Thursday, December 8, 2011

New Look Big East And The Train Wreck That Is The BCS

There has been extensive talk about expansion in the Big East, well it's final now, at least for now. Football now has ten members, basketball remains at 16. The Big East did a lot of what it had outlined in the early stages of expansion talks adding football only members while trying to keep the competitive nature of the best basketball conference in the country. Unfortunately the teams that were lost with Pitt, Syracuse and West Virginia versus the teams that are added in Houston, SMU, and UCF make me nervous as to how well the new teams will uphold the high expectations the conference had of the three lost members. I do find it strange that of all the teams to add as football only San Diego State seems like the least likely considering how successful their basketball program has been of late. Overall though I like what the conference is doing, I had hoped they would get the football up to twelve with military academies Navy and Air Force but it doesn't appear that all of the issues involved in the move were ever ironed out. I wanted a Big East championship game which pitted the east side of the conference against the new west coast.

It's impossible to argue that the conference isn't better off in football than it is at this moment, of the teams leaving only West Virginia and TCU are ranked (#s 23 and 18 respectively) while three of the five teams coming into the conference are ranked in Boise State, Houston, and SMU (#s 7, 19, and 21 respectively). Considering the conference intends to keep West Virginia through the 2013 season conference officials have effectively quadrupled the number of ranked teams in the conference in the hopes of keeping their automatic qualifying status in the BCS. San Diego State is the only addition that makes little sense to me, other than adding a geographically close member to play Boise State this team is not someone who will compete in the west division. If the conference had gotten Air Force the need for a mediocre addition wouldn't have been there.

There have been a lot of questions as to why the teams in the new west division would take this risk in joining the Big East when geographically it makes no sense and the travel expenses will grow astronomically for these schools versus where there were playing, which brings us to the only blurb I will write about the BCS and how horrendous and maddening this system truly is. There are five BCS bowls including the national championship which quick math means that ten teams make it the BCS. Based on conference affiliation six of these spots are given to the Big East, Big 10, ACC, SEC, Big 12, and the Pac 12. This year those spots went to West Virginia, Wisconsin, Clemson, LSU, Oklahoma State, and Oregon. That leaves four spots for at large bids to be given to what should be the highest ranked teams in the BCS and they do to start in Alabama and Stanford before something strange happens and Virginia Tech and Michigan end up with the last two spots. This is strange because in the BCS Standings Virginia Tech is ranked #11 and Michigan is ranked #13 which means that teams ranked 6-9 and 12 are completely skipped over in favor of two bigger name schools with fan bases that have the reputation of traveling well. Those teams are Arkansas, Boise State (this answers the question posed earlier as to why they'd join the Big East), Kansas State, South Carolina, and Baylor. With the automatic qualifying conference bid Boise State doesn't lose the chance to play in a major bowl by losing one game to a ranked opponent, and that goes for Houston and SMU as well. All the college football world needs is a small playoff structure and the fact that it still is something that hasn't happened.

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