I don't remember whether it was you FF or someone else, but the real key for UMass (and Temple) is committment. Are they and their alumni willing to spend what it takes? UConn had a can-do spirit and got it done with help from the state. UMass may be less likely to get state help, but they are big enough to do what's needed with alumni.
There is certainly good potential in the BE for individual schools. However, its the present and the top that 's lacking. Comparing the NBE to the ACC demonstrates that (looking at "programs" as opposed to one particular year in football)
Rutgers-Maryland potential to be equal, but not close at present
WVU-Clemson roughly equivalent
UConn-UNC potential to be equivalanet, but not there at present
Pitt-GT roughly equivalent
SU-VT roughly equivalent
UMass-UVA potential to be equivalent with committment by UMass
Louisville-NC St. potential to be close
Cincinnati-Duke potential to be better, but not a lot of difference overall at present
USF-Boston College potential to be close, but not there at present
That leaves Wake Forest, who with their small size and 3 fellow Carolinans has limited potential, and Miami and FSU. The NBE has no Miami or FSU.
The Big 10 has Ohio St., Michigan and Penn St. among the top 10 all-time, along with MSU as top 25.
The SEC has Alabama and Tennessee as top 10 caliber programs all-time, along with UGA, LSU, Auburn and Arkansas as top 25.
The Pac 10 has USC, Arizona St., Washington and UCLA as top 25.
The Big 12 has Texas, OU and Nebraska as top 10 along with Colorado and Texas A&M as top 25 + relative newcomer Kansas St.
As always, very well said, Bullet. Excellent analysis.
I will just say that my position is based on pure potential, not where anything is now, but where it could be for schools that successfully build programs.
I see MA, CT, NJ, & WV as core of states that can be dominated by current BE members + UMass in the same way that the ACC dominates NC, VA, & MD. And populations of the two clusters of states are about the same. In this sense a good core.
So, the comparison comes down to the others. I see the following as having similar potential - & potential only:
Syracuse - Florida State
Pitt - Miami
Louisville - Georgia Tech
Cincinnati - Clemson
USF - Boston College
My view of the comparable potential is based purely on location & followings for the schools.
There is no guarantee for success at Florida State after Bobby Bowden leaves. There is no great tradition there. They didn't make him; he made them. Although they have state-wide appeal, FSU's location off in the Flaorida Panhandle makes accessibility difficult for large portions of the state 500 miles & 8 hours from the large population centers of southern Florida. They will always play second fiddle to the Gators, Miami owns souther Florida, & the move up in class by USF only increase competition. Syracuse, on the other hand, is in a unique position for a private - centrally located in upstate new York with no competition in a state of 19 million. It has the tradition of a national championship & All-Americans from Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Floyd Little, & Larry Csonka through Donovan McNabb & Marvin Harrison. With of programs of comparable caliber, SU has at least as much potential as FSU to attract fans & recruits.
Pitt & Miami are comparable types of schools in large pro cities. Back in the '70s when Pitt was winning a national championship, nobody thought that U of Miami was anything special in football. Howard Snellenberger built the program there & it has been sustained by others since, but if someone does the same at Pitt, it is positioned to be just as successful.
Both Louisville & Georgia Tech are in SEC states. The difference is that the Georgial Bulldogs are a football power & the Kentucky Wildcats are not. Without any real competition in-state, Louisville is in position to be THE football program in the state despite itw otherwise limited appeal.
Although Ohio football is dominated by Ohio State, the Cincinnati metro area alone has almost 2 million people. There is room in the state for the Bearcats to carve out their own niche here if they build a big time program. Even if they recruit only Ohio State's leftovers, a state of 11 million should provide the recruits & fans for a second team. How much better can Clemson do in a state of 4 million that they share with the state flagship playing in the SEC?
Yes, the potential of USF is limited & pretty much restricted to the Tampa area, but how much potential does BC have? It's been pretty much limited to its alums - of which there are plenty in the region, but it's been without competition in the region for recruits or fans. With the recent addition of UConn as a second BCS school in New England & the potential addition of UMass, I can't see them doing any better. I see USF as a match for them
All of this would only mean anything if these BE schools can build competitive programs. The potential is there. It's up to them.
Cheers . . .