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Big East in basketball, and Big Least in Football


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From Sports Business News:

Big East in basketball, and Big Least in Football

It is now officially over. The Big East has been reconfigured as a 16-team mega-conference in basketball. And as an eight-team so-so conference in football.

The Big East was born as a basketball conference. Now, fittingly, it has been reborn as arguably the best basketball conference ever. Football? That's another issue. You can't lose Miami and Virginia Tech and replace them with Cincinnati, South Florida, and Louisville and say that things will be the same.

All of this came to pass yesterday in New York, where Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese announced the addition of Louisville, South Florida, and Cincinnati as members in all sports and the addition of DePaul and Marquette in all sports but football.

Tranghese said the change will take place starting in 2005. Don't bet on it. The pressure to get things done for next season already is mounting on several fronts, part of a chain reaction touched off by the Atlantic Coast Conference's original raid of the Big East.

The Big East waited four months and gutted Conference USA. Conference USA then went after teams in the Western Athletic Conference. The WAC then went into the Sun Belt and grabbed teams. Officially, none of this will begin before the 2005 season, but that's too many lame ducks flying around to make anyone happy.

One school left out of the Big East expansion plan yesterday was Central Florida, which along with Marshall, Rice, Tulsa, and SMU will join Conference USA, it was announced yesterday.

"I've spent all my time working on this for the past five months," said a weary Tranghese yesterday from New York, where he went from press conferences to conference calls, putting the best spin on moves he never wanted to make. "So yes, I am glad that part of it is over.

"It's been a long, long process," said Tranghese, who must now meld the 16-team league into a new partnership in football and basketball. "But now we're going to get on with it the best way we can. The football league is going to be solid. In basketball, we're clearly as good as any conference that has been put together."

With 14 of the 16 teams having made Final Four appearances, with seven having won national championships, the boast is not an idle one.

But this is not a football story. Never has been. Football is what prompted the ACC to make its moves, going after Miami, Virginia Tech, and then Boston College. And at the cost of basketball, which is ironic since the ACC has long been regarded as the standardbearer of basketball excellence.

"The ACC's history was based on basketball," said former Big East commissioner Dave Gavitt yesterday. "And then along came football, and the ACC probably diluted itself in basketball."

Gavitt, who was the guiding light in the founding of the Big East, says he has watched what has unfolded over the past several months with a sense of unease.

"It's been a painful year," said Gavitt. "The Big East was founded as a basketball league and football was coming along. And then it's all been confusing since then."

Tranghese recognized the dangers last spring when he talked about the ACC's moves causing unprecedented tremors throughout college athletics.

He has fixed basketball. And then some. Football is a different matter.

The additions yesterday are bandages on major wounds for a conference that must fight now to retain its automatic BCS slot.

"Miami is irreplaceable," said Tranghese, who added that for the Big East to again prosper, a school such as South Florida must fill the role of Virginia Tech, which gained prominence over the past 10 years not only because of its own accomplishments, but also because of the exposure provided by the Big East.

Tranghese knows this is not the end of the journey. There is much work to be done, especially if the process is to be speeded up.

"This has not been good for any of us," he said, when asked for an overall assessment. "What happened today is the top of the ripple effect, and it's not good. We can say what we want about education. But look at us. Look at conferences taking teams from other conferences. Look at conferences getting further and further away from their geographical bases and becoming more and more displaced. None of it makes any of us look good."

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I honstlt don't see that big of a drop-off . . . I saw another poster from another board explain it as ... "The big tree being cut and letting the smaller trees grow."

Go BULLS !!!

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Well.....it's not like the Big East just replaced its perennial national championship contender with "the other" national championship contender. The best of Big East football went to the ACC.

And if we step back from that, face facts, the Big East is a phenomenal hoops conference, and now it has to rebuild its football stature. I don't see too much difference between C/USA and the Big East - save the BCS tag. :o

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That, and there isn't one team left in CUSA besides USM, that is on the same level as L'ville/WVU/Pitt/USF

I put us in there with those 3 since we've beat 2 of them ;)

Ok Marshall is good too, but i think the aforementioned teams are better.

(assuming TCU goes to MWC)

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And if we step back from that, face facts, the Big East is a phenomenal hoops conference, and now it has to rebuild its football stature. I don't see too much difference between C/USA and the Big East - save the BCS tag. :o

Tradition...exposure...name recognition...

That, and seven teams ranked in the top-25 in basketball. Oh yes, the Big East also has the defending national champion in basketball.

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And then there's this tidbit:

"Miami is irreplaceable," said Tranghese, who added that for the Big East to again prosper, a school such as South Florida must fill the role of Virginia Tech, which gained prominence over the past 10 years not only because of its own accomplishments, but also because of the exposure provided by the Big East.

Does anyone get the feeling that USF now has some expectations to live up to??

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I wouldn't want it any other way ;)  We're good at exceeding expectations.

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Guest KnightLight

In today's bird cage column by Bianchi...in regards to Big East Hoops...he says:

"How strong is the Big East basketball now? 15 of the 16 programs (everybody except USF) in the revamped league have gone to the Final Four. USF will be as overmatched as Steven Seagal in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'

KL

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Probably true, for a few years anyway

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Let's see here . . .

Pitt beat VaTech

WVU beat VaTech

;D

Ready for Pitt to take down Miami  8)

Saying VaTech and Miami are the best, but Pitt very well will win it  ;D ... and what does BC have  ::)

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