Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Big East Expansion And BC--Mess

It's clear that the Big East Conference is still seen as a little brother in the BCS pecking order. So how do you fix it? Expansion. The Big East needs at least 10 football schools. Notre Dame will never get on board so cut ties. In fact cut ties with the rest of the non-football half of the Big East. Time to move on. Sixteen teams is too many anyway. My buddy Ken Broo last week suggested the Big East make a run at Kentucky. At first, I thought that was crazy. Then I thought, "that will never happen." Then I kept thinking about it. And then it made perfect sense. I'm not sure how it would affect other sports, but it would help Kentucky immensely in football and be no worse than a wash in basketball. Even in years Kentucky is decent, the Wildcats are still nothing more than a punching bag for the rest of the SEC East. Annually the Wildcats have a chance of beating Vanderbilt and perhaps one or two other SEC teams at most. Then they get another guitar for playing in the Music City Bowl. They need the Big East. That will give the Wildcats a chance to mine recruiting territories that are not dominated by the other SEC schools. Any player south of Kentucky is going to Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, LSU, Arkansas, Auburn, or South Carolina. Maybe even Ole Miss these days. That leaves Kentucky, Vanderbilt, and Mississippi State feeding off the bottom. Should Kentucky join the Big East, the Wildcats could start mining Ohio a little more, and certainly Pennsylvania. And think of the natural football rivals: Louisville, Cincinnati, West Virginia, and Pitt. Aside from Tennessee, exactly who does Kentucky have a good football rivalry with in the SEC? If the dollars even come close to adding up, it's a no-brainer. Kentucky football has been affiliated with the SEC since 1933. The Wildcats have exactly two championships, the last one coming in 1976 (thanks to a game later forfeited by Miss St.). So what's the point in staying in a conference where you are at a huge recruiting disadvantage in a high-profile sport like football? Kentucky backers have been searching for years to find a way to make football successful. Being the northernmost school in a conference so steeped in southern tradition is not working. You know what else isn't working? Indiana football in the Big Ten (11). There's your plan Big East.

The Big East owns a 6-5 record against other BCS teams this season, but the biggest of those wins came against Florida State and Oregon State. Bad losses in my opinion include Pitt losing at N.C. State (how?), West Virginia fumbling four times in the fourth quarter at Auburn, and UConn losing at home to North Carolina. Those losses make the Big East appear weak, and that has U.C. battling to get respect as a worthy candidate for the national championship game. That part I understand. But to hear some of these national pundits who profess to know so much, to sneer down their noses (yes, you Herbie)and act like there no way U.C.(you too, Bob Davie) belongs in a national championship game is snobbery on the surface. Below the surface it points out what a joke this system continues to be. If a BCS team goes undefeated in the current BCS system and is left out of the championship game for a one loss team, that will blow up the system. Maybe that's not such a bad thing. Sure, the national snobs get to say "we told you so", but the rest of us get another drum to beat for a playoff system.

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