a response to the quickly shot-down argument that the Big East may try to
take in Maryland and B.C. to improve football (by the way, Maryland A.D. Debbie
Yow and B.C. A.D. Gene DeFilippo both shot it down Thursday afternoon).
The curious thing: "[T]he Big East stands out among the BCS conferences less because of its competitiveness than because of its size. The last major league that fell slightly behind in the polls and in terms of natural interest with only eight schools was the old Southwest Conference, which was ruthlessly carved up and dispatched with by the new order despite very deep roots. With the full-fledged addition of Western Kentucky this year, even the Sun Belt has nine teams, making the Big East officially the smallest conference in Division I-A."
The truth is that it's a schizophrenic conference, with a collection of basketball-only schools and then a group that play football at a moderately serious level. They have 16 for basketball, but just nine for football, and not all of them are that impressive. Pitt, West Virginia and Syracuse are legit and have been for decades, but the rest? Rutgers has been impressive for the first time in memory, UConn is improving, and Louisville is okay but is certainly not guaranteed for the long run.
South Florida is in solely to have a toe left in the Florida market.
But then look at the whole conference: Villanova, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, Georgetown, St. John's, DePaul are non-factors in football, and Notre Dame is never going to join a conference unless they have no choice.
Why not just admit that what they're basically trying to do is to graft a BCS presence onto what is in essence a league of urban Catholic schools and let the two halves go their own way? The Big East (hoopswise) could pick up St. Joe's and Xavier and have a superb basketball conference. They could let UConn and Syracuse, and maybe Louisville compete in basketball and find their own solution in football.
It's just such an awkward structure. Eventually it'll have to resolve itself, and the ACC raid may have really just underscored the need.
The revenue splits alone must be a nightmare to work out.