Ignore the snoot, welcome Tulane, East Carolina

The observer really doesn’t get all the snarky comments being aimed at the Big East with the addition of the universities of Tulane and East Carolina to the conference Tuesday.

Just more evidence of the snootiness that was prevalent in collegiate sports long before the current rounds of conference realignment were launched. Unfortunately, it exists among UofL fans as well.

Tulane and East Carolina are perfectly acceptable, and the Big East is fortunate to get them, each with desirable qualities. Tulane has long been considered a good medical school and is located in New Orleans, a good media market. East Carolina has a good football tradition and has great attendance in a 50,000-plus seat stadium.

If East Carolina plays at Papa John’s, the visitors section will always be packed. Same can’t be said for Tulane but the trips to New Orleans will be fantastic.

If the University of Louisville were forced to remain in the Big East Conference for a while, Tulane and East Carolina would be good partners.

All’s fair in love and conference realignment

Settle down. This is going to take a while longer.

The one sure thing about conference realignment is nothing is certain until announced. What appears inevitable one minute can be out of the question in less than five minutes.

The Big Ten move to pluck Rutgers from the Big East and Maryland from the Atlantic Coast Conference this week has shaken the conference realignment landscape to the core.  The peace has been shattered, it’s every conference and school for themselves.

The debate over Louisville and UConn may have suddenly taken a back seat in some circles to whether the ACC will even survive.  The Big Ten, the Big 12 and the Southeastern Conference may be preparing for an all-out raid of another basketball centric conference.

The speed with the ACC could be totally devastated would make what happened to the Big East over several years akin to a merciful and honorable goodbye. If an school is good in basketball, it had better be damned good in football if it is to survive the aftermath.

My guess is Louisville’s future is back on hold. With visions of mega million payouts, the conference commissioners and college presidents are scheming around the clock to out-scheme each other. Any handshakes, promises and agreements up to now could be meaningless.

The end game appears to be four football super conferences, consisting of 64 teams as someone suggested about four years ago. Whether 64 will be the right number will only be decided when the destination appears within reach.


Let Louisville and UConn decide ACC question on football field

Already much on the line with the University of Louisville-UConn football game. Let’s raise the stakes.

UofL badly needs a win to stay in the running for a BCS berth. UConn needs to win if it hopes to become bowl eligible this season. Both teams will already be highly motivated.

Why not let the issue of conference realignment be decided at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium?

This is presuming, of course that the Atlantic Coast Conference has to add another new member after losing Maryland to the Big Ten and Rutgers will decide to leave the Big East this week and that the top two choices are UofL and UConn. Both present impressive credentials.

UConn would bring a larger TV market and higher academic ratings, the home of the ESPN cable network. That would seem to be enough, based on the Big Ten’s selection of Maryland’s largely bankrupt program, which had been forced to drop some sports. However, Boston College, a current ACC member, has had issues with UConn in the past. Fans of schools like Florida State and Clemson decry UConn’s shortcomings in football.

On the other hand, Louisville offers a resurging football program, an improving academic profile and a fan base that travels well. UofL also has one of the most successful athletic departments in the country, nationally competitive in almost every sport, and quality facilities for all sports.

If the conference realignment issue is about football, why not let the issue be decided on the football field. Winner takes all. Gather all the good old boys at ACC headquarters for the ultimate game-watching party, complete with all the trappings and a sumptuous buffet. The ultimate tailgate party, but with all the drama of a high stakes football game.

This, of course, is never going to happen. But it makes as much sense as some of the criteria used to make conference realignment decisions in the past.

‘Big boys’ float trial balloon rumor, denying Seventh Access Bowl and Big East

Whoops. One more obstacle for Tom Jurich, of the University of Louisville, and Mike Areso, the new Big East Commissioner.

The powers that be in the new football playoff system are floating a trial balloon that a seventh-access bowl that would provide access to conferences outside of the so-called Big Five may not happen at all. They are telling their semi-official balloon floater Brett McMurphy:

The bowl’s lesser worth compared to the other access bowls, the difficulty of selling tickets for an annual bowl featuring a non-power conference team and finding a bowl that wants to host the game that also meets the stadium capacity requirements for an access bowl and the national semifinals.

In other words, the self-appointed “big boy” conferences want to totally shut the door on any opportunity for the Big East or any other conference to have access to the national championship. We presume it would also adversely affect UofL’s chances of strengthening the schedule with more traditional powers.

“I think everyone has realized the seventh bowl is not on the level with the other contract bowls,” a source said. “The question was, how much can we get for this game? It didn’t sound like it was a lot.”

It’s not. The Rose and Champions bowls will be worth $80 million a year. Sources also told ESPN that the Orange Bowl will be worth $60 million a year, compared to only about $25 million a year for the proposed seventh bowl.

“Three weeks ago it was probably 90-10 (that a seventh bowl game would happen), now I would put it at less than 50 percent,” another source said.

Those sources likely being Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany, Texas Athletic Director Deloss Dodds, and SEC Commissioner Mike Slive who have been pulling most of the strings during the conference realignment and football playoffs positioning. These are individuals with the most to gain by shutting off access and setting the tone for negotiations for a seventh access bowl.

McMurphy didn’t bother contacting Mike Aresco, of the Big East, who is confident that a seventh-access bowl would be a huge success. The last time we looked $25 million was a big deal, but we’re confident that, with Aresco’s background, a seventh access bowl would be worth much more. It’s called marketing and promotion, folks, something with which ESPN should have plenty of experience and expertise. You go out and sell it.

Sorry gentlemen, hate to burst your balloon. This latest step in your quest for total control over college football may be the one that brings you down.

You may as well get down on your knees and beg for a class action lawsuit from all the fans whose teams would be denied. You are inviting federal legislators to do a major Congressional investigation.

You are admitting that the entire movement is profit driven and that you deserve to have your tax exempt status removed. You have already damaged the integrity of the sport, now you want to destroy any vestiges of fairness at all

Nice try. But the trial balloon is full of hot air and deserves to crash. Keep at it and the entire playoff system will come tumbling down as well.