Thursday, May 10, 2012

Can Big East Football Survive?

Perhaps.  More than likely.  Yes, but it may not be the conference a lot of the current and future members want it to be.  Here's what I know: Louisville is begging to go to the Big 12.  Some in the Big 12 are begging for Louisville.  I'm told one of the power schools in the Big 12 is firmly behind bringing the Cardinals in because they feel they have West Virginia hanging out on the vine all alone.  Duh!  The conference is just now figuring that out ?  So now they are looking for an island to hop so their non-revenue sports can make a stopover at Louisville on the way to Morgantown.  Amazing!  Amazing that the guys who make these kind of half-baked moves in the first place have anything above a grammar school education.  The move of West Virginia made little sense for the Big 12 and for the Mountaineers.  Except money, of course.  The Big 12 needed another school so it had enough games to fill it's television contract obligation.  West Virginia freaked out with the loss of Pitt and Syracuse and grabbed the first empty seat and that seat comes with some extra television contract cash.  But it also comes with very little natural recruiting base.  Some of the ill-informed like to point to the same issues with Boise State and San Diego State joining the Big East, but that is a football only move.  The Aztec women's volleyball team won't be making any cross-country trips to Storrs, Connecticut. Regardless of the insanity I have a strong feeling Louisville will be gone.  Heck, the Cardinals are saying it to other members of the Big East.  They're saying it to their football recruits.  They are saying it to anyone who has sobered up since Derby Day.  Just a hunch, but the only thing that can possibly keep the Cardinals in the fold is quick movement on a hefty Big East television contract.  With a new commissioner on the way I'm not sure that can happen.  The loss of Louisville would not be a kill shot, but it's another blow.  It leaves behind a conference that has U.C., Boise, and UConn as the only schools that have scored a spot in a BCS bowl game.  That is not good.  I still subscribe to the theory that ESPN is more than happy to see Big East football go the way of the dodo bird.  But here's where the Big East has a nice trump card: Basketball.  It's not nearly as lucrative as football, but ESPN has a lot of time to fill during basketball season and nothing gets the eyeballs that time of year like Big East basketball.  The best news for Big East fans are reports that the basketball schools want to keep it together.  Should ESPN lose that inventory, and say NBC Sports Network makes a big play, then things could break the way of the Big East.  But that is best-case scenario thinking.  Worst case?  ESPN already has the other 5 power conferences locked up and is more than content to see those as the only schools that will have a realistic chance of being included in the future BCS Bowls.

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