The Big East has officially announced the addition of five new members – Boise State, SMU, Houston, San Diego State, Central Florida – and the natural reaction of Syracuse fans was likely laughter.
It is funny, isn‚Äôt it? Commissioner John Marinatto has to stoop to inviting programs with little national cache and foreign area codes in order to replenish his depleted conference, while selling everyone this is all very exciting. Right.
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To be fair, it’s not like SU can look down its nose at any football program after an awful 5-7 season. Boise State is a legit national power, Houston was a top 10 program this year, and San Diego State and SMU both had better seasons than the Orange. But outside of the Broncos, these additions don’t make the Big East any more relevant on a national scale.¬†
The five incoming schools signify a waving of the white flag by Marinatto. The Big East can no longer be considered one of the nation‚Äôs best football conferences (that’s a stretch even now). This is not the outcome Marinatto had ever planned for.
His best bet was to keep all of the current Big East schools in tact, and if possible add TCU and/or Boise State.¬†That plan failed spectacularly, in large part because he balked on a potential television contract with ESPN.
The only other way to preserve respectability was to merge with remnants of the Big 12. That possibility went out the window when the Big 12 remarkably did what the Big East couldn‚Äôt do – stay relatively intact.
This current expansion became the Big East’s only option. This is where The Fizz finally stops laying into The Electrician, who has served as one of our favorite punching bags. The new expansion adds one national power and four respectable television markets – Houston, Dallas, Orlando and San Diego (even if these programs rank at the bottom of sports interest in their cities).
Oh, the commissioner deserves considerable blame for allowing the Big East to break apart like wet newspaper, but his latest decision actually makes sense.¬†Notre Dame will never join the Big East as a football member. The basketball schools have pulled in their own direction. TCU would much rather align with in-state rivalries and the star power of Texas and Oklahoma.¬†
Boise State is about the best the Big East can do right now. San Diego State may only serve as a west coast partner with the Broncs, but it‚Äôs sadly not the worst option either.
With only five football members previously committed to the Big East beyond 2013, Marinatto had to do¬†something. He couldn‚Äôt just continue to sit idly by as schools vacated his conference.¬†Granted, it‚Äôs still laughable to hear him talk up the new-look Big East.
‚ÄúThe Big East conference is the first truly national college football conference.‚Äù
Uh huh. So why don‚Äôt you just call it the Big MAC then, Johnny Boy? Because that‚Äôs about what it‚Äôs turned into.
Out: Syracuse, Pittsburgh, and West Virginia. In: Boise State, SMU, Houston, San Diego State, and Central Florida. Scratching at the walls to leave: UConn, Rutgers, Louisville.¬†
Not a very good trade, but don‚Äôt confuse the reason why you should be making fun of Marinatto.
He should never have let¬†SU and the others leave, but once they did, Marinatto had no better choice than to pursue the schools he did.
Posted: Andrew Kanell