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PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 10:31 pm 
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Quote:

Quote:
Boston Globe - 11/26/04. Mark Blaudschun.
Interview with BC AD DeFilippo.

DeFilippo quote when asked if he could go back in time and change things.

" I'd love to go back to the early 1980's and get Ted Aceto to change his vote on Penn State."

The comment was made in reference to the Nova AD casting the deciding vote that kept Penn St. out of the Big East. Had the vote been different everything else might have changed, because the BE would have had Penn St. as an anchor, along with Syracuse, Pitt, and Boston College, and the addition of Miami would have made the conference a solid East Coast factor.


This would be laughable if it weren't so sad. :'(

It's unfortunate that we have turned into a country of whiners who want to blame everyone else for our problems. No one seems to want to take responsibility for their own actions any more. If Gene DeFilippo wants to know where to look to place blame for the problems in Eastern football, all he has to do is to look in the mirror. And I say this is someone who is a fan of Boston College, who has attended their games regularly over the years, & who paid 4 years of tuition there (for my daughter).

It took a lot of nerve for DeFilippo to make this statement at a time when BC had just abandoned Eastern football for the second time. How convenient for him to retreat to a situation 22 years earlier to find a scapegoat for the actions of himself & his university president who had just stabbed the other Eastern schools in the back - & then whined further that they shouldn't have to pay the fine that they had helped craft & had agreed to months earlier.

Unfortunately the factual record does not support DeFilippo's statement:

1. Joe Paterno is on the record as saying that Penn State was never interested in joining the Big East, that he had approached ADs at BC & Syracuse about forming an all-sports conference. What this says to me is that BC & Syracuse tried to hedge their bets by getting the rest of the BE members to offer an invitation to Penn State - an offer that Paterno says PSU would never have accepted. BC & Syracuse wanted to have their cake & eat it too.


Hi FriarFan,

I am returning to these boards after a long absence, and wish to say that I have found your posts to be amongst the best since GunnerFan and I used to post here.

But, while JoePa may have insisted that Penn State never wanted admittance into the Big East, the fact remains they did, and both Dave Gavitt and Mike Tranghese have publicly supported Jake Crouthamel's version of what happened.

The three "No" votes have never publicly been revealed, but I have it on pretty good authority that they were St. John's, Georgetown, and Seton Hall. So I have no idea why DeFillippo is fingering Nova, who was a partner with Penn State in the Eastern 8 just a few years earlier.


Quote:
2. What it would have taken in 1982 is the same thing that it would take now to form an all-sports conference. The football schools would have to leave the Big East with the safety & security that it provides. Nothing is gained in this world without some risk. In 1982, BC & Syracuse were not risk takers. The football schools have yet to show themselves to be risk takers today.


I agree, that had Penn State joined the Big East back in 1982, and Pitt would have followed at #10 within 2 years, the 4 cornerstones of northeastern football would still have been independent from 84-88. But there was no need for SU and BC to risk anything back in 1982 when being indy was still worthwhile and JoePa was insisting upon an imbalance of football monies going to the Nits but an equal share of basketball proceeds.

What might have been different was when the landscape started to change in the late 80s - it might have been much easier to be risk-takers for all four (BC, Syracuse, and Pitt to leave the security of the Big East and Penn State to capitulate on their demand for a much higher amount of the football monies) if they had been conference members together for a period of 4 years or more.

On the other hand, Bryce Jordan was determined to get Penn State into the Big 10 - so that might have happened anyway (assuming he would have been president, as I'll get into below) - which means that Syracuse and BC were right to be conservative in this regard. After all, JoePa and Penn State did pull out of the old Eastern 8 by slipping a note under the commissioner's door.


Quote:
3. In 1982, the Big East was not interested in adding 2 schools, so if an offer had been made & Penn State were to have accepted it, Pitt would have been left hanging out to dry. Pitt was a good fit for the Big East in 1982, which is why they were admitted. Penn State was not, which is why an invitation was never offered.


IMHO, that is purely conjecture. Certainly a possibility, but not a definite. Penn State was the oddball since it was rural and a football school, not a basketball school. They were the much tougher sell - especially since JoePa did not endear himself with a lot of Eastern athletics people. My own opinion is that Pitt would have gotten in regardless, but it might have taken a year or two more at most.


Quote:
4. The post further assumes that BOTH Pitt & Miami would have later been admitted. When Miami was admitted, it brought the Big East membership to 10. Later actions of adding associate members showed that the Big East was not interested in expanding beyond 10 until much later. Thre is no way that Miami would have been admitted if the conference was at 10 members with both Penn State & Pitt. There is no way that Miami would have accepted associate membership. With Penn state in the fold, the Big East would not have felt the pressure necessary to take on Miami with all of its problems.


Agree. I think the Big East would have been 10 members by 1989 and assuming the Nits were not tempted by a Big 10 offer, what happened to the Big East in the early 90s is probably what would have happened - only with Penn State taking Miami's place in the scheme of things.

The other possibility was that there would have been a split with West Virginia, Rutgers, VT, and Temple joining the other 4 for a new Eastern 8.


Quote:
6. The critical assumption to all of the speculation about Penn State & the Big East is that Penn State, once admitted to the Big East, would have stayed as the anchor & that everything would have been built around them. They woudl have been the cornerstone for football, the lynchpin. Well, as Miami later showed, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. If you read the comments of Bryce Jordan, Penn State president (1983-1990), he had his sight set on Big Ten membership from the time he took office. And not because Penn state was not a member of any conference at that time, but because he believed that Penn State was associated athletically with a group of Eastern colleges & universities that were not their peers - his words, not mine. Big East membership would not have changed this view; it would only have reinforced it. Jordan had a vision for the university - not just the Athletic Dept. - & that vision would have brought Penn State to the Big Ten regardless of any other developments with the possible exception of ACC membership.


Ah, but the above assumes Bryce Jordan, a Texan if I remember correctly, would have become President of Penn State if the Lions were a member of the Big East. A conference affiliation with the likes of Georgetown, Villanova, Syracuse, and Boston College might have yielded an entirely different candidate pool for that job, which in turn might have led to someone else getting the presidency. Keep in mind that Penn State was hardly an academic powerhouse at that time.


Quote:
7. Finally, Penn State in the Big East would not have changed the basic dilemma which has exsited in this conference ever since it decided to add football. And that dilemma is its hybrid form. The same dynamics that eventually drove Miami from the conference would have haunted Penn State as well. Joining a basketball-only conference, which included 6 basketball-only charter members was never a solution to Eastern football for Penn State or anyone else.


Perhaps, but on the other hand, having a Penn State in the fold from the early 1980s onward might have resulted in a Connecticut and a Villanova being more willing to invest in football as a sport at a higher level as well. The dynamics again could have been entirely different.

At this point in time, trying to project what might have happened is a fun, but fruitless exercise. But it helps the dog days of July go by before football pre-season begins. ;)

Cheers,
Neil


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 7:05 am 
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Having been away from this topic for 6 months, I've been struck recently just how different the history of Eastern college sports would have been if their had been a visionary of the ilk of Dave Gavitt or Roy Kramer around at that time. There was a window of opportunity in the '80s when something really special could have been put together. After Penn State left the eastern Eight in 1979, Joe Paterno started making noises about an Eastern all-sports conference. Something was working out in these conversations because he seems to have turned his attention to the Big East, a basketball conference with only two IA football members at the time. I guess he figured that half a loaf was better than none at all & Big East membership would upgrade Penn State's awful basketball program. Miami apparently had the same thinking 10 years later. However, in Penn State's case, it would have meant continuing to compete as an independent in football.

Let's suppose that Paterno hadn't been willing to settle for half a loaf & that the fire-in-the-belly for an all-sports conference burned more intensely than they apparently did. Paterno apparently felt that Syracuse & BC were essential to his plan. Suppose he had not been willing to accept defeat so easily & was willing to look a little farther away for partners. South Carolina, Florida State, & Miami were all independents at the time. How about this for a modest proposal back in the eighties:

NORTH

Penn State
West Virginia
Pitt
Rutgers

SOUTH

South Carolina
Florida State
Miami

Only 6 members were needed for a conference at the time, so this list would have worked as a start-up. Syracuse & BC would have been forced to leave the Big East eventually and to have joined this group. They would have been forced to because there would have been no other major independents left. The new conference now would have looked like this:

Penn State
West Virginia
Pitt
Rutgers
Syracuse
Boston College

South Carolina
Florida State
Miami

I'm convinced that Penn State would eventuall have left for the Big Ten as they eventually did anyway, leaving the conference with 8 members. However, with Florida rivals Miami & Florida State in the same all-sports conference, I don't think that either of them would have left.

What might have developed after that would have been very interesting. As the Virginia Tech program began to emerge, they would probably have been attractive to both the this New East & to the ACC. Mu guess is that they would have gone to the ACC. When Roy Kramer convinced the SEC to expand to 12, conference raids might have started a decade earlier than they eventually did. Would the SEC have gone after South Carolina? Given an affiliation with Miami & Florida State, would South Carolina have left? Might the SEC have approached Georgia Tech about returning to the conference instead?

Would this New East have seen Louisville as an attractive candidate after its big year in 1991? Would they have reached out to either UConn or UMass to upgrade their programs & join? Would UConn have been able to sell this idea to their boosters & the legislature without a gurantee of membership?

The big question is whther this New East might have targeted the ACC rather than the other way around? Would football schools like Georgia Tech & Clemson have seen this as a more attractive home than the ACC & as a way to get out from under the dominance of the North Carolina basketball schools? Would Maryland have seen this as the inevitable wave of the future as Syracuse & BC would certainly have & would Maryland also have decided to leave tha ACC & join up.

The 1980s was truly the opportunity for an Eastern super conference if there had been the leadership at the time to cut the deals necessary to make it work.

There is a good chance that we could have ended up with an Eastern "super conference" looking something like this:

NORTH

Pitt
West Virginia
Rutgers
Syracuse
Boston College

SOUTH

South Carolina
Florida State
Miami
Georgia Tech
Clemson

ADDITIONS TO GET TO 12:

Maryland (North)
North Carolina State (South)


Last edited by friarfan on Sat Feb 03, 2007 9:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 10:08 am 
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Friar,

From time to time I often think about the missed opportunities for a NE based conference - or at least a power-player in college FB and BB for the former Div1 independents you list.

The first opportunity was - as you note - was JoePa's conference with PSU, Pitt, BC, and SU as the core schools. You note that the other major indys at the time were SC, Miami, and FSU. This topic has been debated a few times on this board. I found a post from 2005 from YungWun that taks about some of the problems with Miami being invited:

http://collegesportsinfo/forum/viewtopic.php?t=607&start=15

Not having PSU in the conference hurt NE football because they WERE NE football for a long time while Pitt severly declined starting in the mid 80s.

Another chance that the former indys missed was the combination with the Metro Conference (right before FSU was admitted in 1990?). Pitt, BC, and SU (along with Miami, ECU, Rutgers, Temple, and WVu) held meetings with the Metro conference about the possibility of merging with them in 1990.

http://www.courier-journal.com/cjsports/news2003/11/05bigeast/big-4-east-old-7013.html

Potential conference:
RU
SU
BC
Pitt
WVu
Temple
UC

Miami
ECU
USM
Tulane
Memphis
VT
UL

FSU and South Carolina left around 1990 or 1991 (?). If they make this move before USC and FSU leave it becomes much more attractive and you can 'drop' 4 teams and you have a nice 12 team conference.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 11:04 am 
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One other thing.... I hope that someone like Rupert Murdoch sees the value of a 'NE' based conference or Atlantic conference and pays top dollar for the creation of such a conference. Several scenerios have been posted in the 'Dream Conferences' scenerio but that conference MUST have BOTH PSU and ND to succeed in getting viewers attention.

My first choice would be:

Miami or Florida State (I prefer Miami because of their history in the BE and their better academic reputation)
Florida
Georgia
Georgia Tech
North Carolina
Duke
Virginia
-------------------------- above is Southern Division
-------------------------- below is Northern Division
Maryland
Penn State
Pitt
Notre Dame
Boston College
Syracuse
Connecticut

Good FB, MBB, WBB, Academics (all are top 70 USN&WR schools sans FSU), Olympic Sports, and Markets.
which would require MAJOR realignments.

My 2nd choice would then be:

ND
PSU
Maryland
SU
BC
UConn
Pitt
UC
RU
NW
(+ UL + WVU???)

Throw in an academic and perhaps a scheduling alliance with Navy and Army (and bring them in for Lacrosse too) and you have something. The league would have the #'s 1, 4, 6, 8, 22, 23, 27, 32, 44, and 50 markets and with ND help claim pieces of the #3 and #25 markets. That's 12 out of 50, something no other league would have.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2007 9:57 pm 
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Quote:
Friar,

From time to time I often think about the missed opportunities for a NE based conference - or at least a power-player in college FB and BB for the former Div1 independents you list.

The first opportunity was - as you note - was JoePa's conference with PSU, Pitt, BC, and SU as the core schools. You note that the other major indys at the time were SC, Miami, and FSU. This topic has been debated a few times on this board. I found a post from 2005 from YungWun that taks about some of the problems with Miami being invited:

http://collegesportsinfo/forum/viewtopic.php?t=607&start=15

Not having PSU in the conference hurt NE football because they WERE NE football for a long time while Pitt severly declined starting in the mid 80s.

Another chance that the former indys missed was the combination with the Metro Conference (right before FSU was admitted in 1990?). Pitt, BC, and SU (along with Miami, ECU, Rutgers, Temple, and WVu) held meetings with the Metro conference about the possibility of merging with them in 1990.

http://www.courier-journal.com/cjsports/news2003/11/05bigeast/big-4-east-old-7013.html

Potential conference:
RU
SU
BC
Pitt
WVu
Temple
UC

Miami
ECU
USM
Tulane
Memphis
VT
UL

FSU and South Carolina left around 1990 or 1991 (?). If they make this move before USC and FSU leave it becomes much more attractive and you can 'drop' 4 teams and you have a nice 12 team conference.


Panther, it was fascinating to read both of these links. Combining Lash's perspective on the the formation of conferences in the '80s & '90s as viewed from his perspective in Miami at the time with my own experience with the same as viewed from Connecticut & now woth the author's perspective from Louisville, it really broadens my view of this whole period.

You're right. Yung Wun makes some interesting points about Miami of the early '80s which I ignored in some cases & glossed over in others. Thanks for setting the record strength & for bringing me up to speed.

It was equally interesting to go back to the old Phill burbs article linked here on the forum a year & a half ago. I think that I'll post my reaction directly on that thread.

Friar


Last edited by friarfan on Mon Feb 05, 2007 10:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2007 7:10 am 
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Not sure if you already answered this one Friar or Lash but what are your thoughts under teh two scerios:

1 - All sports Eastern Conference is formed in the 60s.
2 - All sports Eastern Conference formed in the 80s.

Do you think this would have had an effect on the 'minor' players at that time in the East into developing their programs sooner (ie Rutgers and to a lesser extent Temple/Villanova (as you note Temple didn't have FB again until '71)?


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2007 2:53 pm 
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Quote:
Not sure if you already answered this one Friar or Lash but what are your thoughts under teh two scerios:

1 - All sports Eastern Conference is formed in the 60s.
2 - All sports Eastern Conference formed in the 80s.

Do you think this would have had an effect on the 'minor' players at that time in the East into developing their programs sooner (ie Rutgers and to a lesser extent Temple/Villanova (as you note Temple didn't have FB again until '71)?


Wow . . . the '60's? I'll give this one some thought, Panther. That was really a down decade for Eastern sports - the only decade in which the East failed to win at least one national championship in either of the two major sports. College basketball was rocked with the second wave of college betting scandals in the early '60s (1961?). It took the rest of the decade for them to recover.

College hoops had continued to be strong in the'50s - 2 NCs & repeated appearances in the Final Four. also repeated NIT championships when that tournament was still a big deal. (In fact the '54 Nit champ Holy Cross was clearly better than NCAA champ LaSalle & '53 Nit champ Seton Hall had a better record than NCAA champ Indiana & was arguably the better team although the polls ranked Indiana #1 & SHU #2.) NYU & St. Joe's went to the Final Four in '60 & '61, but then the betting scandal broke, St. Joe's was caught in it, & the only team to go to the Final Four for the rest of the decade was Ivy League champ Princeton in '65 with Bill Bradley. No scandals at the Ivies. Eastern schools continued to win NIT tournaments & up until around '65, the NIT continued to attract Top Ten teams, so this was still a big deal - although not as big as it was a decade earlier.

I should have mentioned the betting scandals of the '50s & '60s as a factor in the decline of Easter college sports. One immediate effect on college basketball was that the big time NYC schools either dropped basketball or moved out of MSG to on campus arenas. 1950 NC, CCNY dropped the sport in the '50s after the first round of scandals. St. John's moved out of the Garden, where they had been playing their home games, after the seond round of scandals. NYU, a big time school which had been to two NCAA Final Fours & one NIT finals when that was the equal of the NCAA in the 15 years before the scandals, dropped the sport by the early '70s as part of the mood for reform in the decade that followed. Because of the scandals, there were a lot of disincentives to big time college sports at that time & no real incentives. The NCAA finals weren't even broadcast at first & then when they were, they were on tape delay.

Penn State really took over Eastern college football in the '60s,. following their NC in '59, Syracuse competed with them for a while, but after producing a string of great running backs, they gradually became more of a basketball school & less successful in football.

I'll think about this one & get back to you about the '60s. I've already said more than my share on the '80s.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2007 12:40 am 
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Quote:
Not sure if you already answered this one Friar or Lash but what are your thoughts under teh two scerios:

1 - All sports Eastern Conference is formed in the 60s.
2 - All sports Eastern Conference formed in the 80s.

Do you think this would have had an effect on the 'minor' players at that time in the East into developing their programs sooner (ie Rutgers and to a lesser extent Temple/Villanova (as you note Temple didn't have FB again until '71)?


Panther, in some ways, forming a conference from a group of independents would just be a matter of formalizing relationships & scheduling arrangements that already exist. So, I took a look at Penn State's schedule first in the '50s & '60s, then in the '70s & '80s to see who they were scheduling in football & therefore who would be the likliest candidates for an all-sports conference. Penn State would have been at the heart of any such conference, so I thought that their schedule would tell me the most. 8 members was standard for a conference in those days, so I began witth that assumption. Here are the top candidates:

Sixties Conference
Penn State
Pitt
West Virginia
Syracuse
Army
Navy
Holy Cross
Boston College

Note: Penn State began playing Maryland in the sixties, playing them 9 times, but UM was already a solid member of the ACC. It would have been interesting to see if they would have switched. PSU played BU 8 times in the '50s & early '60s before BU dropped the sport. Penn State seemed to want to play a Boston school because it was after that that they began playing BC.

Eighties Conference
Penn State
Pitt
West Virginia
Syracuse
Temple
Boston College
Rutgers
Cincinnati

Note: Penn State played Maryland 17 times & North Carolina State 11 times in the '70s & '80s. I don't think that either of these were coming North at that time to a new conference since the ACC was by that time established for 30 years. Alabama (9) & Kentucky (7) were frequently on the PSU schedule in those days but obviously those two were not coming. Notre Dame was on the Penn State schedule 8 times in the '80s. I'm not touching that one.


Last edited by friarfan on Wed Feb 07, 2007 12:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2007 8:36 am 
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Friar,

Thanks for the comments and lists. I have forgotten about the bb scandals in the NE during the 50s. It is intereseting to see that you only have two state schools - Penn State and WVu in that conference. Based on that, I don't think the conference would have had the 'legs' necessary to keep up with everyone - especially since the demographic change within Army and Navy as they begin the slow decline. In addition, the number of privates is just a further note that 'state schools' really didn't develop in the East in the backyard of the Ivys.

Would have been interesting to see what would have happened considering all of the privates in that NE conference - would other privates have joined from other 'closeby' regions?


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2007 10:58 am 
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Quote:
Not sure if you already answered this one Friar or Lash but what are your thoughts under teh two scerios:

1 - All sports Eastern Conference is formed in the 60s.
2 - All sports Eastern Conference formed in the 80s.

Do you think this would have had an effect on the 'minor' players at that time in the East into developing their programs sooner (ie Rutgers and to a lesser extent Temple/Villanova (as you note Temple didn't have FB again until '71)?


Panther here's some more information on this topic for each of the two eras:

Northeast's Top Football Schools Based on # of Appearance in Top 20 (AP/UPI)

Fifties/Sixties

1. Syracuse ('59 NC)
2. Penn State
3. Army (tie)
3. Navy (tie)
5. Maryland
6. Pitt (tie)
6. Princeton (tie)
8. West Virginia
9. Virginia Tech
10. Holy Cross (tie)
10. Rutgers (tie)

Seventies/Eighties

1. Penn State ('82 & '86 NC)
2. Pitt ('76 NC)
3. Maryland
4. West Virginia
5. Boston College
6. Syracuse
7. Dartmout (tie)
7. Rutgers (tie)
7. Temple (tie)
10. Navy

Penn State was so far ahead of eveyone else that I have to wonder if they were that dominant or if no one else was even the whole time. ;)


Last edited by friarfan on Wed Feb 07, 2007 1:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2007 1:10 pm 
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After making the list of football schools, I was prompted to make the same list for basketball:

Northeast's Top Basketball Schools Based on # of Appearances in Top 20 (AP/UPI)

Fifties/Sixties

1. West virginia
2. St. John's
3. Duquesne (tie)
3. Villanova (tie)
5. Holy cross
6. Providence
7. LaSalle (tie)
7. St. Bonaventure (tie)
9. St. Joe's
10. Columbia

Seventies/Eighties

1. Syracuse
2. Georgetown
3. Maryland
4. Penn
5. St. John's
6. Villanova
7. Pitt (tie)
7. Providence (tie)
7. Temple (tie)
10. West Virginia


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2007 1:30 pm 
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What is so striking about the lists for the two sports above is how little overlap there is between them. It seems to me that this makes crystal clear why it was so difficult to form an all-sports league. If a school like West virginia, the only school to appear on all 4 lists, wanted to compete at the highest levels in both sports, it simply couldn't do it with the same group of schools. This was very unlike conferences like the Big Ten or Pac Ten which dominated their regions in both sports.

Basketball was dominated for the most part by schools who didn't even sponsor football teams. Football was dominated by schools like Penn State who rarely if ever even appeared in the Top Twenty.

The other problem in conference formation was the differences between schools. The only school besides West Virginia that appeared on the lists for both sports in the earlier era('50s/'60s) was Holy Cross, a very small New England Catholic Libera Arts college. You couldn't find 2 more different insitutions in almost every way.

Thee was more overlap in the second eera, but one of these was Maryland, a school by that time well established in the ACC & very unlikely to leave even if they had been approached by someone like Penn State. The others were Pitt, West Virginia, Syracuse, & Temple, which meant that even in an 8-team conference only half the members could consistentl;y sponsor strong programs in both sports.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 8:36 am 
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Thanks Friar for compiling this info.

My questions surround this statement:


Quote:
which meant that even in an 8-team conference only half the members could consistentl;y sponsor strong programs in both sports


How would you compare that to other conferences such as the ACC, SEC, Big10, Big 8, SWC, and Pac 10 - the other major players at the time. I mean for the longest time (at least in the Hayes and Schembechler era) that the Big 10 was known as the Big 2 and little 8.

I mean in the 70s and 80s - when say an Eastern 8 would have been formed:
Penn State
Pitt
West Virginia
Syracuse
Temple
Boston College
Rutgers
Cincinnati (JoePa's plan called for Army/Navy instead but who knows if they would have accepted)

would that conference be as strong as the other conferences in FB and BB?

I think the data shows that - as you mention - that the NE was the lone region that didn't have a major conference playing 1A FB/BB that garned most of the power in FB and BB. The other regions had the major schools that grew up to dominate their regions and there are historical reasons for this.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 9:54 am 
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Panther, you make an excellent point. I'll do some research. It was not only Big Ten that fit your description. The Big Eight was Oklahoma/Nebraska & everyone else. Kansas/Kanbsas State were the only schools with any track record in basketball as conference members. The old southwest Conference was a football only conference. I remember one year when Texas went to the NCAA tournament as conference champ with a losing record. And this was before conference tournaments. The SEC was also a football-only conference except for Kentucky, which was a basketball-only school. So, not only were conferences dominated by a couple of schools in football, they weren't necessarily the dominant conferences in their regions for all-sports. The Missouri Valley Conference, for example, even with changing membership, dominated the old Midwest Region of the NCAA tournament - not the Big Eight or the Southwest Conference.

I played with the lists a little more. Joe Pa began casting about, looking for partners for his all-sports conference in the late'70s, actually leaving the Eastern Eight in 1979. The Big East was formed in 1979 & the Easter Eight in 1976. So, the decades of the '60s & '70s would have been more the historical backdrop for those looking for top performers as partners. The lists for his era shows even more starkly the power structure for basketball & football was divided in the East at this time:

SIXTIES/SEVENTIES FOOTBALL (Top Teams)

1. Penn State
2. Syracuse
3. Pitt
4. Maryland
5. Navy
6. West Virginia
7. Dartmouth (tie)
7. Rutgers (tie)
9. Army (tie)
9. Princeton (tie)
9. Temple (tie)

SIXES/SEVENTIES BASKETBALL (Top Teams)

1. Providence
2. Villanova
3. Penn
4. St. John's
5. Maryland
6. Syracuse
7. St. Bonaventure (tie)
7. West Virginia (tie)
9. St. Joe's
10. Duquesne (tie)
10. Princeton (tie)

One of the things that these lists highlight is that Boston College was not a top team in either football or basketball in the post-WW II/pre-Flutie era. How odd that Joe Pa made BOTH Syracuse & BC a requirement for his all-sports conference. Why not Villanova instead? Villanova didn't drop football (1981) until AFTER it joined the Big East (1980). Coincidence?

If Joe Pa had been able to accomplish the task in the late seventies, maybe Villanova keeps football as a member of an all-sports conference. They would have been the conference's best basketball program. Syracuse was critical to the formation of this conference, but not BC. Thinking of it that way, Joe Pa was only missing one key ingredient for the conference. Had he gone ahead without them, they could have been added later. Six teams were all that would have been needed to start a conference, so he had his nucleus.

This was also the time when the ACC was only 7 members - after South Carolina had left in 1972 but before Georgia Tech was added in 1983. If ever there was a time that the ACC was vulnerable to a raid, that was it. With 4 of 7 schools from North Carolina, it was really the Tobacco Road Conference. South Carolina resented the political domination of the North Carolina schools, so maybe Maryland did too. Although Maryland had a long history with the other ACC schools, going back to their Southern Conference days, they also had a long history with the Northern schools. They were truly a border state that dould have gone either way.

If Maryland had been successfully recruited, Syracuse would have been sure to follow, & BC would have followed them.

How does this look?

CORE GROUP

Penn State
Pitt
West Virginia
Rutgers
Temple
Villanova

TO BE ADDED

Maryland
Syracuse
Boston College

I think that this affiliation was eminently doable with the right leadership at that time. (Too bad Gavitt wasn't a football guy - or at least AD at a football school.) There were 4 state flagships to anchor the conference. While it would have been based on football, there would have been strong basketball schools (Villanova, Maryland, Syracuse, etc.) to give them credibility in both sports. Army & Navy were both obviously fading at that time from there former glory & the limitations imposed by qualification requirements to the academies made it obvious that their day had passed & never would be again.

Not only would this have been a dynamite conference in its own right, when the expansion era arrived in the '90s, it would have had the power to add other members from either the North (upgrade UConn &/or UMass) or the South (Miami, Florida State, or raid weakened ACC).


Last edited by friarfan on Thu Feb 08, 2007 10:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 11:08 am 
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Posts: 1030
Friar,

I honestly don't know much history about college BB and had no idea that the MVC was historically a good one. I'm certainly interested in your thoughts on the FB and BB schools of each region.

As to the JoePa 6 member conference - it is why I think he holds much more animosity towards Pitt than SU and BC because PSU and Pitt were the standard bearers of NE football at the time. Without one of those three in his hip pocket for an all sports conference - I think he knew it was doomed. Perhaps he thought that chances of SU or BC leaving the BE was less than Pitt leaving the Eastern 8 which is why I think Pitt gets most of the blame.

In addition, I think many agree with you in that if the 6 core schools were formed that it would have essentially forced BC and SU to leave the BE to join - which is why Gavitt wanted Penn State and/or Pitt to join the BE. Certainly, the BE would still have been in good shape had SU and BC left (could have been replaced with Holy Cross - do they turn the BE down twice and St. Bonnies for SU?) but they still have St. Johns, Gtwon, and Providence.

Of course, there were always rumors that JoePa had gotten Maryland to agree to join a Eastern all sports conference but there is debate as to whether it was really true. Maryland also had some FB history with SU to go along with their history with Penn State and Maryland started their annual series with WVu around that time. Certainly Maryland would be giving up some rivals but they wouldn't be going to a conference in which their only history was Penn State.

Certainly, a NE allsports conference with Maryland would have had a legup on any expansion - IF Penn State still remained. The conference champion would have won the 'Lambert Trophy'. These days, the Lambert Trophy really has no meaning with BC in the ACC, PSU in the Big10, and USF having a chance to win it.

Would Virginia Tech have had a meteoric rise if there was a NE based conference or would have the ACC reacted and added VT much sooner and with less fuss? As you note, I also doubt UConn makes a move to 1A FB. Lots of changes to conference makeups had a NE based conference come to fruition (for example, what if Holy Cross took the BE invite, where does that leave BC and does BC then lead the charge with JoePa for an eastern conference?).

Anyway, just some more laments from a guy who wishes this could have happened and with nothing better to do in between FB seasons and before the BB tourney.... :o


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