What is dead may never die - where college conference alignments are concerned. When there is guaranteed television money every program has an eye out to see where they can improve...
The Big XII’s Board of Directors met and unanimously decided to “actively evaluate” the merits of programs that might want to join their conference.
Translation: the Big XII is looking for pitches that will convince them to expand from a 10-team operation to possibly 12 programs (which would be appropriate, given their name) or even 14. The idea is that with 12 or more teams, the league can hold a money-making championship game which should improve chances to earning a spot in the big-money college football playoff.
For more on a sometimes-confusing rationale, see Burnt Orange Nation’s analysis.
Certain names popped up immediately - unaffiliated western football power Brigham Young, the emerging Houston and scandal-ridden SMU, both of which have some football history; Cincinnati; and the University of Connecticut.
Here is where the Big East (strangely) comes in. Andy Katz tossed this nugget out like delicious Twitter/ ESPN chum to the hungry midsummer fish:
If UConn found a home for football, the Big East would seriously consider the Huskies for all other sports, according to a source with knowledge. The Big East would be a natural fit. So far the 10-team Big East only has all sports members, but doesn't offer Division I (FBS) football. UConn is in all sports in the AAC. If given the choice, the Huskies would want to be in the Big 12 in all sports. But the chances that offer ever comes is still too hard to predict now.
Our friends at Casual Hoya had an excitable take on the idea of adding UConn [which reminded me about Payton Manning’s comment about a certain kicker (video)]; they’re very positive about the idea. And if Katz is to be believed here, the Big East HAS at least considered the idea.
What say you?
First, this is fairly unrealistic. UConn’s football worth is... well, they’re not very good. The basketball teams bring value in men’s and women’s sports, so there’s no reason for the Big XII to not take advantage of that. If UConn is seriously considered - and other programs have much stronger arguments and are much closer geographically, which would reduce costs on team travel.
But let’ s say this is a real thing.
On one hand, UConn gets more of the gang back together, adding prominent men’s and women’s basketball teams along with soccer to the Big East. The Huskies are the only charter members of the original Big East that remain in the American Conference. UConn would draw eyeballs to Madison Square Garden, add championship shares from the NCAA Tournament, and are geographically close without diluting the league’s hoops product.
On the other hand, the clean 10-team round robin schedule would have to be tweaked to either drop a home-and-home or extend the conference season by two games to 20. The Huskies would require shares of the FS1 payout, reducing the annual revenue for each team (or the league would renegotiate the contract).
Also, does any St. John’s fan want to see UConn hoops rescued from their dalliance with big-time football? To give them another carrot with which to access to NYC players again?