Thursday, September 22, 2011

Looking for the real scapegoat for NCAA realignment? Look no further than the BCS

(Photo Credit:

Syracuse and Pittsburgh continued the exodus of college programs from the Big East and Big 12, in essence destroying the country's best basketball conference and possibly its second best as well.

Football will always be the breadwinner in college athletics, and obviously the moves made by schools like Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Texas A&M were strictly related to increasing the revenue received from their football program.

Big East football hasn't been the same since Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College all left for the ACC in 2005 and from that standpoint I can see why Syracuse and Pitt are leaving the conference.

But I can't help but think that if the Bowl Championship Series was never adopted back in 1998, we wouldn't be seeing radical changes to the NCAA conferences. The BCS rewards power conference teams and devalues the accomplishments of teams from mid-major conferences.

While the Big East is still technically a "power conference" in the eyes of the BCS, its deterioration as a football conference leads to lower strength of schedule rankings for its teams and therefore, a more difficult road to the top of the BCS.

The BCS led TCU to commit to joining the Big East last November for the 2012-13 season. Leaving the Mountain West for a "power conference" would certainly help TCU's chances at a national title bid, but what will happen now to the Horned Frogs and the rest of the Big East?

We're still waiting for all the dominoes to drop, the next big ones looking like Texas and Oklahoma. If the Longhorns and Sooners leave the Big 12, it would create the possibility of the remaining schools like Kansas joining the Big East. The conference would be garbage in terms of football, but would sustain viability in basketball.

If Texas and Oklahoma leave, maybe Boise St. would join the Pac-12 or another power conference, giving their football program more viability as a national-title contender. And even if those schools stay, Boise St. may be able to find a power-conference suitor if other teams leave.

In the end, this realignment will lead to fewer, larger "super conferences" and will likely include more total teams than the current alignment, giving more programs the opportunity to compete to make the title game.

If only college football had adopted a playoff system by now, Syracuse and Pitt would still be members of the Big East. TCU wouldn't have joined last year either, and I doubt any of this realignment would be happening right now.

It's a terrible development for somebody like me from the Northeast, who is admittedly less obsessed over college football than 90% of the country that resides west and south of Pennsylvania. I prefer college basketball, in part due to the always-competitive nature of the Big East, my local conference.

Now the BCS has essentially taken Big East basketball away from me. No longer will the mecca that is Madison Square Garden host the Big East tournament, one of the more exciting postseasons in sports. The ACC tournament may be there once every three of four years, but that's little consolation

Out of 16 teams in the Big East, 11 won 20 games and had .500 conference records. The depth of the conference made almost every game interesting and even when my beloved Orange weren't playing, I would go out of the way to watch random Big East games. The entertainment level was through the roof.

But now, the conference has lost two of its powerhouses. If the Big 12 dissolves and teams like Kansas and Kansas St. enter the Big East, it will still be a decent basketball conference even if it loses more schools with football programs, like Connecticut and West Virginia, to the ACC. But it will never, ever be the same, especially with the loss of rivalries departing schools had with the remaining ones.

Thanks to the BCS, college basketball has been ruined ever so slightly for myself and many others. And until college football adopts a playoff system, the national-title picture will continue to be one big joke, "super conferences" or not.

With college football being no better and college basketball being worse, this whole situation is a lose-lose for NCAA sports. Just not financially.

More and more programs will now have the opportunity to line their pockets with football-generated millions, while players continue to see none of the profits they so obviously create.

Paying college players is another topic for another day. But it's a topic that will only garner more attention than it recently has in the near future, and rightfully so.

Realignment proves that college sports is nothing more than a professional business focused on making money. And for these business to refuse to pay their student-athletes is absurd. Give up the amateur pretense, NCAA. This realignment is officially the last straw, and nobody is buying it anymore.


  1. As a fan of the English language I'm personally annoyed when a team from Texas joins the Big EAST, for example. At least the Atlantic Coast Conference is growing with teams from the Atlantic Coast area... and I know that's semantics, but I'd hate to be teaching geography to young sports fans in the next few years!

    And I think there's no argument that the ACC will again be the #1 basketball conference..

  2. Easily the top basketball conference...adding two top-25 teams along with perennial powerhouses like UNC and Duke makes that a lock.

    If you don't like TCU in the Big East, what do you think of the Cowboys residing in the NFC East?

  3. Sorry for the delayed reply but there's no way for me to know if you've commented back unless I come check..

    1st.. don't forgot perennial powerhouse Maryland! (that's said only semi-sarcastically as that's my squad!)

    Same principle with the Cowboys in the NFC East.. it just so happens though that I grew up with that one so it's engrained.. still seems silly though.
    And now we have conference named the Big 12 that don't have 12 teams... it's just sad.