Well, this is just plain laughable. The Big East, looking to make waves and solidify a 12-team football membership for 2013-14 decided to add “national powerhouse” Memphis to the fold. After adding Navy, it appeared the conference would target a strong football power (in a western-ish state) to fill the league’s final spot. And yet, it’s Memphis, the same team that’s won just five games over the past three seasons. If you’re any of the western additions, how are you okay with this “kitchen sink” model? If you’re any of the remaining members from 2011’s iteration, what part of this makes you want to stay (on the football side, at least)? There are countless issues to dive into on this, but let’s lay out the big ones:
1. Louisville isn’t just window-shopping: This was a brief news item last week, and is worth noting again. The Cardinals are “aggressively pursuing” membership into the Big 12. And why not? Adding Memphis does nothing for their growing football brand, despite its immediate must-see rivalry with the Tigers on the court. If the Cards bolt (not unlikely), another Big East team could also follow.
2. West Virginia is probably leaving, effective in 2012: Regardless of what the league has to say about it. Which would knock the Big East down to just seven football schools for the coming season.It’s a disaster that would wreak havoc on the remaining teams’ schedules. Plus, there’s no solution, since Boise’s already said no to an early arrival. This leads us to…
3. Syracuse and Pittsburgh could still try to leave for the ACC early: And who could blame them? Scheduling six non-conference games would be near-impossible, and a competitive disadvantage for the teams. While both schools have focused more on a 2013 departure now, West Virginia bolting would just about force them to act earlier than that.
4. What about that Mount USA thing?: The Mountain West-Conference USA merger was thrown a staggering curveball in this process when the Big East went after the prominent members of BOTH leagues. Now struggling to really hold together either league, they’re thinking of an all-sports alliance. Just to reaffirm earlier points, this is stupid.
So what’s next for the Big East? A lot hangs on the Mountaineers next move, which could happen Wednesday. From there, we could still be a long way away from this whole process sorting itself out.