So I'm sure you all heard by now about TCU joining the conference, and I bet a lot of you are excited. Yes, in the short term, the football will improve. But this still doesn't solve a lot of the issues facing college sports:
1. We now have 17 basketball schools. If that's not bloated I don't know what is. It's just ASKING for the conference to collapse.
2. In football, this shows the Big East is just a "stepping stone" conference, especially if the pesky Big Twelve (as opposed to the Big X) comes-a-knockin' (remember, this is the conference that is singlehandedly holding back a playoff). In other words we're just bailing out the conference, not reinventing it.
3. The Big East, a conference that was supposed to be confined to the Northeast, is now west of the Mississippi.
The Big East needs to go in a COMPLETELY new direction. Instead of grabbing established powers like TCU just to provide temporary stability, we need a long-term solution. This involves bringing the conference back to its roots in the Northeast and grabbing up-and-coming football programs, many of which have promising basketball programs as well.
We need to dump DePaul, Marquette, and Notre Dame. They'd be good fits for a conference that has Butler and Xavier in it. They're just too far west and we know ND football arrogance by now.
Now, we have to keep Georgetown in the conference for its perrennial strength and Northeast hold, and unfortunately Providence, Seton Hall, and St. John's MUST stay unless they want to leave. Providence, Georgetown, Seton Hall, and St. John's will be the only four schools in the conference that don't play football.
This leaves us with Syracuse, UConn, Rutgers, Pitt, Louisville, Cincy, WVU, and USF for football. We now have 12 schools total, and 8 for football. Well, where do we get the other schools?
The obvious choice here is the obvious school I left out: Villanova. Nova football brings the Philly market, establishes an in-state rivalry with Pitt, and could ramp up the recruiting battles in PA, probably getting more athletes to stay in the area and not go to other parts of the country. Plus Nova is already a basketball member AND is a good football team; I say they have to come.
We need three more teams though to become full members. Where do we get them? We need to plant our own seeds and make some investments, and convince our investments that they're worth it. To do this, we need to take a dip into FCS.
The first choice is obviously Delaware. The Fightin' Blue Hens have a deep football tradition, a I-AA NC, and was the runner up several years recently; they could compete with a good number of FBS teams, and proved they could play with Maryland a few years back. Plus Delaware's up-and-coming lacrosse program could benefit.
After that comes UMass. With this we basically get back the state of Massachusetts without having to try to convince BC they were better off in the Big East (they were; the ACC tanked after they raided us), plus UMass brings decent basketball prowess and of course could increase Big East lacrosse depth.
We still need one more school. I'm thinking looking towards Appalachian State because of their uber-dominance of I-AA, and even some I-A teams, including those ranked in the polls (oh hello Michigan!). They try to get top I-A competition on their schedule every year, too.
With this, we have a solid conference with a lot of different markets, granted we don't have Chicago anymore, but it's much more of a conference that could get casual fans excited and thus more revenue.