Guesties: Big East jumble

Posted: March 5, 2012 by terryvandrovec in Guesties
Tags: , , , , ,

By Rich Jensen
Guest blogger

How many of you know how many teams are in the Big East right now?

Next year?

How about the year after that?

And the year after that?

Even diehard Big East fans, you know the ones who will tell you every year that their conference is the best in all of basketball (despite the Big East accounting for only 9 of the past 80 Final Four appearances), would have trouble answering those questions.

And that’s the trouble.

It’s clear that the Big East has gone from a narrowly focused basketball conference to something that wouldn’t look out of place on
an episode of Hoarders.

From 1982 to 1991, of the eight schools in the Big East, only Pitt and Boston College failed to appear in the Final Four at least once. In ten years, six different Big East schools made the Final Four a total of eight times.
In the twenty years since then, only three schools from the Big East have appeared in the Final Four (Syracuse, Villanova and
Connecticut), and the conference appeared in the Final Four only nine times. This, despite a continually increasing membership.

What happened in 1991? The Big East decided that it wanted to be a big time football conference. This decision launched a twenty year period of conference instability with membership changes in 1991, 1995, 2000, 2004, and 2005, with still more changes on the horizon.

By 2013, based on the tenuous assumption that nothing further happens in the next year and a half, the Big East will have two football only members, two all-but-football members (Notre Dame and Villanova), and fifteen members in all sports (ignoring Georgetown’s alleged ‘football’ program which I am told exists, but which I suspect is little more than equipment and a handful of idle students). Note that these figures assume Temple has the good sense to steer clear of this train wreck.

This bloated collection of castoffs, social climbers, and assorted other flotsam and jetsam will finally unite such long time rivals as
Houston and Providence, Southern Methodist and Marquette, and – of course – the storied I-4 rivalry between the University of Southern Florida and the University of Central Florida.

And what is the reason for this dog’s breakfast? Preservation of the conference’s BCS bid. Yes, that annual event in which a single Big East school (the conference has never sent more than one team to a BCS bowl) is shellacked by a school from somewhere else where they play real football.

That, friends – preservation of that typically embarrassing payday – is the sole reason for putting together this random assortment of schools, this scrambled hash of a conference.

There is no reason to expect that non-football members of the Big East will put up with this insanity indefinitely, and when they
choose to leave, the remaining Big East programs will stand as a testimony to the idiocy of the BCS system, the clumsy greed and
grasping desperation of conference presidents, and a supreme proof that money is not an effective replacement for common sense.

About the author: Jensen is very smart … and very nice for filling this piece while Fury is in South Africa and TV is buried under a heap of work. Muchas gracias, amigo.

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