Of course there is a measure of sour grapes that can be applied to this post given that the newly configured Big East rebuffed ECU’s attempt to get in. And, yes, I know that there is still a chance we get picked up in a move to 14 teams, but I can’t help reflecting on how messed up college football has become.
This whole Big East event really underscores how messed up college football has become and how the BCS and TV Networks have really changed the value system in the sport.
Consider this line of thinking. The Big East is nothing more than a logo. A brand really that stands for nothing identifiable any more (more on that in a sec). The BCS has attached a designation of AQ qualifying conference to that logo. There is no Big East conference per se any more, so the administration that is the BE really owns that AQ status and to perpetuate its own existence is pimping it out to retain it. And, the 6 schools that are about to join the Big East are all so desperate that they cannot hang on two years and make a principle play (and still get that access by the way).
What is today’s Big East, really?
There is only one – that is right, uno – charter football expansion school left in the league and they desperately want out. If Rutgers can find its way out, the Big East that remains is an ENTIRELY new set of teams who will grandfather into an AQ bid without any historic or legitimate claim to it (not that the BCS has ever been overwhelmingly in favor of legitimacy.)
It is overwhelming to consider that of the 1991 expansion group that formed the Big East football conference, five moved to the ACCC (Pitt, Syracuse, Boston College, Miami, and Virginia Tech), one to the Big 12 (WVU) and one was kicked out for not being good enough (Temple). Only Rutgers remains.
So, all this talk about preserving the Big East is such a joke. What is being preserved? A bunch of former non-AQ schools plus a few more? No, all of this is really about maintaining the logo – which means maintaining who gets the money – what individuals get it. The BCS should, in all fairness under their unfair system, retract the AQ status based on the current configuration. Then allow all leagues to configure for the AQ status. Why should the BE have that carrot to dangle at all. Shouldn’t it be the BCS dangling it, saying to all conferences and non-AQ schools: “hey, talk to each other and the networks and put a conference together and propose to us?”
Here is where ESPN steps into the picture. It is so much easier for them to further perpetuate the myth that the remaining BE teams deserve inclusion than to admit that with the departures of the franchise schools, all that is left is a set of mediocre teams no better than any of the non-AQ teams out there. It would have been better for ESPN to look at all the available Non-AQ schools (including what is left of the BE) and put together the ESPN conference picking 12 teams themselves and giving them a TV contract.
Any way, what this whole skewed affair leaves us with is a Big East conference that is hardly in the East consisting of only one team that really has a historic football connection to the league itself. You have schools traveling all over the place with few natural rivals and a billion TV sets that still won’t tune in.
If any network gives this league a billion dollar deal, it will be one of the biggest cons ever perpetrated. With the ACC’s poaching of the league, all the big TV markets that the BE is reporting to have gotten with the new invites only replace all the lost markets. No more Boston, no more Pittsburgh, no more New York, no more WVU, no more DC area, no more Miami market. But, hey, they really locked up the big Idaho market and the Colorado Springs market. Wow…! And by adding UCF to USF’s pathetic market, they probably have a quarter of what they had when they had Miami’s market (since Miami actually has a fan base). And, boy, they really nailed it by bringing in TEXAS! Whoooo doggie! What a lack of understanding about Texas that is. UT is the Texas market. Period. The folks who tune into SMU and Houston also tune in to UT. What a joke.
But, the BCS and ESPN are allowing this shadow of a league have the golden ticket to manipulate what should be a fair market run at AQ access.
But, ECU fans should take heart because patience will serve us. Don’t forget that Penn State was totally rebuffed by these yahoos. The Big East will fall hard…they are not equipped to survive.