Big East mailblog

Expansion remains the hot topic you all want to talk about, understandably so. But many of the questions have been answered and discussed on the chat and in the mailbag earlier this week. In an effort not to repeat the same comments over and over, please keep in mind what has already been discussed before sending in your questions. It will increase your chances of getting an answer.

What has come to my attention the most are questions where fans of Team X want to know why they are not viable candidates for expansion in other conferences. The truth is, most recent on-field performance has little to do with whether a team scores an invite to one of the other AQ conferences. If that was the case, then Pitt, Syracuse and Colorado would be terrible candidates.

Conferences want prospective members that “fit” in a bunch of key categories. That includes: television markets, expanding the footprint, and potential to earn the league more in the way of future revenue. Dollar signs are at the heart of these decisions. Academics do play a role, whether you want to believe that or not. Facilities play something of a role as well, though to a lesser extent. History and tradition are in the mix, too.

There is no magic formula out there. Conferences want to enhance what they have, and they also want prospective members that at least have something in common with teams already in place. What the Big 12 needs moving forward is radically different than what the Big East needs. The Big 12 already has its core members in place. The Big East has no one as strong as Texas or Oklahoma, and has no idea whether its core remaining members will stay.

Hope that makes a little sense. Now on to some questions:

Ryan in Geneva, Ohio, writes:Will the existing Big East members be able to put aside their egos and individual agendas and biases to put together the best football and all sports-league they can? It seems like the non-football schools only want football affiliates (service academies) because they want to keep the league small and protect their basketball interests. USF wants to keep UCF out even though the Knights are one of the stronger options available. No one want ECU despite the Pirates having the best attendance out of any of the options. And then there is Philly--Temple is stronger and has a real stadium but Villanova hates the Owls and will try to block them because they want to upgrade their own football program when theirs is light years from being Big East ready.

Andrea Adelson:You bring up an excellent question, one that I am sure the Big East office is wrestling with today. This conference is far from stable. This conference is far from united. UConn continues to lobby for the ACC. Louisville and TCU, maybe even West Virginia are reportedly on the radar for the Big 12. Basketball schools have their own agenda – and that has not changed in the wake of Pitt and Syracuse taking off. You think those schools want to stay in the league if given an opportunity to leave? Granted, the Big 12 is not any more stable, either, but at this point which league appears to be the better option? What these schools have to do is what is in the best interest for their long-term future. Nobody wants to be left out. The only way I see these members putting aside their individual agendas is if there is no alternative option. If they get rejected from other leagues in contention, then they have no choice but to try and make the Big East work.

Chris in Boston writes:Andrea, I am a SU fan, very disappointed with the break up with the Big East. Hopefully UConn and WVU or Rutgers can join us in the ACC. However after considering Jim Boeheim's comments about leaving a different conference than we joined and the fact that the leadership isn't up to the job, shouldn't (John) Marinatto be fired? He obviously isn't up to the task. The idea of Air Force and Navy as football only members are sending the rest of the football schools running.

Adelson:No, what has sent the other members running are opportunities for more stable situations. Nobody said Marinatto wasn’t up to the task when the league added TCU last year. I am not sure what the expansion plan was after that, but clearly Pitt and Syracuse got tired of waiting and left. Should Marinatto have done more? His is a difficult spot to be in, with the different factions in the league tugging at him. The Big East was never in a position of strength when it came to adding more teams. Maybe it was a mistake to turn down the contract with ESPN, but he has to ultimately do what membership wants. It is up to the league members, and not the media, to decide whether he should keep his job or not.

Calvin in Cincy writes:Why is the Big East just looking to replace Pitt and Syracuse? Why not be the first conference to go forward with this "Super-Conference" notion and merge with the Big 12 to go forward with a 16-team (football) conference (including TCU and excluding Texas A&M)? This way, the Big 12 and Big East no longer have to worry about being poached and just do what we knew was coming anyways. This will allow both conferences to become "divisions" (except for adding one Big 12 member to the BE "division" so they are even at eight apiece). Wouldn't this make sense for the longevity and stability of both conferences? As for basketball, take in the Big 12 as well. There is a lot of rich tradition and talented teams in the Big 12. It would be terrific to just get this done with before someone annihilates either conference.

Adelson: I have wondered the same, Calvin. It really does seem to be a perfect solution for the future viability of both conferences. The only problem with the plan is this: what is in it for Texas and Oklahoma? Do they really have the long-term survival of the Big 12 at heart, or will they look for the next available opportunity next year? The Big East needs the Big 12 way, way more. I really don’t think Texas or Oklahoma cares whether or not either league survives and pulls along Iowa State and Kansas State, for example.

Wes in Charlotte, N.C., writes: Andrea, You said in the most recent chat that Geno was on your Heisman radar. How far does your radar stretch? According to the Heisman watch (of which you are listed as an expert), Geno has not received any votes in the top 5. Top 10? Top 50? Top 100?

Adelson:I meant that he was on my Big East Heisman watch candidates. If he has a big game against LSU and West Virginia wins, people will get to talking about him. Wins over Marshall, Maryland and Norfolk State don’t really move the needle.