USA TODAY Sports
Syracuse is leaving the Big East. So are the Catholic 7, who are becoming the Big East. Confusing? Sure. But it means that the stars have aligned for the return of the Big East/ACC Challenge.
As I'm sure you've heard by now, the Catholic 7 will in fact remain The Big East Conference and The Big East Conference will become...something else entirely.
Along with that, ESPN reports that the Xavier Musketeers and Butler Bulldogs will join the Georgetown Hoyas, Villanova Wildcats, St. John's Red Storm, Seton Hall Pirates, Marquette Golden Eagles, Providence Friars and something called the DePaul Blue Demons in this new-ish conference. The Creighton Bluejays, Dayton Flyers and Saint Louis Billikens are expected to follow soon thereafter.
Currently, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are in a bit of a dilemma. They'd probably like to jump directly into the ACC this season instead of next. However, that's a helluva turnaround. The Irish could actually spend a year in this new-old Big East before joining the ACC once and for all (until they leave for the Big 12 in five years).
Basically, you're looking at a twelve-team Big East in 2014-2015.
Over on our side of things, you'll be looking at a fifteen-team ACC by 2014-2015, thanks to the arrival of the Syracuse Orange, Pittsburgh Panthers, Louisville Cardinals and Notre Dame (minus the Maryland Terrapins). With so many former Big East schools in one conference and so many former Big East schools which are actually still Big East schools in the other (I know), it seems like a no-brainer that the best way to hold on to those old traditions while also respecting the present is to rekindle the Big East/ACC Challenge.
Note: I know this isn't going to happen. Just bear with me.
Some of the match-ups basically explain themselves. Others just seem intriguing in general. And then there's the match-ups involving DePaul and Providence. Sorry about that.
While there's certainly a limit to the obvious match-ups you can put together, there's enough to make this kind of event a no-brainer. Once you get these ones in the can, everything else can just fill in around them...
- Syracuse vs. Georgetown (Obvs)
- Pittsburgh vs. Villanova (Whoever Wins, Penn State Loses)
- Notre Dame vs. Butler (The Battle For Indiana That Doesn't Include Indiana)
- Duke vs. St. John's (They seem to play every year anyway)
- North Carolina vs. Butler (Storylines abound here)
- Louisville vs. St. Louis (Believe it or not, this qualifies as a Border War. Also acceptable so long as Pitino is still there, Louisville vs. Providence)
- Miami vs. Providence (Whereas Providence represents the mentality that got the Big East into this mess, Miami represents the football-first mentality it let get away)
After that, fill in as you like...
Like I said, it ain't gonna happen. Not for a long time, at least. The ACC has it's "challenge" with the Big Ten and the Big Ten kinda/sorta has that one with SEC, assuming that's still active.
For Syracuse, this kind of yearly setup would be clutch as it would eliminate the need to proactively schedule one of the old Big East traditional rivals every year. No need to schedule Georgetown when that game will be the crown jewel of the Big East/ACC Challenge. At least that's my theory...