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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 3:21 pm 
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Neil, you make an excellent point on what may be practical for conference size and what is the maximum size that actually works before a conference becomes unwieldy.

12 is just about the maximum size any conference can expand and still be functional. It is probably the major reason the SEC and Big 12 have stopped at this number. Texas and Texas A&M would almost guarantee to support the revenue necessary if the SEC wanted 14 members. The reason this has not taken place is simply expansion beyond 12 members does not work.

The problem with the current Big East is the number has surpassed this important thresh hold of 12 teams.

I agree the basketball schools may not be that united, however, they have to think of long term security.

With all the issues with ACC football championship game attendance and revenue, the Big East may not have any desire to reach 12 football schools to stage a football championship game.

I don't think legally or ethically you can kicked all sports schools out of a conference. Temple was a exception and always was as a football only member. This was the reason the ACC bolted from the old Southern Conference and the MWC bolted from the WAC.

What is most likely to occur is the football schools bolting and expansion to 12. Football may not be the reason to expand to 12.

If the Big East football schools bolted they would almost surely want a 9th football member for balance schedule.

That leaves 3 open all sports membership spots for 12.

If Notre Dame wanted to come along and the football schools agreed to take ND without football, then there is a good change Villanova and Georgetown would leave the security of basketball only schools and join for a 12 team hybrid. I am not sure GT and Villanova would come along if a strong non football playing school like Notre Dame was not included in the mix.

Memphis is the only school outside of the six BCS conferences that is really excelling in one of the major revenue sports of football and basketball.

With that said, let the football schools bolt and take Notre Dame, Georgetown and Villanova, and pick up Memphis for 12.

This would provide an excellent 12 member basketball league and football would have the important number 9.

This may be the way things shake out because 16 is just too unwieldy and will eventually break. It is just a matter of time.

The question becomes how the 12 members will fill out the remainder of the alignment. Will football drive the number or need for markets and academics override the importance of a football championship game.

This becomes an easy decison. You really only need 9 football schools to work really well.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 7:36 pm 
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Lash, you're dead on. Which is why the BE basketball schools are so interesting. While they have no football, they have the most to gain by the other schools paying for it.

I'm fairly confident that if a Big East split does occur, it would be the BIG EAST FOOTBALL schools leaving and re-branding. The basketball only departure seems so simple to do. But if $$$ determines the path, and if there is more $$$ for the football schools by leaving, then they will leave.

I hope it happens so we have more to talk about...

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2008 11:45 pm 
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Lash, et. al.,

Sixteen teams for bb in a league seems excessive, particularly with attempts for home to home encounters.

The Big East has two distinct types of schools with different interests. The football contingent needs to separate, expand, and be done with it.

If Notre Dame embraced Big East fb, then no split perhaps, or at least becomes less necessary. But it could also propel a split. Of course waiting for a Notre Dame decision is wasteful time.

The Big East fb schools do have options to expand if they do split. And, it could be an even better bb conference.

In terms of schools to add, that gets tricky. We know who is out there lingering, but we don't know all the transitional commitments that each could offer. If the fb schools did break away, carrying some bb only types with them seems to compromise the purpose. Isn't getting away from hybrid designs the prime motivation in the first place?

If you take on a school, the desire should be consistency in prime sports offerings and the budgets, or potential budgets, to fit the new arrangement. Some FCS schools simply don't have the revenue or committed to it. The prudent way is take the available ones where there is confidence they can keep up and grow with the arrangement. Places like Memphis and Central Florida appear they could; places like Villanova and Fordham may not. UCONN upgraded cause they had a foot in the door and publicly committed the resources to it. Temple had the connection, and squandered it over time.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 11:20 am 
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Sec03, both yourself and PantherSC97 always bring up the practical side of the debate on what the Big East needs to do in the future. No hybrids or only take what you need for members! If the schools split they will most likely only take what that basically need in the future. I am guessing that would be one more football school for 9. It comes down to revenue. You can always expand in the future for football to 12 if necessary.

Neil, you are probably the one person on this board that is truly OK with hybrids for the Big East.

Quinn, interesting comment on why we keep talking about the Big East split. It is the same reason that many of us have been on this board since the rumors of ACC expansion.

For the most part the ACC worked beautifully with 9 members. There was just the desire of Florida State and possibly a couple more of the other ACC schools in the SEC region that really wanted to become more like the SEC.

It just took the desire of a particular school to keep pushing until there were results with ACC expansion.

It will take the same push from some key Big East football schools to promote the same passion and cause a split.

There are two points that cause a passion from the Big East football schools toward splitting: 1. missing out on the NCAA basketball tournament and 2. Notre Dame taking minor bowl deals from a more deserving Big East schools that actually contribute to the success of Big East football.

Last year Syracuse and WVU missed the NCAA basketball tournament and both would have most likely made the NCAA in a football all sports league. Villanova and Notre Dame would not have taken the spots of these two schools in a football all sports conference. Were Notre Dame and Villanova that much better last year compared to Syracuse and WVU? No! because both beat those the other schools in regular season.

This year is trending in the very same direction with both Syracuse and WVU hanging around in about the same position in the conference rankings for basketball.

This a passion that can push Syracuse to really want change. Syracuse is a school that could drive change from the basketball side fo the football schools.

On the football side, WVU is almost in a royalty status with the BCS. If WVU slips with coaching changes and Notre Dame takes a bowl away from a WVU type football program in the near future, WVU could be the other school that could drive change.

Any conference having WVU and Louisville as members are going to be BCS. I always made the statement that all the Big East had to do was win a BCS game and the other issues will take care of themselves. Both WVU and Louisville have more than taken care of this ancient concern. BCS is of no concern for the future. I live in Arizona and the media press leading up to the most recent Fiesta Bowl and the previous Fiesta Bowl with the Big East as representation was like comparing night to day. BCS is all about perception and what the Bowls and TV desire.

Syracuse and UConn both have won recent basketball national championships and both have enough clout to promote a split from a basketball perspective.

The same can be stated for both Louisville and WVU on the football side. Both schools have much clout from the football point of view.

Ironically the odds favor basketball as the reason for a split.





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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 4:48 pm 
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The next step for the BE should be to add one team for all sports. The conference has taken the steps necessary to silence the FB critics by winning on the field the last couple of years. They have won their BCS bowls since Utah beat Pitt and their over all bowl performance has been great too. The BE has also performed well out of conference the last couple of years. Schools like Rutgers, Cinn, Conn, and USF have stepped up in FB to compete with WV and L'ville.

Though many would like to see a split I think that the BE must currently hold on to their BE TV markets as it is still the strength that keeps it in tow with the other 5 major conferences. The next step for the BE in my opinion should be splitting into 2 divisions. The FB division and the BB division. The FB division should add one school (UCF or Memphis) and the BB division should stay at 8. They can both leave as a group if the 17 team league doesn't work out. In the mean time they can keep lucrative FB and BB contracts going and split the NCAA credits as they are now, each entity keeping their share of the credits.

The BB and FB entities would play each other H & H and each division could play 4 cross over games. The FB schools would have a 4 home and 4 way FB schedule and ease the scheduling problem they have. At this time I don't think Pitt and Cuse are ready to make the full split as they have too much invested in their BB programs to leave the BE and need to improve their FB performances on the field to draw their fans back to the games.

The BE FB schools should concentrate on expanding their FB stadiums to at least 60,000 seats and filling them. The expansion would allow for better OOC scheduling with upper tier teams for from the other 5 BCS conferences and would draw larger TV contracts. They should also concentrate getting better bowls with higher payouts by sending more fans to the bowls like L'ville, WV, and Rutgers and keep performing in those bowls at the level they are at now. Currently Pitt, WV, and USF have the capacity for 60k and Rutgers and L'ville are in the expansion mode toward 60k in steps over a period of years. Cuse is locked in at 50k with the dome, so the only teams that need expansion are Cinn and Conn.

Basically the FB schools and the BE split needs time. The FB schools need more time together adding one school first so as not to dilute the revenue shares they already receive and they must build their revenue through stadium expansion and better bowl and TV revenues before loosing the markets they already have. If the BE does not split I think they can be just as successful as a 9 team FB - 8 team BB Federation if not more successful in the form than 2 split conferences because of their number one strength right now - its overall TV market in the the NE and Chicago areas.

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Last edited by carolinaknights on Sun Feb 10, 2008 4:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 7:52 pm 
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I think Lash & Quinn have made a made a very compelling argument for a 9/12 breakaway hybrid. My only difference in opinion would be to not add Memphis, but instead offer a non-football membership to UMASS with an invitation to play football. So 8/12 for now, 9/12 in the future.

UMASS is a state flagship with an excellent athletic history and a much better academic reputation who can deliver Massachusetts TVs (A much better fit for the big east footprint) and being outside of the NFL and NBA Boston Killzone, should be able to generate good attendance numbers.

1 Pitt
2 Connecticut
3 Louisville
4 Syracuse
5 Cincinnati
6 West Virginia
7 Rutgers
8 South Florida

Notre Dame

Georgetown
Villanova

UMASS

Additionally this arrangement with ND in essence might help the new conference retain BCS status, something not discussed enough here IMO. Dropping the Basketball schools outright would cost the new football BE a lot of prestige. It should not be taken as a given that the new football only BE would retain BCS status. Villanova and Georgetown may not play football, but they are THE power schools in 2 major TV markets. Losing them would hurt big time in the peer evaluation part of the BCS arrangement. Academics and endowments are big in university peer evaluation.

For this same reason, retaining Non-football Notre Dame helps. They are a top academic school in the heart of B10 territory. The Commissioner of the B10 made the BCS.

I envision ND having their special BCS setup and this conference getting 9-12M per year and an autobid, rather than getting a full 17 M. This would bring their per team share in line with the SEC, Big 10, and Big 12 and effectively reaffirm their status as a peer of BCS schools.

For the BCS powers it would be the same as if ND was in a 9-10 member conference that happened to have a slightly smaller share than the power conferences.

I would also seriously consider allowing UCF to "borrow" UMASS's football slot in the interim. I don't see any negatives to that. UCF has no FL competition in their DMA and only makes the Big East more noticeable in Florida in the interim.

-------------------

That breakup would leave 5 members to rebuild the big east. I could see them adding another 5 members for a 10 team league, but due to the size of the footprint it probably makes more sense to add the 7 best BB programs available and go with a 6/6 east/west split to help travel costs.

Big East Non-football
Atlantic
Providence
St. John's
Seton Hall
George Washington
Richmond
Temple

Inland
Creighton
Saint Louis
Xavier
Dayton
DePaul
Marquette

That gives them a ton of great TV markets and well regarded schools with top basketball programs. They keep Chicago, NY, Philadelphia, & DC and only bleed Boston.


Last edited by finiteman on Wed Feb 13, 2008 2:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 10:31 am 
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I would just like to clarify that I am not firmly in the camp of the Big East completely split into FB and BB only factions. I certainly see VALUE in SOME of the BB schools so I can see the option in which where SOME of the BB schools are added for a mini-hybrid (Gtown and Villanova immediately come to mind). The benefit of such a scenerio would be to drop the 'dead weight' of certain BB schools.

Also, we can argue this ad naseum but the originial ACC expansion wasn't about trying to emulate the SEC - it was to be more along the lines of the 'Pac 10 on Steroids' - a term coined by OC. The SEC has the hearts and minds of folks in the South. When VT was chosen over SU then the ACC expansion became SEC-lite.

Also, another point is about the number of BB bids - were any of the teams left out clearly ahead of the teams that got in? Do you think this would happen in a split league? Note that 6/16 bids is close to 4/10 bids. How many of the BCS conferences are held to 4 bids - well it happens almost every year (compiled by OC):

2007 - Big 12
2006 - ACC, Big 12, and Pac-10
2005 - Pac-10
2004 - Big Ten and Pac-10 (each with only 3 bids that year)
2003 - ACC (but 4 out of 9 which isn't bad), Big East (4 out of 14, really bad)
2002 - ACC (again 4 out of 9, which isn't bad)
2001 - none
2000 - ACC (3 out of 9, really bad), Pac-10
1999 - ACC (3 out of 9 really bad), Pac-10
1998 - Big 12, Pac-10

Right not there hasn't been a clear cut 9 NCAA bid Big East that got snubbed. If there is, then the FB schools may seriously question this hybrid even more.

Are there other reasons to split? You bet but is the NCAA BB tourney bid one of them - probably not at the top of the list.

One last thing, as carolinaknight suggests, the BE really needs to build up the FB meaning that attendance needs to increase with the corresponding stadium expansions (already happening in RU and will happen at UL - UConn might need one too). Also, the fan bases need to travel to the bowl games. This will help the BE IMMENSELY!


Last edited by panthersc97 on Mon Feb 11, 2008 10:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 12:07 pm 
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The schools that have expressed the strongest interest in joining the Big East in all-sports are Memphis, East Carolina, and Central Florida. Whether the BE is interested in any of them is another matter.

Presenting hybrid designs, pending a split, to accommodate Notre Dame, Villanova, and/or Georgetown are lame, and more pandering to those refusing to deliver or taking on essentially, free-riders. Enough of this!

If the fb schools break-away and Notre Dame does not pony up to a football commitment, tell the monetary suction cup to get lost. To continue to allow this school to dictate terms is obscene. And for Pete's sake, no more bowl agreements with them unless they are the opponent.

You can bash the ACC, but they were not foolish enough to hold a spot open for Notre Dame. BC was not about to continue playing second-class to ND.

The Big Ten leaves the impression they are holding open a spot for Notre Dame, but on Big Ten terms. They say they are happy with 11. If so, then Notre Dame need not be given an "open invitation".

Not everyone is in awe of Notre Dame; and while their fan base and revenue generating capabilities are profound; conferences holding themselves in limbo awaiting to be graced with their partial presence is unseemly. Take the great manipulators at their word, and recognize they are not bonding with anyone for conference football.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 12:41 pm 
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Quote:
The schools that have expressed the strongest interest in joining the Big East in all-sports are Memphis, East Carolina, and Central Florida. Whether the BE is interested in any of them is another matter.


agreed


Quote:

Presenting hybrid designs, pending a split, to accommodate Notre Dame, Villanova, and/or Georgetown are lame, and more pandering to those refusing to deliver or taking on essentially, free-riders. Enough of this!

If the fb schools break-away and Notre Dame does not pony up to a football commitment, tell the monetary suction cup to get lost. To continue to allow this school to dictate terms is obscene. And for Pete's sake, no more bowl agreements with them unless they are the opponent.


You are speaking as a fan but not necessarily what is going on in the minds of the Presidents nor TV consultants. I'm not sure they they would agree to jetision the great leacher - assuming of course that ND would like to join the mini-hybrid. I honestly don't think the BE Presidents have the stones to do this which is of course why I put the mini-hybrid as an option 'on the table'.

EDIT: I think that Gtown and Nova add more to the BB contract that ND does at the moment.


Quote:

You can bash the ACC, but they were not foolish enough to hold a spot open for Notre Dame. BC was not about to continue playing second-class to ND.

Not sure where you get the fact that I was bashing the ACC. I think what they originally tried to do was quite visionary - to bring in SU, BC and Miami. But by having to compromise by taking VT there was certainly some fallout from that.

Also the comment about BC is interesting because I would think that all of the schools in the FB BE would have left for greener pastures at that point. Just look at all the rumors on the Pitt, WVu, SU, RU, and UConn boards that were swirling at the time.


Quote:

The Big Ten leaves the impression they are holding open a spot for Notre Dame, but on Big Ten terms. They say they are happy with 11. If so, then Notre Dame need not be given an "open invitation".

Not everyone is in awe of Notre Dame; and while their fan base and revenue generating capabilities are profound; conferences holding themselves in limbo awaiting to be graced with their partial presence is unseemly. Take the great manipulators at their word, and recognize they are not bonding with anyone for conference football.


Maybe the Presidents hope - the key word being hope - that this will eventually happen but of course it won't be in the BE.

BTW - I agree that ND is giving the shaft to the FB schools - except for Pitt - in this whole BE-ND football agreement.


Last edited by panthersc97 on Thu Feb 14, 2008 5:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 7:06 pm 
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PantherSC97, sounds like a Pitt/Louisville rivalry going here in the last couple post.

I agree on attendance for Big East football regular season and bowl games are very important for the future.

This is a direct hit on Notre Dame. No bowl deals with Big East football schools if you don't play 4 games per year. 2 home and 2 away or Notre Dame simply finds out the hard way of trying to land minor bowl deals. Minor bowl deals just dont exist any more for the independent schools even if you are Notre Dame.

The Big East football schools need to hold strong on this issue regardless if means losing the Gator Bowl. It is a matter of perception on the national bowl front to cater to Notre Dame needs.

The Gator bowl has to be kicking itself for taking Texas Tech over South Florida fot that one chance to land Notre Dame again in the Gator bowl. A most likely sellout verses half full stadium was not pretty for CBS only New Year Day college TV game.

I am not sure the Gator should be the Big East new years day destination for its seconnd place football team. Tampa would be a better fit and location is much better as well.

Notre Dame will find out the hard way how difficult it is in today's world to regularly gain minor bowl deals without having a conference affiliation. Unless you want to become a Navy and make regular appearances in the Poinsettia bowl, Notre Dame is losing its bargaining chip each year with the Big East football schools.

This would be a major start for the Big East footballs schools to stand up to both Notre Dame and the Gator Bowl. Would the ACC agree to rotate with Notre Dame once every four years?

Attendance for the most of the Big East bowl games is improving each year. I attended my home town Fiesta bowl and WVU with all the off field issues had a very good fan turn out.

While trying not to take sides on your Pitt/WVU rivalry; you have to think what if WVU had not lost to Pitt and played Ohio State in the BCS title game.

If WVU played the same passions as the Fiesta bowl, the Big East would be claiming a BCS national championship.

The Big East football schools on the national front are improving on perception and do not need to carry Notre Dame any longer.

A 2 for 1 each year with Notre Dame would be a major step back on national perception.

A few years of Notre Dame trying to work out minor bowl deals on its own, may finally bring the school around to understanding that every major college football school needs a conference.

Either you in part way with 2 home and 2 away or your out as a football affilate.

Hit the road Notre Dame and start looking for a minor bowl home site.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 12:40 pm 
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Memphis is deep in SEC territory; BE can take ECU instead ;D! Could be a wise move, really. Less sure things have been embraced and turned out just fine.

At least Villanova & G'town have fb programs; & if a split situation did go with mini-hybrid, they are plausible & could keep their fb in a FCS conference.

I still think Temple has potential. They actually showed they could win a few games last year. Still, a lot of cultivating yet to do there.

Memphis and Alabama-Birmingham bb would add to a powerful conference that split.

The cardinal fans appear not so enamored with Notre Dame.

Does the Big East really think Notre Dame has delivered great TV and fantastic marketing to Big East fb? Is West Virginia suppose to say "thank you Rev. K. White for mountaineer achievement"?


Last edited by sec03 on Tue Feb 12, 2008 12:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 7:31 pm 
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sec03, your post always remind of the slogan "when the rubber meets the road".

Forget all the hybrid collaboration misaligned formats the Big East has put together over the last few years!

Forget all the potential ninth, tenth, or that elusive 12 football member; Memphis will always be around for the picking when the time is ready.

Forget all the so called benefits of having Notre Dame with minor bowl deals yet no football regular season schedule of Big East football games in sight.

Forget all the so called benefits of having solid academic schools in large eastern markets; these same schools can be regular OOC games.

When the rubber has to meet the road, the Big East football schools have what they need with 8 members.

Just split and hit the road running and everything will be attainable when the time is right.





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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 12:51 pm 
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I've been away for a while, so it's been fascinating to read this discussion.

I would only add a few thughts to the rich ideas that have been already been presented here. That an All-Sports Break Away Big East presents many complications that do not exist in any of the other 5 BCS conferences. All can be worked out, but they require much more detailed planning than any other conference would require.

1. The most obvious problem is the lack of history that the 8 football schools have with each other. Positive history breeds trust & a perception of reliable partners. The history of Eastern football is exactly the opposite. They are a group that has never been able to bring themselves together for a common purpose. Once again they will have an opportunity in 2010. Let's hope that they don't blow it one more time.

2. Big East Football members range in size from large state-wide universities to state universities in smaller states to regional/urban publics to private. Budget & support also vary among this group. The result is a problem in funding an equal number of non-revenue sports among all schools & in funding the number of sports that is comparable to the other BCS schools. It will be necessary to somehow find a home for these minor sports. There is a wide variety of ways to do this - including membership in other leagues or independence for some sports like Syracuse LAX - but it remains an issue that will have to be addressed in the formation of a new league. It will require planning & attention to detail in a way that doesn't exist for other BCS leagues. The one saving grace of the 16 member hybrid is that it has made this problem much easier to deal with. A split will expose this problem & will require that it be addressed.

3. The league must have a sound marketing plan. It doesn't automatically command big markets for the most part the way other big conferences do. They must address the issue of their identity & how they present themselves to the public. Putting together a league is more than just throwing a bunch of independents together. After all this group has only been together for 3 years with its current membership. Half of the football group plays in the shadow of bigger, more high profile conferences & 3 of the other 4 are in relatively small markets at least as far as college football is concerned.

4. I think that the presidents have a more realistic understanding of where Big East Football members stand in the pecking order of college sports than some fans do. Expectations can be wildly unrealistic. For whatever aspect of the current BE that any given fan doesn't like, there is a very practical reason why it exists. Fans seem to want to throw away the things they don't like without addressing the underlying problems. Bottom line is that the Big East doesn't have a lot of muscle in the college sports world & is not in aposition to make demands of almost anyone. Fans don't like this. They want their conference officials to be calling the shots. If they could, they would. Sometimes they have to settle because half a loaf is better than none at all. Even a new all-sports conference won't solve all of the problems & all of the inequities. They will still exist & fans will have to accept the fact that sometimes the best deal that the conference can get is one that is unfair.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 4:30 pm 
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Friarfan, great to see you back on this board. I have to disagree with some of your comments.

First of all, sorry but "I don't think College Presidents have a clue on how major college sports should be conducted". You have too many special interest groups or clicks within the fraternity of the College Presidents leading to many special interest groups. The Big Ten and the Pac 10 is fine example; both get all the benefits of Rose Bowl special deals and yet do want to break tradition by having a true and fair college football playoff system. When you get to the bottom line it is special interest and greed over what is right and fair. Both of these confernece get to have their cake and eat too and everyone just assumes this is right because the Big Ten and Pac 10 Presidents say it so. The fans are stuck with the voting system that selects the top two teams that get to play in the football championship game primary due to the decisions of a few of the college presidents.

I don't agree with lot of ideas our US President comes out with, you know college presidents are going to have a lot less influence on my views.

The fans are the ones that actually pay the bills of college sports and not the Presidents or something the presidents are creating.

Another of your comment is as an example of the deer stuck in the headlights. Why do anything because you dont have any history or can not make things better. "It is what is is kind of mentality".

If the Big East Presidents have not learned their lesson by now they never will.

Forget history and think about the future. This is why we are getting a lot or additional interest in the US Presidential race this time around.

It sort of mirrors the Big East football schools with direction and change as the highlight of the race this year.

Like or not, the BCS is how major conferences are measured in today's world. The five other BCS conferences just have more history over the Big East. History does not necessarily bring success over a BCS conference with less history.

When you have a three year winning steak in BCS and 3 and 0 record over the last couple years which is best of the six BCS conferences, I don't think history should be a big concern of the football schools. If the Big East Presidents are concerned about this, then it just goes to show what they understand about college sports.

I would like to beleive the Big East President have learned from the past and are planning for options that may lead to a better long term future.

This could mean keeping the status quo if the money holds up fot basketball or it could mean a split.

Regardless history or lack of size of schools should not have any thing to do with the bottom line when it comes to defining a BCS conference.

The Big East has very little history and does contain football schools are of different size. This is bascially no differenct than Wake Forest, Duke, and BC in the ACC.

BC and Va Tech followed Miami into the ACC where there was little or no history for either schools in the ACC. Va Tech was prevented ACC membership for years in the ACC.

The final point of this post is the Big East football schools are BCS and that is the only thing that matters in major college sports today.








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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 10:12 am 
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Okay, here is my plan for the Big East

Unlike others here, I think there is benefit to having Notre Dame in the conference, but I agree there needs to be a larger commitment. The question is how to get that commitment and make it palatable enough for ND to make the move. So, with that in mind, here is my proposal...

1. Keep the 16 current members of the conference intact. The Big East is currently the best basketball conference top to bottom and with teams in Washington, New York, Philadelphia, New England, Chicago and Milwaukee, is a great media coverage arrangement.

2. Expand the football side of the conference to 12 teams by adding Army and Navy for football only and having ND and Villanova begin playing Big East football.

Now, point 2 comes with some issues. Army and Navy wanting to be able to compete for bowl games and have a chance at success on the football field, Villanova having to move up to FBS and ND not wanting to give up their national schedule. My idea to answer all of these issues is this....

For football, the divisions will be ND, Pitt, WVU, Syracuse, Army and Navy in one division and Louisville, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Rutgers, USF and Villanova in the other. Each team would be required to play every team in their division and one crossover game per year. Teams would be allowed to play more than one crossover game if they choose to. Only division games count in the standings (the MAC does this already to account for the unequal number of teams in their divisions).

The benefit is this. ND would play 4 games a year against current Big East teams plus games against Army and Navy. This is only one more Big East game per year for them, plus they would have six non-conference slots to schedule the likes of Michigan, Michigan St. Purdue, USC and others. Army, Navy and (at least initially) Villanova could use their six non-conference games to schedule teams from the MAC, Sun Belt and FCS.

As far as facilities for Villanova to make such a move, they would probably have to move their home football games to Lincoln Financial Field, Franklin Field or even Citizens Bank Park (might be the best fit if the Phillies would go for it).

Everybody wins in this plan. The Big East gets the stability and football championship game that they want, plus the added media attention of having ND, Army and Navy in the mix. ND, Army and Navy get to keep their national schedules. Villanova gets the increased notoriaty of playing FBS football.


If Villanova balks at this, I would tweak the plan by adding a 17th member to the conference for all sports....most likely UCF or Memphis.


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