can prosper in Big East, school told
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Post staff reporter
Win -- Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese said -- and everything else will take care of itself.
Tranghese, in Cincinnati to meet with University of Cincinnati officials and coaches, said he believes the UC football program can draw fans and prosper, especially with its new affiliation with the Big East and its Bowl Championship Series ties.
"The Big East is an urban league. I don't think Cincinnati is different than any of our schools. If you win, they will draw," Tranghese said. "If you lose, this is a pro town and people tend to forget about you. I've seen that at Syracuse, at Pittsburgh, at St. John's, in basketball, and all of a sudden people don't care. But there's a high side if you win. That's the only thing that's going to draw fans. They're going to bring in good teams, but ultimately it's about winning."
Tranghese had breakfast Monday with UC football coach Mark Dantonio, before meeting with the media. That was followed with meetings with UC president Nancy Zimpher and men's basketball coach Bob Huggins.
Tranghese talked about UC football among several other topics during an hour allotted to meet with local media Monday morning.
• Big East university presidents will likely approve a scheduling format for basketball next month, but it may not be announced until after the basketball season ends.
"I'd rather wait until after basketball season to get the attention away," he said. "I'm very sensitive to Cincinnati, Louisville, DePaul, Marquette and South Florida about finishing out playing this last year in Conference USA, just like I'm making for certain Boston College is treated the same as the other schools (in the Big East) this year (before heading to the ACC)."
Tranghese said the school presidents want each team to play every other league team each year.
"Now what I have to lay out to them is what that means," he said. "What that means for television and a whole bunch of other issues."
There is current NCAA legislation to eliminate the two exhibition games and expand the regular season from 27 games to 29. That could be beneficial for an expanded conference schedule.
• The Big East tournament will remain in New York and specifically at Madison Square Garden.
The conference has a contract with Madison Square Garden to hold the conference tournament through 2011.
• The number of teams making the tournament is still undecided. The league coaches, Tranghese said, want all 16 teams to be in New York for the tournament.
"Our coaches are adamant about bring 16," Tranghese said. "I'm not sure our presidents are on that same page.
"I need to talk to the presidents about it."
• Tranghese served as the Men's Basketball Selection Committee chair in 2000-01, and said he's been assured there will be no cap on the number of teams that can make the tournament from the conference.
"There are no limits," said Tranghese. "I think with the expansion of our conference and the expansion of the ACC, and the larger conferences, the basketball committee is treading in new waters. I've been assured there will be no limits."
• For now, Tranghese sees much of the conference shifting as being over, he said. The Big East is happy with its future of an eight-team football league and a 16-team basketball league.
"We'll only expand when there's an opportunity to bring someone to make it better," he said. "It would have to be someone to make us better. The people that are available don't make us better. If something crazy happens, we'll look at it."
• The most important issue for the Big East this off-season was to retain its standing as a BCS conference. Tranghese said the Big East is guaranteed at least four more years in the BCS.
"We don't have any choice. I wish we had a little longer to work out the kinks," he said. "We've got seven teams in our league this year and it's possible that six are going to be bowl-eligible. The only one is Temple (which is leaving the Big East after this season). We're going to have a flock of teams that is bowl eligible. We're a little better than people give us credit for. The only way to eradicate the criticism is to play better."
While Louisville has been impressive so far this season, the other two incoming football teams have been less so.
UC and South Florida lost to Army in the last two weeks. After a 19-game losing streak, the Black Knights now have a two-game winning streak thanks to future Big East members.
"I don't like when anyone loses; I'm not good at losing," Tranghese said. "I'm not happy about it, but I'm happy that they aren't happy about it. I know Mark isn't happy about it. Those are games we have to win, and we have to win those games above that."
West Virginia is the only Big East team in the current BCS standings, released Sunday. The Mountaineers, tied atop the Big East standings with Syracuse, are No. 20 in the BCS rankings. Conference USA has two teams in the BCS rankings, Louisville (No. 17) and Alabama-Birmingham (No. 24). Louisville, along with UC and South Florida will be headed to the Big East for football next season. Both of this year's Big East defectors -- Miami (No. 2) and Virginia Tech (No. 25) -- are in the BCS rankings. Boston College will follow next season.
"We've got work to do in football. It's a challenge but we're excited about it," Tranghese said. "For all the criticism we're going to take on the football side, which I think is overwhelming, the praise of the basketball side is going to be overwhelming."
Publication Date: 10-19-2004