Hope everybody has a great weekend. There is one clarification I need to make at the top of the chat.
In early reporting on John Marinatto's resignation, Andy Katz reported the Big East presidents turned down an initial television offer, 12-4. Katz has since clarified the particulars of that rejection in his most recent blog post:
One veteran of the Big East said that the Big East initially approved the ESPN $1.4 billion deal by a 12-4 vote. But while the Big East was going over the final details, ESPN struck a deal with the Pac-12 (a combined $250 million with ESPN and Fox), so the Big East had second thoughts and conducted a new vote. That vote was 16-0 against the deal. ESPN and the Big East have had limited discussions since the Pac-12 deal was announced.
Now let's get to some questions.
Bob in Connecticut writes: Which Big East team has the best chance to open the season 5-0?
Andrea Adelson: I am going to say Louisville. The Cardinals should be favored in each of their first five games -- Kentucky, Missouri State, North Carolina, at FIU, at Southern Miss. Do I think it is actually going to happen? I think the chances are good, but I'm not ready to say it is an absolute.
Michael in Louisville writes: Hey Andrea, Some more info for you on Louisville's spring game. Last year (as you reported at the time) Louisville's attendance was really hurt with poor weather. It was COLD and RAINY. Also it was on a Friday night. People were also very unsure about how the team was going to do with all the youngsters on it. This year people are fired up about this team's potential. Charlie Strong has been working to "change the culture" here at U of L and called for 20,000 to be at the game. I think the attendance numbers were helped dramatically by the fact that the game was moved to Saturday afternoon. It was warm, but it was raining during the game again this year and we still got 15,000! Many people feel that if we had gotten a sunny day we could have made the 20K Charlie was calling for. Still, 15K in the rain at a "basketball school" is a big move in the right direction!
Adelson: Definitely, Michael, and thank you for the context with the attendance numbers. Louisville fans should be excited with what Strong is doing there.
Dave in Charlotte writes: The Pitt-Syracuse exit will happen (with no penalty) when the Big East is confident that Boise and others are staying. And Boise will make that decision after the TV negotiations are settled. Bottom line, nothing will happen until at least this fall. Agree? Disagree?
Adelson: Disagree, Dave. Boise State has to inform the Mountain West of its intentions to withdraw from the conference by June 30. Something has to happen by then.
Josh in Cincinnati writes: Andrea, Great job with the blog. I wasn't a huge fan after the switch from Brian, but you have won me over with your unbiased reporting. Do you really believe that Cincinnati will be 8-4 this year? I see them more in the 10-2/11-1 record range. I feel that they really only have one nonconference challenge in Virginia Tech and I feel their only real challenge in the Big East this year will be Louisville. Cincinnati will be looking to avenge the Rutgers loss from last year and if they can stay undefeated through VT, they will be rolling going into the bulk of the conference schedule. What are your thoughts? Am I just dreaming or will Cincinnati surprise a lot of teams this year? Butch Jones really has started something special in Cincinnati and I see it continuing.
Adelson: Thanks, Josh. It's hard to argue with what Jones has done in Cincinnati. I think he has the program set to do some pretty great things. But I'm just not sure I see 11-1 or 10-2 with some of the major question marks headed into the season. I also think Rutgers, USF and potentially Pitt (season opener) will provide some pretty tough challenges this season. I see more along the lines of an eight to nine win season.
Dan in Mexico writes: Do conferences even care about winning when choosing new teams? I mean the ACC has been worse than the Big East every year, yet they decide to add Pitt and Syracuse, two of the worse Big East teams? Meanwhile Cincy is sitting there as one of the most successful programs of the last 5 years and everyone talks about 7-5 Louisville like they've accomplished something.
Adelson: It's all about what you can bring to the overall big-picture table, Dan. Winning is not even at the top of the list, unless you are Boise State. And even then, of the six automatic qualifying conferences, only the Big East wants the Broncos. There are plenty of factors at play, including TV market, overall sports program, facilities, academics and plain ol' lobbying.
Terry in the 'Burgh writes: Hi AA,Very interesting article about John Marinatto's resignation (and the unenviable job of herding cats that his job entailed). In it, you mentioned that no other FBS conference must deal with the extra hassles of hoops-only schools. Point of order: unless I'm wrong, the Sun Belt Conference still has some hoops only schools: University of Denver, to name one. I'm gonna miss you when Pitt moves to the ACC!
Adelson: Thanks for keeping me on my toes, Terry. You are absolutely right, the Sun Belt does have several non-football members. I should have said "major FBS conference" or "automatic qualifying conference." One other point in that story that needs to be clarified.
SilverSpring Hoya in Silver Spring, Md., writes: Andrea with Marinatto resigning, there has been some discussion here in the DC area that the Big East could have saved itself in 2003 if it added East Carolina and Memphis over Marquette and DePaul or could have saved itself if it added all four. Most recently, there are rumors that the Big East could have been saved if UCF was added as a 10th football member. Knowing all this and the current tension, I am thinking a split will occur before 2013 and there may be some radical changes made. I know a lot of Georgetown fans who are not excited about the likes of SMU and Houston joining and would prefer more regional foes be it a Dayton, Richmond, Xavier or ECU, ODU, and etc. What are your thoughts on this?
Adelson: I still don't see a split happening, unless relations deteriorate and the TV contract cannot be worked out to everybody's advantage. I know that getting SMU and Houston on the schedule instead of Pitt, Syracuse and West Virginia is less than ideal. But it's still the Big East conference, and I truly believe the money and stage are better if everybody stays put.