Posted on: March 10, 2010 4:56 pm

Say It's Notre Dame. What Now Big East?

I'm very happy today to have a whole new avenue of speculation.  Notre Dame says yes, and the Big Ten tells everyone else, "Thank you for playing.  We have the lovely home version of Big Ten Football you can watch on your own TV."  After all, Notre Dame is who the Big Ten wanted all along right?  No calculations of TV market, or arguing with cable providers about cable tiers, that's it.

Much of the college football world could breathe a sigh of relief.  Not the Big East.  With Notre Dame's departure, the balance of power in the BE is once again askew.  Eight football teams, Seven basketball only teams.  The carefully crafted 16 team behemoth was made solely to keep the basketball only schools from getting outvoted.  Well ND, a basketball only school (funny to think of them that way) leaves.  Who replaces them?  Or does the fight over the answer to this question blow up the Big East?

Providence, Seton Hall, Villanova, Georgetown, DePaul, Marquette, and St. Johns will obviously want another basketball only buddy to keep them from getting outvoted by West Virginia, Rutgers, Syracuse, Pitt, USF, Cincy, Louisville and UConn.  At the same time, Big East football cries out for a ninth team to allow a balanced conference schedule of 4 home and 4 away every year.  Finding three out of conference games will be tough enough if this expansion craze catches on.  Do you really want to try and find 4 every other year?  I would expect the football crowd to demand another football school.  If Big East football has any chance of surviving, it needs to start getting bigger and fast.  Do you really think the other BCS conferences are going to tolerate a BCS bid for an eight team league if all the other BCS conferences have gone to 12?  Fat chance.

Is this the straw that breaks the camel's back?  Does it finally split the Big East into basketball only and all-sports confereces?  I don't see any way around it.  There's no more room for a Tranghese-like maneuver of adding one football school and two basketball schools.  An eighteen team Big East?  No way.  Even if the Big East brings in a Memphis, a school with a good basketball program, they still have D1 football.  Eventually that will be the way their votes are cast.  So if the basketball schools allow another football school to join, they're moving to the back seat.  Something that won't sit well with the Providence hierarchy of the BE.

So if Notre Dame joins the Big Ten, the Big East could turn from the hunted to the hunter.  An eight team football conference looking for new members.  And a seven team basketball-only conference looking as well.   I'll leave basketball to their own devices.  Here's my choice for an expanded all-sports Big East (which we'll have to call something else because the basketball schools will probably get that name.)


West Virginia
East Carolina?

Memphis brings basketball credibility and potential rivalries with Louisville and Cincy, UCF a potentially large TV market and a rivalry with USF,  and Temple good basketball, a football program that looks like it's on the way back to respectability along with a potential rivalry for Rutgers.  East Carolina/Buffalo is a tougher call.  East Carolina has a very good football program and had it long before Skip Holtz.  So while the coaching change hurts, I expect them to maintain their level of play.  Buffalo lost Turner Gill, and doesn't have the steady history of ECU.  Geographically they're a good fit and provide a  geographical rival for Syracuse as well as Pitt.

Or maybe the Big East will just ask Texas to join. 

Posted on: September 3, 2008 7:08 pm

Barbarians Begin Siege of BCS

Discarding stealth in all forms, Barbarian tribes (aka non-BCS schools) began their all-out attack on the Holy BCS Empire by burning and pillaging their way to four huge victories in week one.

East Carolina Plunders Virginia Tech 27-22.  This had to be sweet for the Pirates, living just over the border from "civilized" ACC land.  They just stormed the mountain passes and took it to Virginia Tech.  ECU befuddled Tech's anemic offense and scratched out enough points on their own to seal the win.  The deciding play?  ECU ripped the Beamerball sword from V Tech and thrust it through their heart with a blocked punt for a TD with less than two minutes remaining.  The game was close throughout.  No fluke here folks.  The Pirates bested the Hokies in rushing and passing yardage and time of posession.  They even threw away two fumbles, gave up 60 more yards in penalties and messed up an extra point that Tech returned for 2 points.  Next up for the marauding Pirates?  The Kingdom of West Virginia invades the Pirates' Greenville hideout this weekend.  Better bring more than muskets Mountaineers.  It'll take some heavy guns to dislodge the scourge of North Carolina.

Utah Tomahawks Michigan  25-23.  Sweeping down out of the Mountain West Conference like the Mongol tribes of old, the Utes blazed to a 25-10 lead and then hung on for the win.  Michigan's new offense had teething problems as expected.  But the Wolverines defense also succumbed to the Utes' air attack, led by QB Brian Johnson who was 21-34-1 for 305 yards.  Both teams treated the ground as if it was teeming with rattlesnakes and gained only 36 yards apiece.  Kicker Louie Sakoda added to the number of airborne footballs with field goals of 28, 41, 43, and 53 yards.  Sakoda also showed that barbarians can be eloquent on occasion by stating, "Non-BCS teams should get a shot at a championship every year."  Utah Coach Kyle Whittingham noted, "It shouldn't have been as close as it was."  Next up for the Utes? UNLV.  Start running now Rebels.  You'll need all the head start you can get.

Bowling Green Ambushes Pitt 27-17.  ambush n.: a trap in which concealed persons lie in wait to attack by suprise.  Pitt was 24-0 against MAC teams at home.  Surprise!  Not any more.  The Falcons held Panther RB LeSean McCoy to 71 yards rushing and used some razzle-dazzle such as WR Freddie Barnes hitting Jimmy Scheidler with a 5 yd. TD pass.  Pitt was also a generous host, serving up three fumbles and an interception.  So despite dominating statistically, Pitt came up short on the scoreboard.  Falcons coach  Gregg Brandon showed that barbarians can be honest as well.  "We're not supposed to beat those people." said Brandon.  Well Gregg, the times they are a-changing!

Fresno State Goes Transcontinental on Rutgers 24-7.  Fresno flew from California on a charter plane so small, it had to stop in Kansas to refuel.  All seats were taken, and they arrived in New Jersey the Sunday before the Monday 4:00 pm game.  So the fact that Rutgers stuffed their offense the first half makes sense.  Apparently a fire and brimstone speech Coach Pat Hill in the locker room woke up the Bulldogs who outscored Rutgers by 17 after halftime. Solid run defense and rushing offense got the job done for Fresno who converted a 3rd and 23 inside the Rutgers 5 to keep a drive going after Rutgers closed to 10-7 in the fourth quarter.  Two missed field goals and Rutgers' decision to go for it on 4th and goal at the 3 yard line also loomed large in the result.  RB Ryan Matthews ran for 163 yards, mostly after the half.  It's no fun having barbarians come into your house and rip out your heart.  Trust me, I know.  Next target for this barbarian pack of wolves?  The Badgers of Wisconsin make the trip to Fresno on September 13th.  Beware Wisconsin.  I know badgers are vicious but these dogs attack in packs. 


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com