"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Hold on to your ass....the first domino has fallen...conference realignment begins

Well, we've all known it's coming and the first domino dropped today. Nebraska is going to the Big Ten, which is perfect since the "N" stands for knowledge and the Big Ten already had 11 schools in the fold. A marriage in heaven. One of the most boring brands of football played (at Nebraska) now goes to easily the most boring football conference in America, the Big Ten.

Most likely the destruction of the Big 12 is all but assured, with 4 to 6 schools likely to go to the Pac Ten (soon to be Pac 14 or Pac 16). But that's only where the initial fun begins, and more importantly where Marquette is is impacted greatly.

Without football, Marquette is a bystander while all the girls get invited to the dance, even the really ugly ones with bad breath and hairy arm pits. The reason is simple, no football means not wanted in conference realignment, at least from a BCS perspective.

Now, it's possible (perhaps even likely) that my view point is skewed and in Debbie Downer overdrive, but let's just play along and say it isn't. Here's what could be happening and fast.

Nebraska to the Big Ten. Are they done? Maybe, but could add 2 to 4 more (Missouri, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, etc)
6 Big 12 schools to the Pac Ten \ Pac 16

What does the SEC do? They sure as hell aren't going to sit on 12 schools and give up that revenue. Look for them to add 4 schools either from the Big East or the ACC (Florida State, South Florida, West Virginia, Louisville, are all candidates)

How about the ACC? Will they try to cut the SEC off at the pass and grab Syracuse, Rutgers and maybe Pitt and some other school?

Which leaves us with the Big East, the weakest of the BCS football conferences to begin with. In my eyes, this conference is dead, at least in football. It's going to lose prominent members, not gain them for football. Sure, Central Florida or Memphis might want to join, or Houston and even a Kansas or Kansas State, but that's a patch work situation.

Marquette, Villanova, St. John's, DePaul, Georgetown? What becomes of these schools? Could there be some kind of conference alliances that allow members to be in football for one conference but basketball for another? Unlikely, but wilder things have happened.

It is entirely possible if enough of the Big East football members find other homes that the Big East is relegated to a basketball only conference. At that point, you embrace that legacy and history and make it the best basketball only league you can. You add Xavier, UMass, maybe Saint Louis and Temple. Let's face it, good programs (some even very good) but not the Big East.

At the end of the day, if all this happens, then MU is going to be in a BCS-less conference which is not a good thing. As Bill Self of Kansas put it bluntly, "I'm not in panic mode yet, but I'm very concerned," Self said. "I believe that Kansas will be OK no matter what, but for us to continue to compete at the level where we've been competing, and recruit at that level, I really believe that we need to be aligned with a BCS conference."

Bill Self is right and you don't have to be in Kansas anymore to share that same line of thinking.

So grab you asses folks, because the next month plus is going to be a wild ride that could have a profound affect on Marquette University athletics and the Big East for decades to come.


Unknown said...

So in the end was it smart for Marquette not to have football?

JesuitWarrior said...

Let's not panic. Love the "N" is for knowledge jab.

While the money flowing into athletics programs from BCS football is huge - two things may work outfor us. My ideal solution. First, move to a playoff system, which will mute some of the BCS revenue bulges. 2nd, and what I've been hoping to see in my lifetime - is the great Amercian "Catholic Conference."

Take MU, DePaul, Georgetown, St Johns, ND, Xavier, Dayton, etc. and make a non-football conference for the rest of us.

Championships Matter said...

I'm not sure this situation is as pessimistic as everyone thinks. Most of the Big East football schools are perrenial also-rans and does Louisville, CIncinnati, Pittsburgh or West Virginia want to join a conference where their brains are beaten out every Saturday?

These schools can see their football future and it's Vanderbilt.

Yes, I know the money is attractive but from the SEC's standpoint, why would you want any of these schools? They don't fit with the Tennessees, Floridas and LSUs of the world. Their students appear to be able to read and write! About the only reason the SEC would expand with Big East schools is to give Vanderbilt a fighting chance at a winning conference record.

How it affects Marquette is this: the core of the Big East, Georgetown, UConn, Villanova, St. John's and probably Syracuse, Louisville, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, won't go anywhere. I doubt Notre Dame will and if we lose Rutgers, so what?

All in all, we're in better shape than Kansas is right now!