Or, to be less verbose, I am the victim of the old adage: Be careful what you wish for, it might come true.
For years now, I have been decrying the part-time presence of Notre Dame in the Big East. The Irish didn’t compete in league football, begrudgingly played only a few conference teams now and again, all the while stealing the leagues primo bowl spot . . . in those few seasons when the ND actually lived up to its old and worn rep. Yet Notre Dame was allowed access to all the other conference championships, basketball and otherwise, winning way more than its share along the way.
When the league started to get wobbly several seasons back, Notre Dame could have repaid the Big East’s allegiance by joining in football, which would have immediately righted the ship and saved the league. It would have been a generous gesture, not to mention one that made sense on a lot of levels.
When it became obvious such a scenario was not to be, my bellow was clear: Send ‘em packing. How much do they help if they won’t play with the league’s football?
Turns out the muckety mucks sitting in the Golden Dome had the same idea.
Good bye Big East, hello ACC.
Good bye football independence (At least de facto, if not de jure.), hello an annual schedule that includes 5 games/ year against league brothers of the league’s choosing.
And now the Big East, which I had taken to once calling the BEast, at least in hoops, is the Big Least.
This is the way the league implodes, not with a bang but a whimper.
So, what does the league do now?
Chase BYU first of all. They ain’t Notre Dame, but they are a “brand.” And we know that’s what is most important these days. Besides Mormons will be de rigeur for a bit if Romney pulls it off in November.
And, after that, pray that some TV network with more money than sense throws a big contract the league’s way.
As for U of L, well, I just don’t know. Anybody with any sense of the situation understands Tom Jurich would jump to the ACC or the Big 12 in a nanosecond. The former would be preferable. The latter, acceptable, with slobbering thank yous bestowed on every Midwestern member.
The ACC has a spot. UConn and Rutgers want it as much as U of L. Neither has the athletic programs that exist on the Belknap campus. Both have better geography and academic reps. My guess is the ACC will go for the latter. I’m betting on UConn, warts and all.
If the Big 12 decides to live up to its name, and there’s no reason to believe it won’t, later if not sooner. Louisville and the aforementioned Brigham Young University make the most sense. For the moment, the league has passed on the latest bidding war. U of L can genuflect toward Austin and David Boren all it wants. The move is theirs.
Until then, it’s goodbye Irish, hello . . . uh . . . SMU?
– Seedy K