March 6, 2013
I really miss the Big East. There I said it. I’m sure many others feel the same way.
I miss West Virginia playing in the Big East. The rivalries they had and the great history they made in the league.
I know why the decision was made to leave the Big East. It’s all about money, survival in the world of big-time college athletics, etc., etc.
Of course we saw the Big East imploding right in front of our eyes. Especially from a football standpoint. After all, we were not the first school who bailed out.
It was a ripple effect.
It actually started a few years ago when Virginia Tech, Boston College and Miami left for the ACC. Then Pitt and Syracuse bailed out a couple of years ago, even though they continued to play and did not leave as early as WVU.
Of course the early departure that WVU won in court cost them millions – but that’s another story.
But I really miss the Big East, especially this time of year. West Virginia had become a player in the best basketball conference in the country. Just two years ago they won the Big East tournament played at Madison Square Garden in New York. That same season they made it to the Final Four.
West Virginia officials saw the chance to join the Big 12 and jumped at it. They didn’t want to go down with the ship. I guess I can see their reasoning. It was a logical business decision.
But there are other factors involved. Take the travel. WVU’s basketball team will have traveled 31,000 miles this year. That much travel into a different time zone has taken its toll on the team. Late night flights and tight schedules have definitely affected the team. The closest school to WVU is Iowa State – which is about 900 miles away.
Geographically it doesn’t make much sense. However, many of the schools that have joined new conferences don’t seem to worry about where most of the other colleges are located.
WVU has had a tough time competing in the Big 12. The football season started out great, but then quickly went down the toilet – swirling, around and down.
This basketball season has been tough for Mountaineer fans. After all, the Big 12 is one of the toughest conferences in the country. Our team simply does not have the talent to compete this year. I am not sure we would have fared any better in the Big East, but the trips to the northeast would have been much better that those long flights to Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma.
As far as I’m concerned, the Big East was the best basketball conference in the country the last few years.
I’m happy to see the seven Catholic schools have decided to form their own basketball league. The Big East’s seven departing Catholic schools are expected to start their own league next season and will keep the Big East Conference.
Good for them.
The seven Catholic schools - DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Villanova will form the the new “Big East” this fall. Xavier and Butler will join later. Creighton has emerged as the favorite to become the 10th team, and would also join next season.
The remaining Big East football teams are in the middle of a massive makeover. Next year, Big East football will have holdovers Connecticut, Cincinnati, South Florida, Temple, Rutgers and Louisville, along with newcomers Central Florida, Memphis, Houston and SMU.
In 2014, Louisville and Rutgers are on the way out. The Cardinals are going to the ACC and the Scarlet Knights to the Big Ten. Then Tulane, a former Big East member, and East Carolina (who has wanted to join the league for years) will join. Navy is scheduled to join the Big East for football in 2015.
Could or should WVU have stayed for the revamped Big East? Probably not. Especially since the new Catholic Big East will primarily be a basketball conference with the non-football playing schools.
The schools left that play football are really not “big time” when it comes to the BCS.
Still, call me sentimental, but I can’t help miss the good old days.
As for WVU, I guess they will be playing in Kansas City instead of the Big Apple now. Hopefully the new recruits Coach Bob Huggins and Coach Dana Holgorsen bring in will be able to compete in the Big 12.
But they better be prepared to pick up some frequent flyer miles.
(Kyle Lovern is the sports editor for the Williamson Daily News. Comments or story ideas can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org)