A look back | Syracusefan.com

A look back


Bored Historian
Aug 26, 2011
In 1979 the Big East was formed as a basketball-only conference with Boston College, Providence, Connecticut, St. John's, Seton Hall, Syracuse and Georgetown. IN 1980, Villnaova joined up and Pittsburgh followed in 1982. The major college football playing schools were Boston College, Syracuse and Pittsburgh. Penn State wanted in but the basketball schools voted them out and they eventually wound up in the Big Ten.

As a result the conferecne formed the Big East football conferecne to keep the football playing members in, adding Rutgers, Temple, West Virginia, Virginia Tech and Miami in 1991. They jpoined with Boston College, Syracuse and Pittsburgh to created what was actually a pretty good football conference that was justifiably included in the BCS.Notre Dame was added for basketball in 1995 in hopes that they would evneutally join the football conference but they never did.

Then the ACC raided the Big East for Miami, Boston College and Syracuse but the Governor of Virignia made sure Virginia Tech had to be part of the deal. Boston College was not part of the deal for a time and pledged loyal to the Big East but were talking with the ACC the whole time and jumped the next year.

The Big East responded by acquiring Cincinnati, Louisville, and South Florida and elevating Connecticut to Divsion One football. They felt confident enough to boot out Temple for being uncompetitive and poorly supported. They also added Depaul and Marquette to the basketball conference. The Big East became a sort of entry-level BCS conference, full of big time football wannnabes which made it a wannabe conferecne. We had nho perrennial national title contender without Penn State or Miami. West Virignia was pretty good every eyar but ity was a sort of powerhouse by committee . You hope somebody: Louisville, Cincinnati, Rutgers, South Florida would have a big year and they or the Mountaineers would carry the conference flag. But it's hard for the wannabes to sustain success and they have no history to refer to so when we have a year like last year , the nation wonders why the Big East was still in the BCS when the Mountain West and WAC who seem as good or better was not. Also, if anybody got really good, they were prime candidates to be poached by another BCS conference as they continued to expand. The conference invited TCU to try to add some prestige they couldn't generate by themselves. The Horned Frogs joined just to get into the BCS.

Now Syracuse and Pittsburgh have jumped ship to the ACC with Connecticut and Rutgers likely to follow. There are strong rumors that West Virginia may be going to an expanded SEC. The football playing members of the 1980's Big East are all gone, (Boston College, Syracuse, Pittsburgh). Three of the five schools that were added to create the football conference in 1991 are gone, (Temple, Virginia Tech and Miami) and two more are likely gone, (Rutgers, West Virginia). With Connecticut likely gone also, that leaves Cincinnati, Louisville and South Florida plus Texas Christian, who will be trying like heck to get out of the deal. None of those teams are even in the East and they all will likely be looking for a different conference to be in. The Big East might try to merge with the remnant sof the Big 12 but where do you think the Big Ten will look when they expand to 16, (as they likely will?) They will want Kansas and Missouri and probably take Iowa State and Kansa State as well. Lousiville and South Florida will probably talk to the SEC. Cincinnati might wind up in the MAC.

I think the Big East will do what the basketball onlies probably wanted all along: being in a basketball only conference. They will either raid the Atlantic Ten or join it. Meanwhile we will be in an ACC north with five former Big East schools (Boston College, Connecticut, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech), a school that we used to play regularly, (Maryland) and a school we've played before, (Virginia that is also a big-time lacrosse rival).

We are in the right place.

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