I love the Big East Conference. And I shouldn’t.
Why would anyone get attached to an organization of schools rather than the schools themselves? For me it was more the rivalries, more the conference tournament in Madison Square Garden, more the fact that this group of schools which I was so fond of broke all kinds of NCAA Tournament records over the past few years. I was a biased fan, I rooted for all the teams and the ACC was the enemy. The Big East was the best, I loved the conference, life was good.
Then came the last two years of being slapped in the face by the very conference which I grew to mock at every loss. Now, I’m hoping for the sake of the few football playing schools left, they are able to move to greener pastures, such as the Big 12 or the ACC. The Big East is dead, and no matter what the conference tries to do, it’ll never be the same again. Not without Syracuse or Pittsburgh, or even Rutgers. I couldn’t believe it when Boston College left a few years back. And yes, I was amongst the many who chanted ACC to them at MSG during their final conference loss back in 2005. But Boston College was right, and schools like UConn and Louisville are now scrambling to join in a move that perhaps they should have made instead of BC so many years ago. And now so many “Big East” fans are wondering what happened. In reality we probably should never have been fans of a conference. Lesson learned NCAA, it’ll never happen again because traditions are gone.
So what happens now?
If I’m the Big East and I care about tradition, I scrap the football league, focus on a still very powerful basketball league consisting of Georgetown, Villanova, St. John’s, Seton Hall and friends. Perhaps they could add St. Joseph’s, VCU, George Mason or even Butler to make up a very significant league. The football playing schools will leave. If not this year, soon enough. And I don’t understand how adding Tulane or East Carolina will help the league. People say recruiting, but I don’t see it. New Orleans football fans are not going to care about UConn football when they don’t even support Tulane. Of course, the Big East can’t scrap football, because it dominates everything. What may end up happening is the traditional Big East hoops schools may break away leaving the so-called Big East looking eerily similar to Conference USA circa 2003.
If I’m the ACC, I take both UConn and Louisville. That gives you an odd number of teams with 15. However, it’s still only 14 for football considering Notre Dame plays by their own rules. And although we all know that only football matters, in basketball it gives you a 14 game schedule pretty easily. Want to throw in two rivalry games every year that you double up with? Perfect. The scheduling in basketball would actually be a piece of cake. But again, basketball is the red-headed step child to prom king College Football.