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Sports Commentary 11/14/12

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Is the Big East still in play in the College Football World ??

You don’t have to examine the situation with a microscope to see that the status of the Big East in college football has diminished greatly. On the flip side, the Big East can breathe a sigh of relief that it didn’t lose it’s position among the leagues vying for a position in the new bowl format that will determine a national championship. That’s the upside. The downside is that the Big East has gone into a pool with four other leagues, the “group of five” as it’s been labeled, from which one team will be chosen to fill a berth in one of the top six bowls. The upside is that the other leagues in “the group” are the Mountain West, Conference USA, the Sun Belt and the Mid American. While the Big East won’t have the direct route to the BCS bowls that it’s enjoyed since the inception of the BCS, it will be the favorite among the five leagues to provide a bowl representative, especially now that the Mountain West is sacrificing it’s top football schools, Boise State and San Diego State, to the Big East while Conference USA loses SMU, Houston and Memphis to the Big East, which becomes a two division, twelve team league next year with an eight game in league schedule for each team, which also qualifies it to play a league championship game. The downside is that none of those new members currently has top twenty five status in the BCS computer rankings. The upside is they all have had better seasons and all bring football traditions to a league who’s own major downside has been it’s unwillingness to put it’s football profile ahead of it’s basketball profile while the nation’s top football recruits would prefer to play in league’s more recognized as football leagues than basketball leagues. The downside is the Big East is still fragile, it is still the most likely target if the more established BCS leagues look to further expand, and there are at least a couple out there that have dangled the possibility, whether or not it’s in the immediate future. At least two schools from the Big East have already engaged in talks with stand alone BCS leagues and a third, Louisville, currently the only Big East team in the top twenty in the BCS rankings, is certain to be an attractive commodity to a BCS league with expansion in mind. There’s even a danger that some of the newcomers may never play a game in the Big East if one or two western conferences becomes interested in adding programs. The upside is that at least one established football institution, Navy, is already standing by to become a Big East school in two years, which would give the league a quick fix if it’s needed. The downside is that the status of the Big East in college football has diminshed greatly. The upside is that for every downside there is an upside and while it’s still on life support, the Big East isn’t dead yet. With a comment from the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.

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