- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Time for your midweek mailblog.
BIGPGM in New Jersey writes: Hey AA, It is obvious that with the changes that have occurred with the Big East, the bigger bowls are not eager to make a tie-in game with the league. It is also obvious that Notre Dame will never join the league as a football member. As such, why not continue to have a tie-in bowl with the Big East, which involves Notre Dame, i.e. every four years, the bowl can take a seven-win Notre Dame team instead of a Big East team. It may not be a great deal for the Big East, but a tie-in game three out of four years is better than no tie-in at all for a Big East champ who does not make it into the four-team playoff. Also, do you think the bosses may think outside of the box for the top six bowls to include the likes of a Pinstripe Bowl or MetLife Stadium Bowl in order to include new regions/markets for the big six games? If so, why not try and get a tie-in with that game rather than the Orange Bowl? Finally, when do you think the BE may make another play at Air Force? Once Navy is officially on board?
Andrea Adelson: Great questions, and good to see you again. First question: let's just say Notre Dame wins 10 games three seasons in a row. I realize this requires a substantial suspension of disbelief, but work with me for a minute. Why would the Orange Bowl agree to some sort of quasi Big East/Notre Dame tie-in when the possibility exists it could have Notre Dame fill its stadium and potentially play games against Florida State and Miami every year? The Orange Bowl is looking to make a business decision that benefits its game, and unfortunately, I am not sure the Big East fits into that picture. 2. I don't think a New York bowl will be included among the "big six" games. 3. I'm not sure what leverage the Big East has right now to make a play at Air Force. The same concerns that kept Air Force away remain.
Brian in New Jersey writes: Just listening to that Joe Bailey interview you posted is nauseating. He anticipates the phrase power 5 disappearing. Come on. Is this guy even paying attention to what's going on?
Rutgers_Ron in Old Bridge, N.J., writes: Andrea, I think you are doing a great job with the blog and I for one am about to blow a gasket that the BE does not have a tie-in to a major bowl. We are not considered a major conference even though we have a better bowl record that the ACC, but they just got an extension with the Orange Bowl for what could be their second-place team. Our interim commissioner doesn't seemed concerned. If we don't have a seat at the table, we are not going to be part of the conversation and we will be a second-rate conference. We have some very good teams and with the right commissioner, the right marketing and continued winners, we should at a minimum be equal to the ACC if not a notch better. The recent history proves it, but people rely on names from the past which I am afraid the selection committee will as well. Keep up the great work!
Greg Cofield in Knoxville, Tenn., writes: Andrea, I am with you on this conference tie in Bull. The ACC is a league that hasn't done anything noteworthy in the BCS era, but they have a commissioner that has the ability to convince someone they have. It is a good thing the Big East settled out of court with West Virginia because over the last several months they have proved lack of leadership and ineptitude. Every decision that's made seems to be a scene from the Three Stooges. As a die hard RU fan, I am at the point that I wish the Big East would just dissolve and let the other conferences pick up the pieces.
Adelson: I have to say, I really thought the Big East was going to be more proactive in hammering home the point that it belongs at the table, with clear examples that the ACC has not outperformed this conference. I even gave him the perfect opening to do it when I got him on the phone last week, and he didn't want to engage. Bailey has mentioned six different Big East teams with Top 10 rankings since 2006 in various interviews. That can't be all he's got! I've got a better stat that should be shouted from the rooftops -- the ACC is 2-13 in BCS games. Feel free to mention the Orange Bowl has had terrible TV ratings the last five years with the ACC as its tie-in school and trouble selling seats. Instead, fans are getting the same old, same old passive Big East. I don't think statements like, "That's the rub of the green," are doing Bailey or the league many favors.
William Overbeck in Murphy, Texas, writes: Andrea: You've done a good job pointing out the significant "access" issues that are developing with BCS 2.0. However, another large part of the currently developing scam is "strength of schedule." I think it will be very difficult to get any of the "Big 4" plus ACC to schedule Big East teams anywhere and almost impossible for a Big East team to get a home game with one of them. If you can't schedule them, they can ignore you because your "strength of schedule" was inferior. This is a part of the "access equation" someone in the Big East should be working on as well.
Adelson: Excellent point, William, and thank you for bringing it up. I did mention previously the Big East has to try to beef up nonconference scheduling, even if it means playing away. But the huge problem is what you mentioned -- a lot of these conferences don't want to have anything to do with Big East teams. You can look to Boise State as the most recent example. These other conferences may feel they have nothing to gain, particularly going on the road. However, it should give you hope that a school like Wisconsin has acknowledged it needs to improve its nonconference schedule. I don't think every conference is going to be able to stand pat with four patsies. Maybe the SEC can get away with it for a time. But I don't think a school from the ACC or Pac-12 can, for example. Added into these concerns are the nine-game league schedules several conferences are going to be playing. That creates fewer nonconference scheduling opportunities as well.