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BCS berth: Will it stay or will it go?


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As a 'Cuse alumni I'd like to welcome South Florida into the Big East!!  I am looking forward to some great games at RJ Stadium and the SunDome!!

Some good reasoning of why to not bring UCF, Army, or Navy into the Big East:

BCS berth: Will it stay or will it go?

Big East can best repair image with wins against quality non-conference foes.

Published November 06, 2003

By Donnie Webb, Staff writer

The Big East Conference will drink from the grail that is the Bowl Championship Series through the 2005 season. This year's gulp will be worth more than $17 million.

Even with the departures of Miami and Virginia Tech to the Atlantic Coast Conference after the 2003 season, the Big East will send its league champion for two more years to the Orange, Fiesta, Sugar or Rose bowls. Those are the four games that make up the BCS, the cash cow designed to produce a national championship game while feeding six major power conferences with enormous bankrolls.

For Syracuse University, this might be its last, best chance for getting to a major bowl game. With no Miami or Virginia Tech, the Orangemen look as good as anyone else in the Big East to win the championship.

Next season's league schedule could be reduced to five games if Boston College can negotiate an early exit for the ACC. And even with the additions in 2005 of Louisville, Cincinnati and South Florida, the Big East Conference is long on potential and short on star power.

That's why there are questions about the league's ability to retain its spot in the BCS when the current contract expires.

"I think it's probably THE question," said Rick Chryst, commissioner of the Mid-America Conference.

Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese said the single biggest issue facing the league is its retention of a spot in the BCS. It means the survival of the Big East financially. It means survival for its member schools in recruiting. It means inclusion and equal footing among the most powerful in college football.

Tranghese is convincedthe Big East has earned its right to stay, even after losing its most powerful football entities.

"The fact we've been around the (BCS) table, the markets we come from, we've been a good partner with the bowls, a couple of schools have won national championships and produced Heisman Trophy winners . . . it's all there," Tranghese said. "At the end of the day, we think we belong there."

The fight over the almighty BCS and its millions will play out over the next three years. It will be a difficult transition for the Big East. Connecticut moves into the league next season. Boston College is scheduled to compete for two more seasons. No one wants the Eagles to stay any longer than they have to. Boston College is trying to litigate its way out of a $5 million, 27-month departure.

Tranghese and Big East officials say it will take time. The schools that were invited to replace Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College all have potential and play in sizable markets. The league believes Louisville, Cincinnati and South Florida can use the Big East name brand to strengthen their programs, just as Virginia Tech did a decade ago.

Will the BCS give the Big East time? Did the ACC's move to cut off the head of the Big East by taking Miami prove fatal?

"We have been meticulously careful in all of our conversations not to discuss that because of pending litigation between and among conferences and institutions," said Tom Hansen, commissioner of the Pac-10, one of the six leagues in the BCS. "We've already begun planning, going forward to the next round. There will be adjustments made undoubtedly to the current structure.

"Certainly, they lostsome very good football programs. They'll get a couple of years to play more like the new conference than the old one. We'll see how well they do. The other aspect is, if some of these teams come into the Big East, will those programs get better? I think when the time comes for analysis, the Big East will make a very strong case."

The turnover of teams comes at an awful time for the Big East. Television networks are tightening their budgets, and the host bowls are under increasingly heavy financial demands.

There is increased demand for access to the BCS by other NCAA Division I schools. Tulane president Scott Cowen has led an uprising that has threatened legal action if the system is not changed. The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings last week on the BCS. A second meeting of a BCS presidential oversight committee will convene on Nov. 16.

Tranghese and Syracuse athletic director Jake Crouthamel said the one thing the Big East can control in this time of chaos is its performance on the field.

"We've got to go play and win," Tranghese said. "What we've got to do is be strong," Crouthamel said. "What exists in the Big East must be strong. We must play, and play well. And play up. And we've scheduled Florida State next year. That's not by coincidence."

Crouthamel said the loss of Miami and Virginia Tech from the home schedule meant the Orangemen had to find headliner non-conference games at the Carrier Dome. He said the Orangemen are actively talking about bringing in another non-conference game next season on a par with Florida State.

The Orangemen need the games for television purposes. They need the games for prestige, for strength of schedule and for ticket sales. More importantly, they need to win some of those games to repair the Big East's image.

Other Big Eastschools are doing the same. Pittsburgh is playing Nebraska and Notre Dame. West Virginia is playing Virginia Tech and Maryland. Rutgers plays Michigan State. Connecticut plays Georgia Tech.

"This is about scheduling correctly, playing and winning games," Tranghese said. "If you don't go out and schedule and you don't win games, you're going to have a problem."

The need to play quality non-conference games is the major reason why the Big East tabled the idea of bringing in a ninth football school as an associate member, Tranghese said. The league had talked about bringing in Central Florida, Navy or Army as a ninth, football-only member to provide a balanced schedule. The motion was tabled because the membership decided it needed better games than could be provided by UCF, Navy or Army.

"We need the flexibility so we can go out and schedule the kind of teams we need to schedule," Tranghese said. "We need to schedule to help our cause for the BCS and for TV purposes."

Tranghese said there's no way to predict what the BCS will look like in a few more years. He believes the marketplace will play a strong role in the next configuration. And he can't imagine a system that would exclude the Northeast.

The Big East put out a chart on Tuesday that shows the new basketball league will penetrate nearly a quarter of television sets across the country. Even the Pac-10's Hansen said that has to be taken into account.

"We're certainly proceeding as if we expect to be there," said Big East associate commissioner Tom Odjakjian. "We have to show we deserve to be there. I'm sure everybody is going to be watching us very closely."

© 2003 The Post-Standard. Used with permission.

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Welcome to our board and appreciate the welcome ...

Curious ... I remember when Syracuse had a game in Tampa there were many Orangemen ... how many would you expect when you guys play My Beloved BULLS ?

Thanx

Go BULLS !!!

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Good post and welcome to the board...

With family still in Rochester NY - I look forward to seeing a few Bulls games at the Carrier Dome...

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"This is about scheduling correctly, playing and winning games," Tranghese said. "If you don't go out and schedule and you don't win games, you're going to have a problem."  

The need to play quality non-conference games is the major reason why the Big East tabled the idea of bringing in a ninth football school as an associate member, Tranghese said.

'nuff said.

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Thanks for the welcome!  I've been watching the board for the last couple of weeks leading up to the big announcement and figured it is time to participate!  First and foremost I'm an Orangeman fan, but I've loved watching the Bulls grow since I've moved to the Tampa area a few years ago.  I think this will become a great rivalry over the years!

I think you guys should expect a sea of Orange when 'Cuse is in town!  There are tons of people for the Northeast down here and I've met a lot of Syracuse grads and fans that'll love the chance to see the Orangemen play in the area!

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AMEN to that Bulliever !

I also plan to hit the Syracuse games !

Go BULLS !!!

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From Today's Times:

SELLING THE BIG EAST: The euphoria of USF's move to the Big East will wear off quickly if the conference does not maintain its BCS standing. Having an automatic spot in the lucrative BCS games will have to be negotiated when the current agreement ends after the 2005 season. The Big East, ACC, SEC, Pac-10, Big 12 and Big Ten have guaranteed spots.

"We will be one of the six best football-playing conferences in the country," Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese said. "I'm confident that we will be sitting at the table with the five other conferences. There is a lot of tradition in this league. We have schools who have won national championships, schools whose players have won the Heisman Trophy. We come from one of the most important sectors in this country. I'm very confident we'll be there in the next go-around."

Consider this, however: Since the BCS began in 1998, Syracuse is the only school in the new Big East (without Miami and Virginia Tech) to finish in the Top 15 of the Associated Press poll, which could move other leagues to argue that they are just as worthy of an automatic BCS spot.

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Bear in mind that Pitt & Syracuse will easily go 6-1 or 7-0 in Big East play, which will improve their positions in rankings...

Also, it looks as if Pittsburgh could win the Big East this year... now that would go a long way toward proving that the Big East belongs in the BCS...

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As usual, the BCS talk has me baffled.  

If the Big East is removed from the BCS rotation, who will get the slot?  What other conference is more deserving?  C-USA?  Mountain West?  MAC?  WAC?  Are any of these conferences that much better than the BE that you would yank the BE BCS and give it to one of them?  I guess the bigger possibility is that they would make the BE slot and "At-large" slot.  

In my very naive (and uneducated in this matter) opinion, I just don't see it happening.

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I don't see BE losing the bcs tag either ... the bcs may not be around in 2006 anyways.

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