The Big Ten is coming for us. Maybe not us as in Syracuse but us as in the Big East. Talk all you like about Missouri and Nebraska and Boise State but at the end of the day the most obvious scenario for Big Ten expansion involves someone from the Big East jumping ship. Yes, Notre Dame makes the most sense but they're Notre Dame which means they're going to be asshats about it. That leaves us. Our teams represent the best media markets and are the most vulnerable in the finance and stability categories. If the Big East wants to nip the rampant speculation that will occur over the next 12-18 months, they should do so now with these easy steps.
Grow A F***ing Pair
The Big Ten basically admitted yesterday that they intend to inquire about the possibility of sleeping with the Big East's wife. The Big East's reaction? "I don't want to talk about it." You don't want to talk about. Well guess what, neither did Tiger Woods. How's he doing? Meanwhile everyone and their mother has written a post about possible Big Ten expansion scenarios and 99% of them involve your teams.
What happened last time the Big East tried to play it cool at first? The ACC nearly destroyed the entire conference. Seven years later and we're finally getting back on track. But even so, we're still in an extremely vulnerable position, especially when another BCS conference is throwing goo-goo eyes and promised riches at one of our schools.
Commissioner Marinatto, you need to be less Bud Selig and more Roger Goodell right now. I don't care what you do...issue a statement, hold a press conference, put Greg Schiano in a headlock until he agrees to stay in the conference...whatever it is, do SOMETHING.
Begin The Process Of Calling Up Villanova
Seriously, I don't know how many times I need to say this. And I don't care if Villanova doesn't want to become 1-A. They need to be convinced that they should become 1-A, you see what I mean? We've got guys in Providence who can smack some sense into those Philadelphia knuckleheads, right?
I've ranted on the need to bring in Villanova to the Big East before but to reiterate, it literally solves every major issue we have. It adds a ninth team to the conference, rounds out the conference schedule so it's even, maintains the integrity of the conference by adding a school that is already a member and it gives the Big East back the Philadelphia market. The Cats can split time with Temple in Lincoln Financial Stadium for the time being.
Worried about their ability to compete? Don't. Look how quickly UConn and South Florida got it together. And the timing couldn't be more perfect for the Wildcats, they're in the 1-AA finals.
This needs to happen.
Stop Thinking Like A Basketball Conference
I know. The Big East was founded on basketball. Congratulation, you win a medal. Actually, no, you don't win a medal. You win nothing. All you get to do is allow DePaul, Seton Hall and St. John's to continue to pretend that they're still viable, long-term major conference programs and not overblown Atlantic-10 teams. Huzzah and kudos.
The Big East has been run by Providence guys for a long time and that's shaped a lot of how it's been run. Basketball first. But guess what, if the conference gets raided and Syracuse or Pitt leaves, they're not going to stick around for basketball. They're gone for good. A flagship basketball program will up and vanish like a fart in the wind.
Marinatto, I know you're not willing to make the truly tough decisions. The truly tough decisions would be to excise a lot of the regional school fat that's weighing the basketball conference down. So if you can't do that, at least reorganize the basketball side in order to accommodate football a little better. Whatever that means to you...be it splitting the basketball-only schools off from the "all-purpose partners" or just shifting the way we go about business. Just don't hide behind the excuse of "we're a basketball conference," because you won't have any good basketball programs left pretty soon.
Come Up With A Ten-Year Plan
Eventually, the Big East needs to consist of 12 teams. It just does. If we can't beat the SEC or Big Ten or Big 12 with quality, we need to at the very least match them with quantity. Especially now that the MWC is gaining steam and is likely to expand or do whatever it can to get a stronger BCS foothold, the Big East can't be the weakest AND the smallest BCS conference. We can one or the other, but not both.
I said it yesterday but college conferences are like sharks, they move forward or they die. If Big East football remains stagnant for the next 3-4 years and makes no plans to expand, it will cease to exist shortly-thereafter. It will get raided by the Big Ten or someone else.
Explore your options. Identify your targets. Let's cannibalize Conference USA now in order to prevent our own cannibalization. East Carolina? Central Florida? Memphis? Navy? Army? I don't care but make something happen. At this point its about saving your skin.