- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Joe Bailey opened his conference call with reporters this week with quite the statement.
He wants to be as open, transparent and honest about the Big East as possible in the time he serves as interim commissioner. That means having conference calls more frequently; answering questions more frequently; being available more frequently.
For a league that has struggled with its public perception for years now, this is a positive, and much-needed first step toward changing the pervasive stereotype of the Big East. This has nothing to do with reporters getting questions answered, and everything to do with the Big East trying to do more to reach out to its fans and a national audience, particularly now that there is a major membership transition underway.
Give credit to the Big East for hiring the Boston Consulting Group to review its organizational design and structure, and to come up with strategies to help position the league for the future. Give credit to the Big East for putting Bailey in place as interim commissioner, somebody who perhaps is more well-versed in getting the league message out. John Marinatto rarely gave one-on-one interviews or phone interviews in the past year. He obviously was under duress to save the league.
But that does not discount the major need to put somebody in front of the cameras or behind a phone to sell the league. Once membership was reconfigured, the future of the BCS became a major issue that had to be addressed. Marinatto never publicly disclosed his views on a playoff, and where the Big East wanted to position itself in the discussions. Fellow league commissioners Jim Delany, Larry Scott, Mike Slive and John Swofford voiced theirs openly and candidly.
At a time when the Big East has lost its automatic qualifying status, it needs somebody to vociferously defend the league, to explain why the league deserves an equal share of the BCS revenue pie as the Big Ten, Big 12, ACC, SEC and Pac-12. Someone to beat the Big East drum; to make every attempt possible to let an entire nation know that the ACC is not better than the Big East when it comes to BCS performance.
Nobody in the Big East has even attempted to make this case. Or to provide a breakdown of how the Big East has done vs. the ACC in the BCS. It should be an absolute outrage that the Big East is teetering on the brink of being left out of the big BCS money. Why? Going back to the first BCS game in 1999, the ACC is 2-13 all-time; The Big East is 8-6.
The ACC has gotten two schools into the BCS just once, and that was this past season, when Clemson got embarrassed by a Big East school and Virginia Tech lost again. And let's not forget, the Big East and the ACC are the only conferences to send teams with at least three losses to a BCS game multiple times.
One more: Since 2005, the Big East has had three teams finish the season with just one loss. Two of them -- Cincinnati and Louisville -- are remaining members. Let's add in future members, just for fun. That would give the Big East six more (Boise State 5, Houston 1). By comparison, the ACC has had zero teams finish with just one loss in the same time frame.
So why is it nobody is even talking about the ACC being left out from its seat at the table?
Oh, because the Big East is losing a bunch of teams and adding a hodgepodge? Boise State had two BCS appearances in the past six seasons. That equals the total number of BCS appearances from departing schools West Virginia, Pitt and Syracuse during the same time period.
It is high time the Big East start selling itself and its future members, not only for future TV partners, but for its BCS life. If you remember, the cumulative average record of future Big East membership is roughly the same as the old configuration of the league. There are plenty of ways to get folks to try and buy into the new Big East.
Let's hope Bailey gets to work doing that, and fast. The next BCS meeting is in June. TV negotiations begin in September.
Time is ticking.