fit than ACC fit in many ways. If that happens, the ACC will be forced to go for a 14th team. The first choice would be Notre Dame, but if the Irish still want to remain as an independent than UConn comes into the picture.
Not really buying Clemson to the SEC. Yes it is a cultural fit (but then so would WVU), but the SEC is already in South Carolina. It isn’t exactly a major market that they need or have to solidify. Nor is Clemson some sort of national brand — like Nebraska to the Big 10 — that makes much sense.
Still, if — and it’s a big if –the scenario of the Big 12 taking Louisville and WVU and the ACC needing a new 14th came to pass — whether ND finally surrenders or the ACC just goes with UConn/Rutgers. Then the Big East is done with football and Pitt is free.
Cinci and USF have done nothing wrong. In fact they have worked hard to be players in the Big East. They have invested in their programs. They have made good hires. They are screwed. At best they are back to Conference USA, splitting really low TV money and getting the occasional game on CBS College Sports Network.
UConn is potentially screwed as is Rutgers. Maybe eventually they get into another conference. But they don’t know when or how. Even worse, is their status in the next two to five years. That just sucks.
UPDATE: If you have any doubt about the fault-lines being laid bare. This article should put that to bed.
•?Though Boise State is the Big East’s best chance to retain its automatic bid to the BCS when the next evaluation period comes up in 2014, Louisville, Cincinnati and South Florida are lukewarm to the idea.
And Boise won’t commit to the league until the six holdover football schools do;
•?The basketball schools proposed doubling the exit penalty to $10 million while also asking for a 15-year commitment. The football schools have flatly rejected that, causing a bigger fissure between the two sides;
•?Villanova spent part of yesterday’s conference call undermining Temple as an expansion candidate, saying it would accept the Owls as a football member only. The football schools want Temple as an all-sports addition;
•?The football schools are trying to put together an expansion plan that meets with approval from the basketball schools, since DePaul’s vote on any proposal counts as much as West Virginia’s (or Rutgers’).