Monday, November 29, 2010

After Adding TCU, Will the Big East Now Split In Two?

TCU announced today that it was leaving the Mountain West Conference for the Big East. Makes sense because nothing says "East" like Texas (or Louisville, Marquette, DePaul).

The move gives the conference a rising football power ... making it a 9-team football conference. It also makes the hoops side of things a 17-team conference where everyone will play each other once and every team gets two "repeat games". The Big East also extended a invite for Villanova to move their football program up from FCS to become the 10th football member (Nova is already a member in all other sports).

With the conference ballooning up to ridiculous heights, will a break up of the Big East happen? After all, with football running things there is no reason for many of the schools to keep carrying the others.

With TCU in the fold, the football members would be smart to break off into their own conference (TCU, Syracuse, Pitt, West Virginia, UConn, South Florida, Cincinnati, Rutgers and Louisville). That would leave the non-football members (Notre Dame, Villanova, Georgetown, St. John's, Providence, Seton Hall, Marquette and DePaul) to hold their own hoops conference.

Those football schools don't really need the others. In fact, aside from losing Nova and G'town (Marquette and Notre Dame would be marginal losses), the football schools actually make up a more powerful hoops conference. Syracuse, UConn and Louisville have all won National Championships over the last 25 years while Pitt, West Virginia and Cincinnati have been powerhouses during that span. Rutgers is becoming more of a force leaving only TCU and South Florida as the only "bottom feeders".

Not like the non-football schools. Sure St. John's is trying to turn around their fortunes. So is DePaul and Seton Hall. But aside from losing New York City as the epicenter of the conference (which they still could host their tournament there with Rutgers still around), is there any other real loss?

Maybe. Notre Dame has a big national following. You would also lose the Philadelphia, Washington, New York, Chicago and Milwaukee markets ... something the Big East really doesn't want to give up. But maybe they all work something out and just have two separate "divisions" in the Big East Conference ... similar to how the NFC and AFC work in the NFL. They have their own divisions and do their thing but also can play some games against teams in the other division. Breaking up from a hoops standpoint doesn't make total sense.

But if there is anything we've learned about this conference realignment is that basketball doesn't matter. After all, why in the hell would TCU want to go to the Big East? Recruiting? TV exposure? The great basketball tradition? No, they want to go there so they can whip the other schools in football and have an easier time to a BCS game. I mean, TCU had to be PERFECT to get into a BCS bowl this year. Meanwhile, a mediocre UConn team could be the representative from the Big East in a BCS bowl.

Football drives this all. So it wouldn't surprise me to see the football schools leave the others behind.

No comments: