Leave it to Jim Calhoun to say something to stir the media up a little by going against the general voice of the university as well as the state. Today during the annual Husky run which allows students a chance to jog alongside their favorite players as a warm up to the first day of the season, this Friday from 7-8pm on the UConn campus if you're around, Calhoun was quoted as saying he'd prefer to stay in the Big East. He noted that even with Syracuse and Pitt gone the Big East still has nine schools remaining for basketball that made the NCAA tournament last year, a number that would have broken the previous record of eight already set by the Big East, and that he believes the conference is still superior to the ACC.
I love this guy, after both the governor and the university president come out saying that if invited they would join the ACC Calhoun just says the Big East is better and where he'd prefer to stay. I wish more coaches had the stones to say this, only Calhoun, Boeheim, and Krzyzewski have expressed open opinions about their conferences and realignment in general. It makes me so happy that once again Jim has expressed a lot of the same sentiment that UConn and Big East fans have felt since all of this business with Syracuse and Pitt. The Huskies have experienced immense success while in the Big East and some feel a degree of loyalty to a conference that gave the football team a chance to grow and evolve to the BCS team we saw a year ago.
Being a superior basketball conference to the ACC is a point of contention, but even without Syracuse and Pitt there is no doubt that the Big East is at the worst the second best in the nation if not the best. The only thing keeping UConn from a commitment long term to the Big East is a lack of stability on the football side of things, and now that there is some concern that the service academies won't all be joining it continues to trouble university officials that the ACC is a better home for the Huskies.
I'm not a big fan of Calhoun as a coach at times and there have been numerous stories about him being hard as a person, but this instance I prefer the honesty behind his feelings regarding abandoning the conference where he won his national titles. I think he's absolutely right and although I think the football aspect of the Big East may be doomed to lose it's automatic BCS status without Boise State joining, I think Calhoun as well as UConn fans are behind the Big East until it's proven that the ACC is a better option.