ASK CFN (2/15) ... Can The Big East Expand?
Memphis DE Greg Terrell
Memphis DE Greg Terrell
Posted Feb 15, 2008

How should the Big East expand? Has college football lost its soul compared to 50 years ago? What was the best game of 2007? What player has a chance to win three national titles? These questions and more in the latest Ask CFN.

By Pete Fiutak
Fire over your questions to me at I might not be able to answer them all, but I promise they're all read. Any e-mails sent to this address may be published or edited unless requested otherwise. (Please put ASK CFN in the subject line, and PLEASE keep the questions short ... it makes my life easier.)

Past ASK CFNs ...
- Is Charlie Weis on a hot seat?
- The Reggie Bush situation

- Is Bob Stoops the new Lloyd Carr?
- Why LSU winning matters
- Bowl winners & losers
- Can a two-loss team play for the title?
- The five worst recent champions 
- The Flakiest Teams
- A little BCS history
- Should USC be in the title hunt?
- The best RB you don't know
- What's wrong with Texas A&M? 
- How bad is the Big Ten?
- Will Miles run to Michigan?
- Supersized Season Premier of ASK CFN
 The most loved & hated teams
- Is Miami still a power?
- CFN's West Virginia ranking
- Is Booty Heisman-worthy?
- The USC Schedule
- The Big Ten Network
- The most underrated head coach
- The Top Ten NFL receiver prospects 

- Why did Brady Quinn slide?
- The Virginia Tech situation

- Creating a MWest-WAC super-league
Mid-majors who should be in the bigs
The potential new superpower
The 5 best coaching jobs
March Madness for football?
Potential Bowl Shockers
Tim Brewster?
Fox's BCS broadcasts
- Is Brady really better than Russell?
Hot & Cold Bowl Programs
- How ineffective was Reggie Ball?
- A 2007 Top 10 Mock Draft
Can Michigan win a national title?
- BCS possibilities for several teams
- West Virginia schedule, BCS rules
- Toughest coaching jobs
- Hidden Heisman 5

- Is Temple worst ever?
- Oklahoma-Oregon fiasco
- Has Bob Stoops lost it?
- Is Colorado done?

When the Big East expanded why weren't they interested in Memphis? It seems like if they took Cincy and Louisville that Memphis would have to go there too. – Kvn

Should the Big East expand? Are there any programs left to go after? - CL

A: Memphis might be in soon to figure out a way to get the basketball program in the league mix. There’s no question that the Big East would like to expand a bit to get bigger and more prominent, but it will only happen if it can figure out a way to get up to 12 teams to be able to pull in the revenue from a championship game. The problem would be finding the four teams to make it happen, and making geographic sense. Obviously Notre Dame would be the big prize, and it would be easy considering the basketball tie-in, but the Big Ten would likely take the Irish first, if it’s possible. I have no inside knowledge and am merely speculating here, but my guess for the four teams would be all from Conference USA: East Carolina, UCF, Memphis, and then either Southern Miss or Marshall.

From: Department of Getting Waaay Ahead Yourself

Subject: Kirston Pittman, LSU, DE

Situation: He's already played on two BCS title teams (2004,2008).  He's just been granted a sixth year of eligibility due to extended injuries by the NaziAA.

Question: If, If, If LSU were to win another BCS title in '09, has there been another player to play on 3 National Title teams?
– CobraJet

A: Johnny Lujack was the starting quarterback for three national champion Notre Dame teams, but they were spread out. After winning the 1943 national title, he went off to the Navy during World War II. He came back to lead the way to championships in 1946 and 1947. I’m sure there more than I was able to find, and the key is to start with teams that won three national titles over four or five years. Look at the 1994 Nebraska roster and find the freshmen and you’ll have players on three title teams, most notably Grant Wistrom and Joel Makovicka. Army won three national championships from 1944 to 1946 thanks to Glenn Davis and Doc Blanchard.

Stoops is a good regular season coach, but why can't he ever win a bowl game? Is he over paid? – JS

A: I continue to get angry e-mails about Bob Stoops meaning the message isn’t getting through. It’s not like I’m friends with the guy or anything, and he hardly needs me to stand up for him, but he’s become the example of what unrealistic expectations can bring.

Over the past eight years, no one, and this includes LSU and USC, has the résumé Oklahoma has. 2000 season: national championship. 2001, 11-2 with a Cotton Bowl win. 2002, a Big 12 title with a Rose Bowl win over Washington State. 2003, a loss to LSU in the national championship. 2004, a Big 12 title with a loss to USC in the national championship. 2005, Holiday Bowl win over a 10-1 Oregon team that thought it should be in the BCS. 2006, Big 12 title with a Fiesta Bowl loss to Boise State. 2007, Big 12 title with a Fiesta Bowl loss to West Virginia. 91-17, five Big 12 championships, one national title, and appearances in two other championship games. I think the program lost its badass mojo once Mike Stoops left for Arizona, but remember, USC hasn’t won a national title since Norm Chow took off and no one’s calling for Pete Carroll’s head.

I’m already missing football season and looking back, was there a better game all year than LSU-Florida? What was your top game of the season? – shelt

A: How about most of the SEC season overall? This was the most fun, wild season I can ever remember, and picking a top game is tough. I have to go with the Kentucky 43-37, three overtime win over LSU, with the LSU 30-24 win over Auburn a close second. Again, though, this was hard. Take your pick of about 25 great games this year and you probably have the best one.

As a Michigan State Alum, I hate Michigan. Is this the year when the skunk bears finally have a losing season for the first time since 1967? Also, will this be the first year since 1990 I can go to A2 and watch the Spartans win in the quiet house? Sparty On! - Billy McSTATE 

A: Maybe on getting the win, considering the Spartans have been this close for so many years, and now there are major question marks on offense, no on the losing season. There aren’t any sure things after Appalachian State, but assume wins over Miami University, Toledo, at Minnesota and Northwestern. That’s four right there. Even if the Wolverines stink, figure they’ll win at least two at home against Utah, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan State (sorry), and assume they’ll win at least once at Notre Dame, Penn State and Purdue. Again, that’s assuming things go in the tank, relatively speaking. No, I’m not assuming a win in Columbus.

In the 2/1 Ask CFN you mention that you are "against athletic scholarships altogether." Why? – BW

A: It takes away from a school being an academic institution. I’m for players being allowed to have agents, do endorsements, get $100 handshakes from boosters, be able to leave whenever they want to for the pros, and be able to make money however they can away from the field, but if this is truly about being COLLEGE football, and college athletics in general, then these should, at least in my pie-in-the-sky theory, be students representing the universities. I know these players make tens of millions of dollars for the schools, but that’s why they should be able to benefit in other ways. As Apollo Creed would say, scholarships should be for the thinkers, not the stinkers.

How has the transformation from an amateur sport into a multi-million-dollar business changed college football: individual college's program objectives, the coaching objectives, player character, fan expectations and the overall character of the game? Perhaps more succinctly: what was the game's purpose 50 years ago, and what is its purpose now? Is it a student sport in name only, i.e. has it become a wolfish professional sport dressed in sheepish student attire? Are we just kidding ourselves thinking we're watching college students play an amateur sport? Should we admit that, like professional football, college ball has become a commercial enterprise wherein Polly-Anna notions of scholarship, sportsmanship, morality and character building come in second to profits? If I want my son to be a good man first and a rich man second, do I even want him playing college football? – AH

A: There are several things at play in your questioning. First of all, there’s a common misconception about the good old days of college football. Yes, it might seem like the sport has lost its soul with all the money flowing through it, treating high school prospects like professionals, the BCS, and all the other relatively new aspects of the sport, but when it comes to cheating, such as paying off players, booster involvement, unscrupulous coaches, and things that today would be considered death penalty worthy violations, things used to be much, much worse.

Second, and this is the part that most don’t know, as big as college football is now, relatively speaking, it was even bigger back in the first half of the 20th century. Remember, the NFL wasn’t any big deal until around the mid-60s, so for a long, long time, baseball was truly the national pastime, and college football was second.

To answer your main question about the purpose compared to 50 years ago, it’s still roughly the same, except the biggest of the big stars used their college football fame to go out and do things in the real world, if they didn’t play pro ball, while the top players now are obviously dreaming about the NFL. Big-time college football has always served the purpose of bringing attention to the schools and being a campus rallying point.

90% of the players who don’t have next-level talent get it. They might not be on their way to med school, but most understand that their future is outside of pro ball, and as a plus, there isn’t the academic cheating there was back in the day. Also remember that there’s one huge, monster improvement in today’s game: integration, which didn’t happen until around 1970, with a few schools holding on even later than that. So to stop my long-winded answer, just because the sport has changed in several major ways, that doesn’t mean it’s gotten worse.

I am begging you to make a weekly column of hate mail that you receive.   I crack up when I read any that you post and I'm sure there's some pretty funny stuff that you don't.  Also, will Bama win a national title in the next 3 years? – SH

A: Auburn rules, Julio Jones is overrated, Bear Bryant was a total cheat, and Nick Saban has a hair out of place. I’ll post those e-mails you want next week.
"Sleeping Giant" might be a poor choice of words, but is the Big Ten on the verge of a serious turnaround?  OSU will likely continue to be perennial top-10 team.  If Rich Rodriguez could build team that did that to Oklahoma, it's scary to think what he is capable of at Michigan.  Michigan State is on the upswing with Dantonio, as is Illinois with Zook.  Wisconsin does not appear to have experienced a drop-off from Alvarez to Bielema.  Perhaps most significantly, Penn State could blow up after JoePa leaves if they hire the right guy to exploit one of the biggest recruiting hotbeds in the country. – Scott

A: I know it doesn’t seem like it, but the giant is more awake than you think. SEC is the big king of the hill, but over the last several years you could make a case for the Big Ten being No. 2. Who’s been better? Don’t get hung up on USC, the elite of the elite program going, beating up on the Big Ten in some recent Rose Bowls, and it’s unfair to pound on the league because Ohio State lost the last two national titles. The league is just fine compared to everyone but the SEC. But yes, it could be even better and does appear to be on the verge of doing a lot more across the board.