Hey panther! Thanks for the response. I am going to clarify/take slight exception to some points, but I appreciate the input, especially on UC academics.
I feel for UMASS, because the way the ACC thing went down did not allow them to make the jump and it would have been the right thing for both school and conference. The Big East is not the conference it should be because of BCS fears and the desires of the basketball schools.
The BE was never going to add UMASS when BC was in the conference. No Way. They would have had NE covered with BC, SU, and UConn.
I did mention that adding UMASS would be in response to a BC defection. In fact my entire post is looking at post-BC defection. Part of the problem with the Big East is that they are too regionally diverse. IMO, it would be better to dominate the Big Markets that are in the Northeast. My personal opinion is that if they got 2-3 big important schools (UMASS, Delaware, and 1 of the Big East BB schools) I think you would see football becoming more important in that footprint, which is the real probablem.
Is BE football relevant in New England? Sure. Especially in Hartford DMA. In Boston? Not so much so anymore. Providence? Eh. NYC? eh.
Look at the rest of the BE fooprint. How relavant are they in Buffalo? Philadelphia? Baltimore? DC? Virginia? There are a lot of Big Markets out there where the Big East is a footnote in football. That will hurt in a few years.
I think getting the right schools into their football footprint can really build media momentum for the conference. I think the long term health of the BE FB schools lies in their ability to get much better penetration into the NY, Philly, Boston, and DC DMAs. It is extremely tough as those DMAs have NFL killzones, but it is possible.
The BE is not the conference that it could be because the two teams that are most popular in the region - PSU and ND chose not to play FB in the conference for various reason.
Well, PSU i'll give you, that is a sad opportunity lost, but ND, I think you can't really figure in to the equation. Although their fan base stretches East, they aren't even in the footprint. And more importantly, if they haven't expressed an interest in being anything less than independent, it isn't all too relevant to mourn.
What I was trying to get at (and probably did a poor job of it) was that it appears to me that the desires of the BB schools worked against the desires of the FB schools and that has somewhat worked against the BE as a BCS FB conference.
UCinn is a much better school that you give them credit for. They will improve in the rankings quickly because their President (Zimpher) is dedicated to improving them. They were better than UL, WVu, and USF when they entered and I'm sure they will be Tier 2 within 5 years. WVu and UL will never be Tier 2.
When the ACC raided, UC was added because the BE wanted a school committed to their academics and athletics with a 'NE' type footprint. UL was getting in no matter what. However, UC - under the direction of Zimpher is dedicated to improving academics. In addition, UC built the 'Varsity Village' - a new athletic complex that cost over $100 million. They are also a school that is near WVu, Pitt, and UL, and are an urban research institution. I don't see how anyone would consider they should not be invited over Memphis, ECu, Temple, etc.
Well I cannot speak to research universities, because there are tons of rankings for that and I don't know which are considered worthwhile and which are not. I do know Miami U is considered high tier 2 and is one of about 17 public universities in the nation considered a "public IVY", is in the same Cinnci DMA, but about 40 Miles out and can be considered to be outside the Bengals "NFL killzone" ---- not directly competeing for the same audience for football ticket sales. I see growth potential for Miami that I don't see for UC.
I think it is an apples to apples compairson and I would argue the basketball schools made that selection based on basketball over academics. I think this may very well haunt BE FB --- Cinnci could be Temple in 5 years.
All the BE BB schools have consistently voted NO to a FB upgrade. The BE even assured them that they would be automatically invited into BE FB and they still said no. It requires a HUGE investment - just look at how much money UConn spent - that the BB schools were not willing to undertake.
I think in general the BE BB schools inflate the financials for various reasons. I think the BE realizes it is vulnerable, so it wants schools to take the UCONN approach to upgrading where all FB facilities are essentailly rebuilt. It really doesn't help people on either side of the equation to talk small numbers. If you want to blunt fan/alumni momentum, you throw out the largest numbers you have. Schools that have profitable IAA programs also have to be looking at being profitable at IA if they make the jump otherwise a lot of administrators can lose their jobs. That, I think, is the real reason a school like Delaware won't jump.
If Idaho has a quote for a 30K stadium at 30M, I have a hard time buying the numbers that potential BE schools are throwing out. Looking at stadiums alone, you need a 40-45K stadium with room for expansion to legitimately consider a IA jump to a conference the caliber of the FB BE. That IMO, would not a too difficult of a thing to accomplish for UMASS or Delaware, but neither will have the Alumni, fan, or administation support without a pending BE invite.
The BE isn't going to take Miami or Ohio U. They are fine academic institutions and would be a great academic fit. They just don't bring in the TV viewers that are needed.
Again, both schools are in great Media markets. In better conferences thier viewership numbers would go up a lot. Miami has a lot of advantages over Cinnci. Ohio could become a university with a statewide following if it became untethered from the MAC.
Buffalo's market is already covered by SU. AGain, Buffalo is a great academic school (AAU) but they aren't going to get invited.
I disagree with your statement in terms of SU. I do agree that WAS the status quo, but I think Buffalo's emergence as a IA school in this setup only hurts SU and Buffalo's presence and the BE's disdain for the school, IMO, is shrinking the BE's hold in Western NY. Addtionally, Buffalo is a poor city. Buffalo grads often end up in major cities in the footprint. Long term, Buffalo is in the BE's interest.
I have made my suggestions regarding Buffalo. All I can say is that the current BE status quo with Buffalo is not in their interest.
I'd have offered Army and Navy football only memberships with reduced football share and no gurantees. They are well respected in BCS circles in spite of their modest IA football potential, would only be looking for a football home, have national followings, and are located in "trouble areas" (Baltimore DMA and NY/NJ DMA).
The academies were offered partial membership and probably would have accepted - if BC had stayed in the BE. That would have also upgraded ND's schedule from 3 to 4 BE teams a year.
Ever since then, the academies have always said no.
I didn't know that they were actually offered FB only membership after BC left. If I am understanding you correctly that they were in fact offered membership and turned it down, I suspect that the general view of the current BE as a work in progress played into that. What I was proposing would be a long term fix with the potential of them missing out on membership entirely if they declined (as their spots might be offered to others). I think in that scenario (the BE needing 2 for a championship game) they would accept.