I'm covering hoops today, but there's always time for a quick Friday mailbag:
Doug from Morgantown, W. Va., writes: With all this talk about new TV contracts and how much money each school makes, etc., I was wondering if you could fill us in a little more on how the TV contract gets divided. Mainly, how does it work with the basketball-only schools that don't field a football team? What about Notre Dame, they obviously must get somthing from basketball, but it doesn't seem fair that they would get an equal cut of the TV contract since their football squad gets its own TV contract.
Brian Bennett: I'll point you to this excellent piece last year in the Providence Journal (and forwarded to me by Jon from the On the Banks blog) about revenue sharing. I quote: "The Big East generates somewhere between $4-6 million for its eight football schools. The eight schools that don’t play football in the conference, like Providence College, don’t share a dime of football money. They pocket somewhere around $1.7 million a year from the conference. (Notre Dame earns another $9 million a season strictly from its exclusive TV deal with NBC)." Hope that helps.
Mike from Trinity writes: OK, Brian, time to put on your turban and predict the future. Which is more likely to happen: An FBS playoff or a Big East split between football and basketball schools?
Brian Bennett: I don't think I would look good in a turban. Anyway, I don't see a split coming in the near future, not when the league is getting 11 basketball teams in the NCAA tournament. But I think we are years and maybe decades away from ever seeing a true playoff. So I'd vote for the split happening before then.
Brett from New Albany, Ind., writes: I've been watching the top 30 for the Big East and noticed, not many Louisville players in there...which is completely understandable. My question is how many players were on the list last year and where did Bilal Powell rank?
Brian Bennett: No Louisville players made the list last year (Johnny Patrick just missed the cut). Powell didn't have the credentials to make it -- he had just 392 rushing yards and averaged under four yards per carry as a junior. I should have listened to Charlie Strong in the preseason.
Howard from Flushing, N.Y., writes: The Big East is usually rated the lowest BCS league. The only way they are going to get better respect is play better teams, and I mean SEC and Big 10 teams, which they rarely do. There is really no incentive for Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State, Auburn (They have played a few Big East teams) etc to play Big East teams and certainly not to give them a home game except for ON. -- Meadowlands Stadium. There is no other place where you can play a game in the shadow of the biggest city in the US , in the media capital of the US. Why is the Big East not utilizing this stadium more? It might be possible to get Alabama, OSU, Michigan etc to play Big East teams at the Meadowlands.
Brian Bennett: Well, Howard, Syracuse is indeed using the Meadowlands and will have a game there every other year in the future, including Penn State. I doubt it makes much sense for Louisville, USF, West Virginia and Cincinnati to play in the New York City area. As for SEC teams, they recruit primarily in the South, and they're not exactly lacking media attention or fan support. They can stay in the South, mostly, and still play for the BCS title if they win the league (and Auburn and LSU, among others, have recently been on the Big East schedule, with Tennessee on Cincinnati's this year). I don't think simply scheduling big-name teams will earn the Big East respect. As we saw last year, the league needs to win those games, and then perform well in its BCS game.