After the Syracuse Orange and Pitt Panthers decided to leave the Big East for the ACC and everyone freaked out, I wrote a story that turned all of the schools into human beings and the conferences into businesses. Once I did that, it was obvious to see that no one would ever actually blame "Sara Quse" for doing what she did given the circumstances. When it comes to the business world, loyalty is overrated and an illusion (just ask anyone who's ever been laid off after years of service).
The other point of the story was, it's nothing personal. It was not personal when SU and Pitt left the Big East. It was business. UConn, West Virginia, Rutgers and Louisville would have done the same thing (and might still).
However, SU and Pitt fans knew that John Marinatto and the Big East were going to make it personal in their reaction. I mean, you'd have thought Syracuse and Pitt killed Mike Tranghese's dog. Making this personal is exactly the kind of short-sighted, kneejerk decision-making that Marinatto is known for and got the Big East in this mess to begin with.
So I don't think anyone is surprised that Marinatto et. al are going to hold Syracuse and Pitt to the 27-month commitment in spite of the fact that the Big East is going to invite up to six new football programs to join the conference ASAP.
As Syracuse fans, we should probably just expect this, move forward but keep in mind that you never say never. Let's say the Big East gets all six of its target schools (Boise, Navy, Air Force, SMU, Houston, UCF). That swells the ranks to 14 on the football side. Depending on whether or not SMU and Houston join as full members, that could bring the basketball side to 19 teams.
At that point, I still think its feasible the Big East could say, "We've got the numbers we want. We'll let you go so long as you pay an 'early-release' penalty." At that point, it'll become a question of whether or not the penalty would be worth jumping ship early (And if I had to guess, I'd say the penalty would be $5 million, making SU & Pitt pay $10M in order to leave the conference).
However, if the Big East stands pat (which seems like the John Marinatto Thing To Do), there are bonuses here. Syracuse's football schedule could get some interesting additions. Personally, I would love to see the Orange come out to Boise if only because that's within driving distance for me (8 hours or so). Doug Marrone would love to play Navy and Air Force. Games against SMU, Houston or UCF give the Orange more access to bigtime recruiting hotbeds.
Long way to go on this one, especially considering the dominoes that will fall if and when Missouri join the SEC. I wouldn't say we're 100% locked in to the Big East until 2014 just yet...though I'd probably call it 90% for now.
Get ready for hear the hate for a few years...