Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Big 12 dissolution is an opportunity for Big East to expand.

With the move to the SEC all but sealed up for Texas A&M, the third Big 12 team to leave the conference in the past year, the Big East has a unique opportunity. With only nine members both the Big East and the Big 12 will be unable to hold championship games, and while the Big 12 will try to offset the loss of A&M with the recruitment of an SEC team like Arkansas or the holy grail of collegiate football teams Notre Dame, the Big East has a chance to grab a high quality team with some football tradition by convincing many teams that have been so elusive in their recent expansion talks. The appeal of a team like Kansas or Missouri versus the teams that have been mentioned as possible Big East additions, Houston, Villanova, UCF, is so much greater because the Big East has already opened it's doors to the west and can add teams that have been in the BCS mix in the past few years. 12 is the ultimate goal of Big East expansion and the apparent disarray of the Big 12 offers an opportunity to offer some of the schools who would be left out in the cold if Oklahoma or Texas decide to go independent or join another conference a place to come and compete immediately. It's the same thing that was offered to TCU, the only difference being that the Big 12 has an automatic bid to the BCS which the Mountain West did not. Kansas and Missouri are the best fits to the Big East because they offer not only competitive football that would help with the public perception of the conference but also a basketball tradition that would further the prestige of the conference. While geographically the Big East makes as much sense as the Big 10 in name, it offers potential additions that are far and away better fits competitively and in terms of prestige. Even the other teams in the Big 12 that would be without a home should the Big 12 ultimately dissolve would be better additions then the proposed teams at this time, Baylor provides a competitive men's and women's basketball teams with a mid level football program, Iowa State has had some success in both the major sports, and Kansas State has had it's moments. I feel that with the recent success of both Oklahoma State and Texas Tech in football puts them in the same position as Oklahoma and Texas in that if in fact the Big 12 does become a conference of the past, there are other power conferences that would have a better shot at claiming their athletic programs. The Big East needs to be more proactive in this expansion because it has something the Big 12 does not, stability, and while this is a relatively new phenomenon for the conference it needs to take advantage to further establish itself as a lasting conference and as one that deserves the automatic BCS bid. It is unlikely to happen as the Big East knows the pain of being raided by another conference, but to outlast this crazy period of expansion and realignment in the conferences there still needs to be a sense of urgency to withstand possible moves by the SEC to get to an even number of teams of the ACC growing as well.

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