6:54 PM EST, December 16, 2012
As in all divorces, this one has been messy.
The football and basketball-only members of the Big East Conference have been at odds for quite some time and no amount of counseling was going to bring these two parties back together again.
It was irreconcilable differences all the way. The addition of schools such as Tulane and East Carolina appeared to be the tipping point. They are programs many from the Catholic Seven — Marquette, DePaul, Georgetown, St. John's, Villanova, Providence and Seton Hall — believe are watering down the strength of their overall product.
Officials from those schools reportedly have had concerns over the direction of the Big East for quite some time and who can blame them? The Big East was once considered a power broker in college basketball, but with the losses of members like Louisville, West Virginia, Notre Dame, Syracuse and Pittsburgh those days seem to be dwindling.
Negotiations for a new media rights deal, which at one time appeared be leading to a lucrative deal, have gone awry. Officials passed up a deal with ESPN with the hope of sparking a bidding war among networks such as NBC Sports and Fox. That was before all of this discord.
At the rate it's going, the remaining Big East schools will be lucky to get a media rights deal with QVC. "We have these 13 wonderful, slightly used eager to please schools . . . only five easy payments of $1 million."
It's nothing short of a mess.
Meanwhile, schools such as Connecticut, Cincinnati, USF, UCF, SMU, Houston, Memphis, Tulane, East Carolina, Boise State, San Diego State and Navy are left to wonder what's next?
Sure, there were the typical assertions that everything is fine and dandy, but underneath it all, the current and future league members have to be on DEFCON 1.
But what can they do?
The For Sale sign has been out in the front lawn of both Cincinnati and Connecticut for quite some time. Both schools have made it clear they are eager to jump to another conference and especially favor the ACC.
Future members such as the Boise State Broncos, who were on the fence to begin with, have to be reconsidering all of their options. While Navy, a school that isn't expected to join the Big East until 2015, might just remain independent and leave the rest to fend for themselves.
If the remaining schools can avoid losing members— which unfortunately depends on what others including the Big Ten and ACC will do — and they can retain the Big East brand, things can still look up.
There is always the automatic bid to the BCS, which the Big East reportedly could still have for 2013. That accounts for millions of dollars of revenue for the conference and its remaining members.
It's something, right?
What the Big East needs is strong leadership. Someone who can bring all the factions together and work out the best possible deal for everyone involved. Until they find that, the remaining schools should just move into a single-bedroom apartment and start over.
No experience necessary
Temple has reportedly hired Matt Rhule to be its next football coach. He replaces Steve Addazio, who left to take the head coaching job at Boston College. Rhule becomes the 20th coaching hire this offseason and, by all accounts, the college coaching landscape in the Football Bowl Subdivision is getting younger and less experienced. The average age of the 20 new hires is 44 years old, while the average number of years being a head coach is 3.3. On the flip side of that, the average age of the 25 coaches that left their jobs or were fired this offseason was 53 and their average amount of head coaching experience was 8.3 years. Two of the new head coaching hires — Skip Holtz (13) and Tommy Tuberville (17) — have more than a decade's worth of head coaching experience, while eight hires have zero head coaching experience.
If the first bowl game is any indication how the rest of the college football postseason is going to go, we can expect to see some exciting football. Arizona trailed Nevada 48-35 with 1:48 left in the fourth quarter of Saturday's Gildan New Mexico Bowl when the Wildcats pulled off one of the most improbable comebacks by scoring 14 points in the final 46 seconds, including recovering an onside kick to down the Wolf Pack 49-48. Meanwhile, Kerwynn Williams rushed for 235 yards and three touchdowns as Utah State defeated Toledo 41-15 in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. It was the first bowl win for the Aggies since 1993 and will more than likely leave them ranked in the top 25 for the first time in almost five decades.
On the web
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