Well, that didn’t take long.
It was only 23 days ago in Philadelphia after the win over Temple that we were writing about the end of Syracuse’s 23 year Big East football run amidst the fluid world of BCS realignment, a world in which each of the major conference players is in a quest to form the largest and most valuable TV property to offer to suitors, and make sure its place is entrenched in the new “Final Four” of college football which commences in 2014.
Now less than a month later, the departure of Louisville to replace Maryland and join the ‘Cuse in the ACC was the last straw to what was left of the Big East, the strongest college hoops prescience that started from scratch in the last 30 years.
The remaining basketball-only Catholic-centric universities knew the TV money relatively new commissioner Mike Aresco had been soliciting wasn’t even going to rival the deal many of them turned down in May of 2011 with a football confederation, so they might as well go out and try to boost their value by handpicking the best schools that mirror their intentions, and strike a TV deal of their own in the ever-changing world of content distribution (think tablets and other ‘second screens’).
Welcome to the new Collegiate Basketball Conference (or CBC, our working name of the new league), or what was remarkably similar to the thinking of Dave Gavitt back in late 1978 when he gathered SU’s Jake Crouthamel (who came aboard in March ’78) and six other AD’s to form the league in ’79 and leverage its combined assets, which fortuitously coincided the same time as the launch of an unknown cable station in unknown Bristol, Conn. which needed to fill hours and hours of programming each week named ESPN.
The league became so strong so fast with Georgetown’s appearance in the ‘82 title game that when Joe Paterno came calling in his role as “athletic director” later that spring to rescue his ailing Penn State basketball program stuck in the middle of nowhere with an airport then too small to handle normal-size team charter flights, the basketball minds rebuffed him (but not Crouthamel, the longtime football coach was a football man first and foremost), after all, they weren’t competing with the Nittany Lions on the football field and basketball in State College at 7200 seat Rec Hall was practically an afterthought.
What goes around comes around, again. The basketball schools in the CBC again have no use for football, and it will be interesting to see moving forward if let’s say a 10 or 12 team league is cordial to playing home-and-home out-of-conference series with its former Big East brethren.
Will we see Orange-Hoyas in the Dome, D.C., the Garden or Barclays Center? Will there be a regular rotation to play in huge recruiting territories such as New York (St. John’s and Seton Hall) and Philly (Villanova)?
As for the Big East another question looms: Can its remaining football schools, with all but (original member) Connecticut, Cincinnati, South Florida and Temple to be brand new next season, offer a compelling enough product as a transcontinental mix and match of programs to command the TV programming dollars which accelerated the Big East’s demise to begin with?
We think you know the answer.Brad Bierman