East Carolina – it is true – needs an AQ conference more than an AQ conference needs the Pirates, but that is no different than any team that was not already part of the established money
conferences (e.g., Virginia Tech, Miami, FSU, etc.)
With the Big East’s continuous rebuffing of ECU’s long-time bid to become a member of the oft-raided affiliation, I believe it is time for ECU to shut the door on its efforts to get into the conference that doesn’t want them and focus squarely on sitting on the vanguard in a push to pull together the best of MWC and CUSA.
That means, solidifying ranks with Houston, SMU, UCF, USM, Marshall and Tulsa and linking them up with Boise State, Colorado State, UNLV, and SDSU then doggedly pursuing Air Force and TCU to stay put. Though we would have to wait till the next AQ go round, you would have to think that that merger would stand a better chance at taking the AQ bid from the Big East as any.
And, if the ACC strikes again against the reactive Big East and takes Rutgers and UConn – which it should – then the above-mentioned group could go after WVU, USF, Louisville and Cincy and put together a very good football conference with at least 8 teams primed to finish in the top 20. It would be a gathering of football teams that love football. And if it was an all-sports group, well, it would be competitive in hoops and baseball for sure.
If the Big East didn’t hold that AQ card – as gingerly as they have it now – no one would even care about it. The conference has been so mismanaged and has absolutely no agreement on its identity that the only thing holding it together is the money that comes with AQ status.
So as a Pirate fan who knows what would happen if we got our hands on AQ status (read: next Virginia Tech), I vote for shutting off the door to the Big East, who clearly doesn’t want us, and focus all efforts on tightening CUSA ranks and pursuing a merger of the best of what is out there to force a turnover of the AQ status from the Big East to the new conference once contracts are up.