Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A little, make that a lot, of reader mail

Got an email from someone named Phil Phob (his real name, I presume, is Hydrophilic Hydrophobic ... a little microbiology humor from the Runway readers?) It was not only the single longest email I've ever received. Ever. It's also an interesting and well-thought out take on expansion in the Big East. So grab an extra-large regular and a box of assorted Munchkins, block off an hour or so and give it a read. I'd be interested in any feedback on Phil Phob's idea.

Dear Mr. Malafronte,

I would like to address the recent flurry of media
reports surrounding possible Big East expansion and
then offer my own ideas about how the Big East might
proceed into the future. While the Big East office has
been clear in its statements regarding the latest rash
of stories, many people believe where there's smoke,
there's fire, as the cliche goes.

A lot of the speculation is fueled by issues relating
to the size of the conference, the unbalanced
schedules in football, and the mix-and-match schedules
in basketball. Fans and representatives of
universities outside the Big East also continue to
push this issue because they hope their institutions
can benefit from any changes that would take place.

Many people feel that the ideal size for a football
conference is nine teams. This ensures each program
four home games and four away games every year.
Currently, among BCS level conferences, only the
Pac-10 plays a full round-robin football schedule.
That set-up is ideal in so many ways and I wish the
Big East could emulate a lot of things they do.

Several Big East coaches, including Randy Edsall of
Connecticut and Bill Stewart of West Virginia, have
publicly expressed the sentiment for adding a ninth
team in football in some format. The problem is how to
sanely do such a thing and how to add a team that
brings value to the table. I agree that a
football-only member should be an absolute no-no.

During the basketball season, we also saw coaches like
Rick Pitino of Louisville complain about the
conference schedules being too competitive for some
teams and not competitive enough for other teams.
Setting up home-and-home games based mainly on TV
appeal is not fair to the coaches and
student-athletes. This is the NCAA, not the NBA.

The best format for basketball scheduling in a
conference of this size would be to play each opponent
once and a second opponent - most prominent and heated
geographic rival probably works best - which is
similar to what the women's teams did in the first few
years of the new alignment. The problem is that the
schedule has now expanded to 18 games.

While many people want the Big East to split into two
separate leagues, I loathe that idea, just as most
longtime fans do. Furthermore, 2010 is too soon for a
split anyway. The conditions are not optimal for both
sides to proceed forward in the best possible manner.
I believe extending the Split Without Penalty
agreement until 2015 would be much better.

Reasons for this include the fact that the football
teams would lose major markets in a split. It would be
a horrible blunder for the football side to leave
Philadelphia and Boston uncovered. Temple will not be
ready to step to the plate in 2010 and would need a
few more years to get back up to speed although the
new administration there is working hard.

Boston College would also not be willing to return
from the ACC so quickly. Maybe by 2015 the people
there will realize the error of their ways though.
Without having a presence in Boston or Philadelphia, a
split would not be the best idea for the football
side. I hope there is no split but, if it happens,
waiting until 2015 would make a lot more sense.

So what is the solution? I strongly feel that the Big
East should add one member on the football side and
one member on the basketball side as of 2010. Please.
Please. Please. Do not dismiss this suggestion out of
hand. I know 18 members is a lot. But 16 members is
already a lot. And 18 works better for scheduling in
both football and basketball.

I am sure there are excellent consultants like Chuck
Neinas and others out there who could look at numbers
and potential much better than I can. I would strongly
encourage the Big East to at least seriously discuss
the possibility and do a financial analysis. This is a
better idea than just sitting at an unstable 16 or
adding a football-only albatross.

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

Now which two institutions do I think would best shore
up the existing alignment of the Big East for the
benefit of all 16 current members? The University of
Central Florida and Saint Louis University. Both
institutions compliment the structure of the Big East
in geographic areas containing odd numbers of current
members. Please keep bearing with me.

UCF is a fast growing and dynamic university which
brings most of the same positives to the table that
the University of South Florida already has given the
Big East. With UCF, the Big East doubles its presence
in the all-important state of Florida, which is
crucial for recruiting and market share. These are
some extremely prominent considerations.

Big East coaches would be able to promise Florida
recruits a chance to play back at home every year
rather than every other year. This would net the Big
East many more high-quality Florida recruits at the
expense of, most likely, the ACC and lower-level
leagues like Conference USA or the Sun Belt. It surely
could improve Big East football quality.

Gaining a rival for USF and getting the institution
off an "island" is a necessity. One of the biggest
issues for Miami was being so isolated. The Big East
should not let this be an issue for USF. Some people
think another Florida member, especially one so
similar, may hurt USF. I disagree. My belief is that
it makes both USF and UCF stronger.

Look at the Pac-10. Their system of paired rivals is
one of the best situations in sports. A budding
conference rivalry between two of the largest and
fastest-growing universities in the nation would
generate major profits for the Big East. Having both
in the fold would help the Big East become dominant in
the highly-populated middle swarth of Florida.

What else does UCF bring? A sparkling new football
stadium and basketball arena. More venues to host
championships in outdoor sports like baseball,
softball, soccer, tennis, golf, cross country, track
and field, and maybe lacrosse. One of the largest TV
markets. Proximity to Disney World. Additional local
support for the St. Petersburg Bowl.

The Big East would also be able to drop Conference USA
from the St. Petersburg Bowl and, instead, invite the
Big 12 team that currently plays, unhappily, in the
Independence Bowl. This, in turn, creates an opening
for the Big East to either move into that contest
against the SEC or else get the payout and opponent
switched to the Papa John's Bowl.

POTENTIAL BOWL LINE-UP
- 1) BCS
- 2) Gator Bowl (or Champs Sports Bowl if things fall
apart)
- 3) Meineke Car Care Bowl (keep this crucial
relationship)
- 4) St. Petersburg Bowl (invite Big 12 #7 to replace
CUSA)
- 5) Papa John's Bowl or Independence Bowl (most
money)
- 6) International Bowl (Toronto and the MAC are okay
here)

Removing Conference USA from the Sunshine State
consolidates more of that market, and more area
recruits, for the Big East as the SEC and ACC would
have Florida and FSU to the North and the ACC would
have Miami to the South. The middle, however, would
start turning into undisputed Big East territory with
two strong members in place.

I will not keep going on about UCF. That is not my
exact purpose here. I am sure the Big East has the
numbers and knows all of the arguments for and against
that university. But UCF seems to have much of what it
takes to be successful. The new AD, Keith Tribble, is
also well known to the Big East from his many years
running the Orange Bowl.

Saint Louis University shores up the Midwest Catholic
region of the Big East. It is a longtime rival of
Notre Dame, Marquette, and DePaul which enjoys a
similar academic profile. Adding Saint Louis
intensifies the rivalries and helps Big East
recruiting for basketball and Olympic sports in that
area. It is also very misplaced in the Atlantic 10
right now.

Making this bold move would set up the Big East with
an alignment of ...

NORTHEAST FOURSOME
- Providence / Rutgers / Connecticut / Syracuse
MID-ATLANTIC CATHOLICS
- St. John's / Seton Hall / Villanova / Georgetown
OHIO RIVER FOURSOME
- Pittsburgh / West Virginia / Cincinnati / Louisville
MIDWESTERN CATHOLICS
- Notre Dame / DePaul / Marquette / Saint Louis
SUNSHINE STATE TANDEM
- South Florida / Central Florida

Everything flows together very well even with 18 teams
being in the mix.

Football scheduling would be self-explanatory with
everyone having four home games and four away games.
Basketball scheduling would be simplified as it gets
taken out of network hands. The logical formula is to
play everyone once and your main geographical rival
(ie. Pitt-WVU) a second time. Home/Away sites would
switch every year.

(Note: Women's Basketball would have Providence
playing Syracuse twice while Connecticut plays Rutgers
twice.)

EXAMPLE FOR SYRACUSE
- host Connecticut / visit Connecticut
- host Rutgers / visit Providence
- host St. John's / visit Seton Hall
- host Villanova / visit Georgetown
- host Pittsburgh / visit West Virginia
- host Cincinnati / visit Louisville
- host Notre Dame / visit St. Louis
- host Marquette / visit DePaul
- host South Florida / visit Central Florida

EXAMPLE FOR CONNECTICUT
- host Syracuse / visit Syracuse
- host Providence / visit Rutgers
- host Seton Hall / visit St. John's
- host Georgetown / visit Villanova
- host West Virginia / visit Pittsburgh
- host Louisville / visit Cincinnati
- host St. Louis / visit Notre Dame
- host DePaul / visit Marquette
- host Central Florida / visit South Florida

EXAMPLE FOR PROVIDENCE
- host Rutgers / visit Rutgers
- host Syracuse / visit Connecticut
- host St. John's / visit Seton Hall
- host Villanova / visit Georgetown
- host Pittsburgh / visit West Virginia
- host Cincinnati / visit Louisville
- host Notre Dame / visit St. Louis
- host Marquette / visit DePaul
- host South Florida / visit Central Florida

EXAMPLE FOR RUTGERS
- host Providence / visit Providence
- host Connecticut / visit Syracuse
- host Seton Hall / visit St. John's
- host Georgetown / visit Villanova
- host West Virginia / visit Pittsburgh
- host Louisville / visit Cincinnati
- host St. Louis / visit Notre Dame
- host DePaul / visit Marquette
- host Central Florida / visit South Florida

EXAMPLE FOR SETON HALL
- host St. John's / visit St. John's
- host Syracuse / visit Connecticut
- host Providence / visit Rutgers
- host Villanova / visit Georgetown
- host Pittsburgh / visit West Virginia
- host Cincinnati / visit Louisville
- host Notre Dame / visit St. Louis
- host Marquette / visit DePaul
- host South Florida / visit Central Florida

EXAMPLE FOR ST. JOHN'S
- host Seton Hall / visit Seton Hall
- host Connecticut / visit Syracuse
- host Rutgers / visit Providence
- host Georgetown / visit Villanova
- host West Virginia / visit Pittsburgh
- host Louisville / visit Cincinnati
- host St. Louis / visit Notre Dame
- host DePaul / visit Marquette
- host Central Florida / visit South Florida

EXAMPLE FOR VILLANOVA
- host Georgetown / visit Georgetown
- host Connecticut / visit Syracuse
- host Rutgers / visit Providence
- host St. John's / visit Seton Hall
- host Pittsburgh / visit West Virginia
- host Cincinnati / visit Louisville
- host Notre Dame / visit St. Louis
- host Marquette / visit DePaul
- host South Florida / visit Central Florida

EXAMPLE FOR GEORGETOWN
- host Villanova / visit Villanova
- host Syracuse / visit Connecticut
- host Providence / visit Rutgers
- host Seton Hall / visit St. John's
- host West Virginia / visit Pittsburgh
- host Louisville / visit Cincinnati
- host St. Louis / visit Notre Dame
- host DePaul / visit Marquette
- host Central Florida / visit South Florida

EXAMPLE FOR PITTSBURGH
- host West Virginia / visit West Virginia
- host Connecticut / visit Syracuse
- host Rutgers / visit Providence
- host St. John's / visit Seton Hall
- host Georgetown / visit Villanova
- host Cincinnati / visit Louisville
- host Notre Dame / visit St. Louis
- host Marquette / visit DePaul
- host South Florida / visit Central Florida

EXAMPLE FOR WEST VIRGINIA
- host Pittsburgh / visit Pittsburgh
- host Syracuse / visit Connecticut
- host Providence / visit Rutgers
- host Seton Hall / visit St. John's
- host Villanova / visit Georgetown
- host Louisville / visit Cincinnati
- host St. Louis / visit Notre Dame
- host DePaul / visit Marquette
- host Central Florida / visit South Florida

EXAMPLE FOR CINCINNATI
- host Louisville / visit Louisville
- host Connecticut / visit Syracuse
- host Rutgers / visit Providence
- host St. John's / visit Seton Hall
- host Georgetown / visit Villanova
- host West Virginia / visit Pittsburgh
- host Notre Dame / visit St. Louis
- host Marquette / visit DePaul
- host South Florida / visit Central Florida

EXAMPLE FOR LOUISVILLE
- host Cincinnati / visit Cincinnati
- host Syracuse / visit Connecticut
- host Providence / visit Rutgers
- host Seton Hall / visit St. John's
- host Villanova / visit Georgetown
- host Pittsburgh / visit West Virginia
- host St. Louis / visit Notre Dame
- host DePaul / visit Marquette
- host Central Florida / visit South Florida

EXAMPLE FOR ST. LOUIS
- host Notre Dame / visit Notre Dame
- host Syracuse / visit Connecticut
- host Providence / visit Rutgers
- host Seton Hall / visit St. John's
- host Villanova / visit Georgetown
- host Pittsburgh / visit West Virginia
- host Cincinnati / visit Louisville
- host Marquette / visit DePaul
- host South Florida / visit Central Florida

EXAMPLE FOR NOTRE DAME
- host St. Louis / visit St. Louis
- host Connecticut / visit Syracuse
- host Rutgers / visit Providence
- host St. John's / vist Seton Hall
- host Georgetown / visit Villanova
- host West Virginia / visit Pittsburgh
- host Louisville / visit Cincinnati
- host DePaul / visit Marquette
- host Central Florida / visit South Florida

EXAMPLE FOR MARQUETTE
- host DePaul / visit DePaul
- host Connecticut / visit Syracuse
- host Rutgers / visit Providence
- host St. John's / visit Seton Hall
- host Georgetown / visit Villanova
- host West Virginia / visit Pittsburgh
- host Louisville / visit Cincinnati
- host Notre Dame / visit St. Louis
- host South Florida / visit Central Florida

EXAMPLE FOR DePAUL
- host Marquette / visit Marquette
- host Syracuse / visit Connecticut
- host Providence / visit Rutgers
- host Seton Hall / visit St. John's
- host Villanova / visit Georgetown
- host Pittsburgh / visit West Virginia
- host Cincinnati / visit Louisville
- host St. Louis / visit Notre Dame
- host Central Florida / visit South Florida

EXAMPLE FOR CENTRAL FLORIDA
- host South Florida / visit South Florida
- host Syracuse / visit Connecticut
- host Providence / visit Rutgers
- host Seton Hall / visit St. John's
- host Villanova / visit Georgetown
- host Pittsburgh / visit West Virginia
- host Cincinnati / visit Louisville
- host St. Louis / visit Notre Dame
- host Marquette / visit DePaul

EXAMPLE FOR SOUTH FLORIDA
- host Central Florida / visit Central Florida
- host Connecticut / visit Syracuse
- host Rutgers / visit Providence
- host St. John's / visit Seton Hall
- host Georgetown / visit Villanova
- host West Virginia / visit Pittsburgh
- host Louisville / visit Cincinnati
- host Notre Dame / visit St. Louis
- host DePaul / visit Marquette

(Note: Notre Dame and DePaul might have a bigger
Women's Basketball rivalry so a switch could be made
there.)

The Big East Basketball Tournament would not be
affected since it is already expanding to 16 teams
anyway. Just leave out the bottom two. If teams finish
17th and 18th while playing a fair schedule, they have
no realistic right to complain about missing a bid to
Madison Square Garden. The same teams should not be
last every year either.

As for the postseason, I know it may be tough for the
Big East to get 9 or 10 or more teams into the NCAA
Basketball Tournament every year, but it could also be
easier if the marketers constantly hit people over the
head with the league's size. The Big East should also
lobby for three more NCAA teams, with a total of 68
making it, overall.

Olympic sports scheduling, at least from the Florida
angle, would also be helped by this move. Softball
teams, for example, could play a doubleheader at USF
on Saturday and another at UCF on Sunday. Volleyball,
similarly, could play at the two sites on consecutive
days. Baseball teams could play a weekend series in
Florida every season.

I realize that many people worry about "slicing the
pie" two more ways, but the additional big markets and
advertising opportunities should also bring more money
to the table. UCF certainly helps shore up Florida
bowl opportunities while SLU adds more institutional
compatibility. Just ending most of the anxiety about a
split should be worth it.

This is an idea that is worth consideration because of
all the good it can do rather than the minor, by
comparison, negatives it might create. Having 18 teams
clearly works better for scheduling in football,
basketball, and some Olympic sports. Since scheduling
is a main complaint, adopting a solution to addresses
said complaints makes sense.

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

Now to look at some of the other institutions that
have been floated as possibilities for Big East
membership. I will try to refrain from bashing any of
them because that is not my aim. They are likely all
fine institutions which serve their missions well but
simply would not be the most optimal additions to the
overall structure of the Big East.

MEMPHIS: Probably the second-best addition from a
full-member football standpoint. Excellent in
basketball but John Calipari will not coach there
forever. A specific coach is not a good reason to add
a team to a conference. Might also hurt some of the
current top-tier basketball programs and muddle up the
standings too much.

The Liberty Bowl is okay but it is a cold weather
game. A specific bowl game is not a good reason to add
a team to a conference either. The Big East has other
postseason football possibilities, as outlined above,
which can eventually net the same amount, or nearly
the same amount, of revenue for the conference in the
process.

I understand that Memphis has history with Louisville
and Cincinnati. But those two knew this when they
joined the Big East. Pittsburgh lost a classic major
rivalry with Penn State. Ditto for Rutgers, Syracuse,
and West Virginia. Those four also lost longtime
rivalries with Boston College. Memphis just fits
better in a Southern league.

EAST CAROLINA: The most aggressive and loud of the
programs that get talked about. Fans are horribly
obnoxious and often turn off supporters of Big East
teams at games and on internet message boards with
their whiny laundry list of wins from previous decades
and proclamations that their team could easily win the
Big East.

As with Memphis, the geography is not the best fit.
This would be an isolated institution in the middle of
ACC territory. Going down there is a net negative for
the Big East and comparisons to anything ACC must be
avoided. The best revenge against the ACC is beating
ACC teams on the field of play just as the Big East
has been doing.

It also takes more than a sometimes-okay football
program to compete at the BCS level and in the Big
East. One of the last things the Big East needs is a
completely uncompetitive basketball program to drag
down the league's rankings and ratings. Dropping
soccer a couple of years ago is also not the best way
to impress the Big East.

TEMPLE: Saddled with bad administrations and
incompetent coaches for many years. These problems
ultimately cost the program a football-only membership
in the Big East but that move seems to have served as
a much-needed wake up call. It happened a few years
too late but the new administration is making
impressive strides.

Would not be a good fit in the current structure of
the Big East due to market duplication with Villanova
and the fact that the expulsion was only a few years
ago. If a split takes place in 2015 however, and
Boston College still wants to stay in the ACC at that
point, Temple would be a fairly necessary addition for
the football members.

Continuing as a football-only member of the MAC for
the time being, and maintaining the current trends set
by the new administration, would likely serve Temple's
program well. This is another longtime rivalry that
was lost to many of the current Big East members.
Probably in a good position to survive no matter what
eventually happens.

OTHERS: Marshall had a decent football program for a
few years but has not fared so well in recent times.
Basketball and most Olympic sports, like East
Carolina, are not accomplishing much. Also offers no
new market due to being located in a less populated
area of West Virginia. Would have trouble making a
12-team league.

Army and Navy can't compete against a full Big East
schedule. Their current formulas work well for them.
Delaware and Massachusetts are sometimes mentioned but
have neither the desire, in one case, or the financial
resources, in the other case. Buffalo is a fine
academic university but has had little MAC football
success.

On the basketball side, any new member most likely has
to be a Catholic or Jesuit institution for
institutional compatibility. A public school with
football aspirations makes no sense. Dayton and Xavier
duplicate Cincinnati's market, St. Joseph's and
LaSalle duplicate Villanova's market, and Fordham
duplicates St. John's market.

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

Since I know Big East leadership would not want to
hurt any conference the way the ACC tried to destroy
the Big East a few years ago, here is a look at how
other leagues would be affected by these two proposed
moves. Conference USA would lose UCF and need a
replacement in order to retain its football
championship game.

It would make sense to encourage Conference USA to
stick with Texas as its base and lessen its
geographical stretching by not returning to Florida.
UTSA (Texas San Antonio) or Texas State would bridge
the gap between the rest of that league and UTEP while
consolidating its Western Division into a more compact
alignment.

Tulane would go back to the Eastern Division with its
historical rivals. Since it will take UTSA or Texas
State until about 2015 to upgrade to FBS football,
Conference USA can sign Temple to a football-only deal
for a few years. Afterward, Temple can either return
to MAC football or join the Big East football teams if
a split happens.

Doing this would also be beneficial to the MAC as that
league would have time to evaluate which institutions,
currently misplaced Louisiana Tech for example, might
make a good football-only addition to counterbalance
Temple in the event that program returns after a
couple of years. This would solve current scheduling
issues there.

Saint Louis leaving the Atlantic 10 would probably be
no big deal to that conference. The institution really
stretches out that league's geographical boundaries
and makes much more sense as a partner of DePaul,
Marquette, and Notre Dame. It would probably be
interpreted as a very positive development if such a
move ever took place.

In conclusion, a split would not be the most optimal
move for the Big East in 2010. A more prudent course
of action is to extend the Split Without Penalty
agreement to 2015 and add the University of Central
Florida on the football side and Saint Louis
University on the basketball side. Thank you for your
time and best of luck.

Sincerely,
Phil Phob.

7 Comments:

Blogger Dougo said...

Big East expansion (especially on the football side) is not an issue of scheduling or competitive balance, as Edsall and Stewart would lead you to believe, but revenue sharing. The question is not "who would make our league the most competitive? but "who would make our league the most money?" Given that, there are many better options than UCF and SLU (SLU especially).

From a dollars and cents standpoint, Navy would be the BE's best addition. They have a widespread and hyper-supportive alumni base, they travel well, and they probably one of the most financially stable institutions in the country. While the Middies, particularly since the loss of HC Paul Johnson, may never be as competitive as a UCF or an ECU, they bring to the table a number of major financial boons. First and foremost is the annual Notre Dame-Navy game, which routinely sells out Giants Stadium and garners much coverage from NBC, but not to be understated is the depth of Navy's own wallet. That they are an arm of the federal gov't grants them a degree of financial security few (if any schools) have.
If Navy joins the Big East they will not be seeking a share of the BCS payout, like ECU, Memphis, or UCF would be, but exposure. Surely Navy would be willing to acquiesce a portion of their share of revenue in exchange for the legitimacy of playing in a BCS league.

SLU joining BE basketball is ridiculous. Why would the BE have any interest in a small private school in a mid-tier television market? And why is it relevant that SLU has an academic reputation and standing similar to Notre Dame? If Tranghese were looking for a school similar to ND why not bring Holy Cross into the fold? Like Notre Dame Holy Cross is a member of the Congregation of the Holy Cross; and like Notre Dame, Holy Cross is in South Bend!
The main problems with SLU (aside from the aforementioned mid-tier St. Louis television market) are: a lack of natural, geographic rivals and travel. The travel expenses are a hot button issue in C-USA and could cripple smaller BE schools; it'd be one thing for UConn or Syracuse basketball to make road trips to Marquette, Depaul, and SLU...it'd be a whole different ball game for St. Johns or Seton Hall softball.
If you're interested in a midwestern Catholic university, why not push for Xavier? They're cross town rivals with Cincy and are much more competitive than SLU could ever dream of being. The addition of Xavier could make the BE a legitimate 9 bid conference, as well as bring about such prime time matchups as Xavier-G'town or Xavier-Notre Dame. Imagine ESPN Thursday night hoops: Xavier-Louisville followed by UConn-G'town!

May 22, 2008 7:17 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vinny from East Haven says..

Does SLU even have a football team?

Why is this even being debated when the important questions are:

1) why did the University of Connecticut bend over and let Notre Dame have their way with them, and...

2) how awful are the Huskies going to be next year?

The Huskies in football are like the Knicks in basketball...terrible from top to bottom. Is Isiah looking to coach? Maybe collosally overrated Edsall can sign Isiah up as a "motivation" coach. Hell, it can't hurt this team, which is about to go from the top of the conference to the bottom in one quick season.

Gawd UConn is awful.

And not just in football either...someone please stand up and have the guts to fire Calhoun. Hell, the jerk didn't even respond to my demand for reparations after they lost in the tournament.

That's right, UConn faithful...I'm BACK. Vinny will call you all out as imbeciles and blowhards.

May 24, 2008 2:51 AM 
Blogger ewad said...

I think UCF is the best choice available for football.
Huge potential for development.
SLU, not a good choice for hoops. They have been in good leagues before and have struggled.
XU is much stronger a choice if you want to go the Catholic school route.

May 30, 2008 2:09 PM 
Anonymous FLHusky said...

I like the idea of Xavier, but not UCF, instead FAU down in Boca Raton. They address a better TV market in South FL and a better Northeast demographic with the SFL population. Not too many NorthEasters living in the Orlando area...that is truly UF territory. FAU is an up and coming school and has Howard Shnellenberger running the football program.

May 31, 2008 12:27 PM 
Blogger Chip Malafronte said...

If we're talking about TV markets and revenue, Xavier would give the BE two teams in Cincinnati, which doesn't make much sense.

The Miami and Orlando TV markets are essentially the same size, and both are smaller than Tampa.

UCF may be in Gators territory (on the outskirts), but isn't FAU in the heart of Hurricane country? Howard Schnellenberger may be running the football program, but he's also going to be 75 next year. Not exactly looking long term there.

May 31, 2008 1:03 PM 
Anonymous Sean O said...

The Big East should NOT expand the football teams unless it's Notre Dame. UCF, Memphis, East Carolina, whoever does nothing but detract from the Big East and make it look more like Conference USA.

The 8 teams in right now are starting to gain some respect nationally and that's why the Big East needs to focus on right now. Again, unless it's Notre Dame, Penn State or another BCS school in the mix, adding a team is bad for the Big East.

Besides, the Big East teams make more than the other BCS conferences from bowls because it's only split 8 ways. Adding UCF doesn't make more money...it takes away by spliting the pie more ways.

Actually, let me add that adding Army & Navy would be beneficial...but only if they got both.

June 02, 2008 3:46 PM 
Blogger Chip Malafronte said...

I dunno, Sean O. With that kind of thinking, UConn would still be in the Yankee Conference (or whatever it's called).

Those teams aren't much now, but it's the potential to become Big East quality that makes a potential new member like UCF attractive.

Obviously, splitting the pie is the big reason why the league hasn't expanded. Whether the league ADs can get over that remains to be seen.

June 02, 2008 9:58 PM 

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