Conference Realignment Chatter


Double, double toil and trouble


The BCS is in turmoil. Football schools are shifting about like leaves in a tornado.

The Big 12 in disintegration mode. Leaving today…yes, er, well maybe not. Leaving tomorrow…definitely, er, well we hope to. Yesterday Colorado (PAC12) & Nebraska (Big10), today Texas A&M (SEC), tomorrow perhaps Oklahoma & Company (PAC12). The conference is being held together by gum, spit, and duct tape, while the PAC 12 has currently stated it will stand pat with twelve teams (for now). Oklahoma desperately wants to move west to the Pac 12. Missouri is quietly seeking access to the SEC, while the Mountain West has begun courting Iowa State. Oklahoma demanded the removal of the conference commissioner – and surprisingly…he is being dismissed! Texas, the school which started the entire brouhaha, is eerily quiet. It appears the Big 12 will hang on for at least another year in its’ current 9-team configuration.

Folks all thought the Big 12 was toast, but with the surprise moves by Pittsburgh & Syracuse, it is the vaunted Big East that is in really deep troubles. The two schools quietly & abruptly broke with the conference and bolted to the Atlantic Coast Conference! The ACC had been quietly watching all of chaos from the sidelines and had evidently been in negotiations with the 2 BE schools all along. This news shook the collegiate sports world like a thunderbolt. Suddenly, the seemingly secure BE was teetering on the proverbial ropes, from this sucker punch. To add insult to injury, now UCONN and Rutgers are also clamoring to leave for the seeming greener pastures of the ACC as well. Rick Pitino and his University of Louisville team are rumored to also be seeking an exit from the BE. Lastly, the remaining football contingent of the BE is threatening to eject the non-football schools into BCS limbo. Oh, how the mighty have fallen!

Articles abound on the major (and minor) media websites, on radio and television, and in print in reference to these developments, even the Omaha World Herald has gotten into the act, querying Creighton AD Bruce Rasmussen regarding his take on the realignment landscape. Every potential tangential aspect of the demise of these major conferences has been covered, even to the tertiary effects on potential replacement universities and the possible trickle down to the so-called Mid-majors.

I will not repeat or link to these sources, as the sports public has been inundated by the flood of newsfeeds regarding these events. However, both our local Jays sites, www.thebluejaycafe.com (www.creighton.rivals.com ) and www.whiteandbluereview.com have ample feedback from the Creighton community regarding all these developments. It seems that some Jays loyalists are taking a wait and see position, some are cautious, and some are excited about what is perceived, as a potential long overdue conference upgrade, for Creighton.

In all likelihood there will not be any trickledown to the MVC level. However, in the unlikely event that a conference group reach out to the MVC and/or Creighton, here is my take. There is not much point in CU moving…UNLESS:

1) The former Big East Basketball schools get to keep the BE name, the 6-11 NCAA Tourney billets, and gain a new (lucrative) TV contract – which would guarantee their current ($2.1 Mill or so) TV income, or better. Setup East and West Divisions to cut overall program costs. CU has several traditional rivals within the basketball segment of the BE.

2) The former BE BB schools lose the Big East moniker, but somehow manage to save the 6 NCAA Tourney billets. This group forms the nucleus of an “All American” or “Metro 12” conference and gain a moderately lucrative TV contract, providing $1-2 Mill TV income. Setup East n West Divisions to cut overall program costs. (All American Conference or Metro 12 Conference)

3) Other universities move to join the Big 12 or the Big East, opening billets in the MWC, C-USA, or the A-10. Depending on the conference particulars it might be worth moving, especially to the MWC. If CU can double its’ conference income share (TV, Tourney, etc) or better, it can be a good fit in the MWC, even without football.

Other than the above scenarios… a realignment move wouldn’t be worth the increased program costs to Creighton, in my honest opinion.

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