The top play on SportsCenter came from Houston Rockets guard and Seattle native Terrence Williams. He received a pass on a fast break from Marcus Morris and threw down an emphatic windmill dunk with Spurs forward Danny Green trying to contest. Williams had three field goals, all of which were highlight reel throw downs. Rockets fall to the Spurs 97-95 to end the preseason 1-1. They will open the season on December 26, 2011 at Orlando.
The Big East, after facing a very strenuous past few months, will add Boise State, San Diego State, SMU, Central Florida and Houston in hopes of keeping its Automatic Qualifying status with the BCS.
First things first: a name change is in order.
That aside, what does this mean for west coast football? It means a lot more travel for fans but a better opportunity for BSU and SDSU to get national coverage and play in more prestigious bowl games. It also means that the Big Least is getting a little west coast flare, with the Broncos most likely becoming the favorite to win in 2013 when this all takes place. But the biggest thing, it means that a team like Boise State can avoid getting snubbed by the BCS once and for all – maybe.
What does this mean for east coast football? It means big time recruiting trips for the current members of the Big East. The coaches now get to take trips to Texas, California and an extra stop in Florida. The Broncos bring the lumber while the Aztecs offer a good site for November games.
Let’s be honest, the conference has been way down for some time now. There has been a three-way tie at the top for the past two seasons and the representative has failed to rank in the top-20 of the BCS standings heading into bowl season. The only national champion from the conference was Miami in 2001 and there has not been a representative in the title game since the Hurricanes lost one year later to Ohio State.
It is losing Pitt, Syracuse and West Virginia. It has been mocked by media members and fans. But this was a problem that could have been foreseen when they shifted in 2005. The conference lost Miami, Virginia Tech and Temple – really not a bad thing – and replaced them with Conference-USA members Cincinnati, Louisville and South Florida. It kept the Big East alive but bringing in mid-major schools seemed to bring a mid-major level of competition from all members involved. Yes, Cincinnati had success in the past few years under Brian Kelly, but as a whole the eight teams rank last amongst the Big-Six conferences.
The Big East is not done though. The conference sits at ten teams but its goal of having a conference championship game and trying to compete with what will soon be “super-conferences” means there is a lot of work to be done. In the short term, all parties benefit with the conference expanding across the country for more coverage and five smaller schools getting a chance to compete at the BCS level.
The new members struck gold as far as postseason play and national coverage goes. The Big East has a huge contract with ESPN that will give the schools airtime that they haven’t seen before. The conference also currently has bowl tie-ins with the Champs Sports Bowl, Belk Bowl, Pinstripe Bowl, BBVA Compass Bowl – does anyone know what BBVA actually is? – the Beef ‘O’Brady’s Bowl and an at-large bid with the BCS.
Of the six bowl tie-ins, four of them currently have a payout of over $1 million while only two Mountain West bowls and two C-USA bowls reach the seven digit mark.
Adding these teams makes it a bitter-sweet marriage. It could be a huge risk adding mid-major schools, but the Big East at least got it right on which universities to poach. Boise has had a tremendous amount of success for a while now while the other four schools have been winning as of late. It does not necessarily mean there will be consistent competition from top to bottom, but it does help the conference stay afloat and give them a shot to face off against the big boys in at the BCS level.
While the Big East name makes zero sense based on geography, they took care of business to keep themselves going and who knows, they may be jumping the gun once super-conferences come into play and no regional name is correct. One thing is for sure, the other members of the conference lucked into getting more coverage by Best Coast Sports when they head out west.
- Donny Turnbaugh