Harrison: The desperate state of the Big East

Posted Nov 14, 2011

Harrison Week 11 Thoughts: The Big East's desperation


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Week 11  Thoughts, Nov. 14 

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- Cirminiello: Please ... a plus one!
- Fiutak: What does each one-loss team need?
- Harrison: The desperate state of the Big East  
- Zemek: Boise State's one-and-dones
- Sallee: Alabama needs to do it with style
- Johnson: Houston, you're next
By Phil Harrison 

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFN

Desperation. Defined it is the undertaking out of extreme urgency or as a last resort (thefreedictionary.com). That sounds fitting for today's state of one of our favorite BCS conferences.

With the recent warning siren of conference re-alignment going off in the college football firehouse, there have been a whirlwind of moves, rumors, posturing, and hand ringing across this great nation of ours. It's like jockeying for position prior to the white flag being given for one last lap of of super-conference arms race. For some conferences like the SEC, it has been seen as a chance to get richer. For others, the level has reached DEFCON 1, with the panic button releasing the most desperate of defense mechanisms.

Welcome to the desperate state of the Big East. Once again, considered the weakest BCS conference in terms of revenue, talent, pedigree, and exposure (at least football-wise), it stands ripe for the picking. And so it has gone thus far.

Already, Pittsburgh and Syracuse have exited the smoke filled hallways towards the clear air of the ACC, while West Virginia has been air-lifted out to the suddenly safe harbor of the Big 12 - at least eventually The conference already has a ridiculous arrangement between its member schools and the various participation in certain sports, and it appears to be on the precipice of getting worse. Now what has been left behind is the damage after a category five college football typhoon.

The remaining football members--after the shuffling of the deck of a less than optimistic hand, are Cincinnati, Rutgers, Louisville, Connecticut, and South Florida--That's five teams that aren't exactly the upper crust of the FBS. The subsequent rebuilding of the wasteland is not going to be easy, or even possible.

But don't tell that to the suits of the Big East. So far, there are seemingly more invitations going out than a royal wedding, and any FBS school that has a football team appears to be on the invite list.

If you've been paying attention to all the reports and rumors, there are teams as far away as Boise State (Idaho), Air Force (Colorado), BYU (Utah), and even San Diego State (What?). How does a six hour plane ride sound for an away game? Next we'll be hearing about a free toaster for the first five schools to join. It's all a bit out of control, and a bit desperate, to say the least.

Of course, at the heart of all of the carrier pigeons being sent out is money. BCS money. There has been nothing in the works to take away the automatic qualifying BCS spot for the Big East champion, but if the members of the conference keep ejecting from the out of control jet and pulling the parachute, it's likely that will be re-visited in a quick and decisive manner--lest anyone forget that the BCS contract ends in 2014.

It all has left the Big East in the ropes, in the corner, and the only way to box its way out is to get members--and quickly. The new mantra of the Big East--Come one, come all, we don't care as long as can fill out football uniforms and save our members and its leaders a little cash and reputation.

But that's the problem. The recent actions of the Big East have done little to enhance its reputation. If anything, it makes the whole situation look like a comedy of epic proportions that rival throwing pasta against the wall to see if it sticks, rather than making calculated moves. It's looking for a lunch table of new friends to sit at, and the cool kids are gone. Left are the small clicks that are just happy not to get beat up on the playground. One has to wonder who's holding this compass, and if it's broken?

Good for the Big East if it can survive then. More power to you. But will it be enough? It's unlikely unless some kind of preposterous deal is inked. We have all learned to not take anything for granted with the BCS, but it appears as though the conference is dying--and dying fast. Desperate times, call for desperate measures, but it doesn't mean that the result can be measured.

The harsh reality in all of this is that the ship is going down, and those already in lifeboats would be well advised to think twice about coming back on the decks that are already beginning to swell.