Welcome to your midweek edition of the Big East mailblog. Keep sending in those questions! It is always football season around here.
Tim Williams in West Plains, Mo., writes: Do you think that Louisville's chances of staying in the Big East are better now that Temple and Memphis are being added? The reason I ask is that Rick Pitino was really pushing hard for those two schools to be added. Just seems to me that the Big East is bending backwards to keep Louisville in the fold. And that those additions were like "kill two birds with one stone." Meaning they took care of the suitable basketball replacements and football scheduling needs. Your thoughts?
Andrea Adelson: Tim, that is a great question. Most of us tend to believe if Louisville was presented with a chance to join the Big 12, the Cardinals would most certainly jump. Do Temple and Memphis change that, given the lobbying Pitino did? My inclination is to say no. First of all, football interests are always, always, always going to come first. So is the idea of playing in a better conference. Pitino may have been the most vocal about adding Temple and Memphis, but he most certainly was not alone. Bringing in solid hoops programs had to be done to placate the basketball interests in the league. And Pitino says he plans to stop coaching when his current contract ends in 2016-17. Making a decision about league affiliation involves long-term planning, and I am confident the school will do whatever is in its best interests for the future.
Jesse in Wolcott, Conn., writes: Why is it hard for Big East members to get a good out of conference game? Every other conference likes to point out how poorly the BE performs out of conference and that they're not deserving of a AQ spot. Using that as an argument, wouldn't these teams want to play a BE team even if it was on the road because it'll be perceived as an easy win? And if they are truly better than any BE team, wouldn't a win over a BCS team look a heck of a lot better than a win over an FCS team on the SOS?
Adelson: As I showed earlier this week in my look at nonconference schedules around the country, the majority of these games are against non-AQ or FCS opponents. The reason -- home games. Everybody wants home games, and it is rare to find a team from another AQ conference to want to go on the road to play a difficult game. It obviously happens, but that is not the norm in college football anymore. It's all about protecting the home gates, padding the wins-losses record and preparing for conference play to get yourself in the best position to try and play for a national championship. Ultimately, strength of schedule matters little to a team from the SEC, for example. Conference play will always boost that, no matter who is on the nonconference slate.
Ryan in Geneva, Ohio, writes: AA, looking back it seems that the one thing that stymied the Big East's stability has always been greed. Way back, when Penn State wanted to form an eastern all-sports conference that sponsored football the plan was derailed because JoePa wanted basketball revenue shared but not football. This failed attempt left some resentment and I think ultimately cost them a Big East invite in 1982. When the Big East finally did start football WVU, Rutgers, Virginia Tech, and Temple were treated as second-class citizens and initially denied full membership because the establishment did not want to share their lucrative basketball money more ways. Instability and the chance to earn more money elsewhere has driven six of those original Big East football schools away. My question to you is -- what you would have done differently if you were the commissioner in the early years of the Big East?
Adelson: It seems apparent to me that there should have been a split. Based on what we know, and comments that have been made, I don't know that any commissioner would have gotten the basketball schools into agreement on just how big college football had grown. It's almost as if they refused to believe -- and maybe still refuse to believe -- that football interests had superseded basketball interests. The continued schism between the two groups just shows that they may be better off on their own. I mean, what exactly do Providence and Georgetown have in common with Houston and USF, just as one example? The whole money argument once again shows a lack of forward thinking, because now it is football that brings in the cash.
Michael in Louisville writes: Andrea, How is your comparison of number of nonconference games each league has against other AQ teams relevant at all since you do not take into account so many of these leagues do not have the same number of teams in them? So the Big East has 14 games against AQ teams spread out over only seven teams, while the SEC has 14 games against AQ teams spread out over 14 teams in that league.Where is the logic in this comparison? What does it mean? Am I missing something here?
Adelson: The logic is a simple one. Perhaps I should have done the math for everybody to see it the way I do. Divide the total number of nonconference games vs. AQ teams by the number of teams in the league to get the average in each league. You can clearly see that the Big East averages more games against AQ opponents (two) than teams from the SEC (one). And that even worse than the SEC are the Pac-12, Big 12 and Big Ten, which average fewer the one nonconference game against AQ teams. I thought it was quite a fascinating look at how all the other leagues schedule -- who schedules games against the better leagues, and who schedules games against weaker teams. I also noted that the Big East does play one more nonconference game than the SEC, Big Ten and ACC, plus two more than the Pac-12 and Big 12. Perhaps I should have looked at the percentage of nonconference games vs. AQ teams by league. In that case, 40 percent of the Big East's nonconference slate is against AQ competition. For the other leagues:
ACC: 40 percent
Pac-12: 25 percent
SEC: 25 percent
Big Ten: 23 percent
Big 12: 20 percent