Thursday, June 19, 2003

College Conference Shakeup. Continued

Its the middle of June, the school year has ended, basketball and hockey are over, and there's only one thing to talk about:


Truly amazing. Even though changes in conference alignments may be years down the road, they seem certain to happen. And these kind of changes are the big ones. This is not a player getting injured, a coach getting fired. These are changes that affect not just universities but whole regions of the country, their allies, their rivals, their culture.

Yesterday I wrote about how Miami, BC,and Syracuse were about to leave the Big East for the ACC. Later on, I updated with the news of Virginia Tech moving along also. I covered the ACC changes pretty well, but nothing with the Big East or Conference USA, who are about to be dragged into this, too. With another team probably headed to the ACC as well, it already seems time to reexamine the whole thing.

I'm going to start with the ACC, because I've already covered it, so its the least work. This is how I see the two divisions of the ACC coming into play:

Central - UNC, NC St, Duke, Wake Forest, Clemson, Virginia, Va Tech
Burbs - Miami, FSU, Ga Tech, Maryland, BC, Syracuse, and ?

My explanation for this the other day was that it keeps the traditional ACC schools together, keeps Miami and FSU together so they don't have to play twice, and keeps BC and Syracuse with Miami. Maryland easily fits in with the northern schools, GA Tech with the Florida ones. I think Va Tech has to wind up in the same division as Virginia (shame to waste that natural rivalry and not have them play ever year), which leaves an opening in the Burbs.

Popular opinion right now is UConn, but I don't know. Their football team is just getting off the ground. While UConn sports has a good track record, that's cutting them and awfully nice slice of pie for a beginner. A safer choice is Pitt, but still, UConn's basketball team may carry them. Let's say its UConn, and put them in the Burb division.

This brings us to what would be left of Big East football. There ain't a whole lot left here, folks:

West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Temple, Villanova (eventually)

That's it. There's a lot of talk about the Big East raiding Conference USA, but with only those five teams left, that seems unlikely. A better bet is that the Big East becomes a basketball-only conference. These are the teams that would be left in Big East basketball. We are going to assume for now that Villanova would not want to be part of that.

East - Providence, St John's
West - Notre Dame, Seton Hall, Georgetown

That's only five teams, but it is much easier to find other basketball schools than football schools. They could get St.Joe's, Xavier, UMass, and George Washington, and that's just from the Atlantic 10. They could get basketball-only schools from CUSA in Marquette, St Louis, and DePaul. There's a lot of quality Catholic schools in this group, and that is bound to appeal to some College Presidents. How about this for Big East hoops?

East - Providence, St. John's, UMass, St Joe's, Georgetown,Temple (Let's say they drop football)
West -Notre Dame, Marquette, St Louis, Xavier, DePaul, GW

This is a quick list. My point isn't that I know what is going to happen to Big East hoops, just that its really easy to fix.

So this leaves us with Pitt ,West Virginia, Rutgers, and Villanova on the outside looking in. Here is the current roster for CUSA football:

Louisville, Cincinnati, ECU, Memphis, UAB, Tulane, Houston , S. Miss., TCU, Army, USF

That's eleven schools. You see what I'm getting at? Let's say that the Big East Wanderers hang together, and insist that all four of them be taken. That's fifteen. Throw in, say, Marshall (WV at this point will be in no position to protest), and you've got a nice 16 team conference:

North - Pitt, WV, Marshall, Villanova, Rutgers, Cincinnati, ECU, Army
South - Memphis, UAB, Southern Miss, Tulane, Houston, TCU, USF, Louisville

Not bad. Also, if St Louis, DePaul, and Marquette have gone Big East, that leaves 11 CUSA teams in hoops. Add in the five new schools, and you've got a 16 team CUSA hoop league, too.

If only it were this easy. You know something is going to happen tonight to change the whole thing.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home