Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NCF Nation [Print without images]

Friday, December 14, 2012
Big East mailbag

By Andrea Adelson

Before you read on, please say a prayer for every family in Connecticut that lost a loved one today. I'm heartbroken for them.

Ryan in Fighting Muskie, Ohio, writes: I figure you're inbox is probably teeming with similar posts but I hope you take time to reply to this pensive, rather than vindictive, reflection by a loyal reader. This is to no fault of your own but I don't think the ESPN basketball writers are giving the current Big East situation a fair portrayal. They are making the Catholic 7 out to be the injured party and celebrating their departure as a declaration of independence from an oppressive football cabal and invoking the nostalgic memory of David Gavitt when doing so. This could not be further from the truth. While the Big East was founded on basketball, the league became cognizant that it needed football to stay relevant. However, it was only a halfhearted attempt. They missed the boat on Penn State, and the basketball schools never allowed the football side to make their own decisions and as a result, frustrated football members started to leave. The schools that left were the ones that bridged the gap between football and basketball interests and their absence made that divide wider. Cincinnati and UConn's desire to leave the BE has been portrayed in a very negative light but how does that make them any different from WVU and the schools that went to the ACC? The parties at fault for the Big East's current situation are not ECU and Tulane. The blame rests on the schools who have departed since 2004, who tried to have their cake and eat it too by clinging to East Coast Catholic basketball while trying to assemble the bare minimum number of football schools to have a conference. Had the likes of Syracuse, Pitt, WVU, and BC put all their efforts to creating an eastern all-sports conference where all the members played football, then schools like ECU and SMU would have never found themselves in the awkward situation of being in the same conference as Providence and DePaul.

Andrea Adelson: Thank you for your thoughtful comments, Ryan. I do not think there are any victims in this. It is foolhardy to think that way, in my opinion. There is plenty of blame to go around, and the basketball schools deserve their fair share as well. Just remember that there are different perspectives -- from the football side to the basketball side, and I think all deserve equal representation.


Samuel in Iowa City, Iowa, writes: Andrea, I am intrigued by your reluctance to give answers in the chat. You really come across as a reporter who is trying to report facts rather than a blogger who isn't afraid to venture an opinion, which Adam and Brian over here in the Notorious B1G seem to be. I would be delighted if you'd explain your philosophy on how to blog about the Big East. Thank you.

Adelson: A reporter trying to report facts! Well, I'll be snookered. Here is my philosophy. First and foremost, you will not see an opinion piece from me until this news is official. That has been our policy, and will remain our policy. Secondly, I think it is reckless to begin wildly speculating on what is going to happen because, well, that is completely up in the air right now. My policy is to give informed opinions, and to give informed opinions, you must report. They go hand in hand. So yes, it was very difficult to answer questions during the chat Thursday without knowing all the facts. I would rather hold back than give an opinion based on sparkle dust and glitter.


M. Ivanovich in Farrell, Pa., writes: Cincy will lose to Duke. The family man, hold the rope, hold everyone accountable, Lyle Butch Jones took, all but one assistant with him to represent the T. Some idea of a family. Leaving his whole family (Cincy football team) without anyone to coach them in a bowl. Even Brian Kelly left his assistants behind for the bowl. Tommy Tuberville left a stuff- faced JUCO recruit with other recruits and assistant coaches in a restaurant to tend to other business, and it became a story for ESPN. Tommy also left ALL Texas Tech assistant coaches at Tech to coach Tech in their bowl. Where is the story about Lyle's behavior towards his former team, Cincy?

Adelson: Jones did not take all but one assistant. Five were left behind to coach in the bowl game, along with the graduate assistants, though the Bearcats will be without their offensive and defensive coordinators. Did Jones leave the best way? Heck no. There is nobody who would tell you that what he did reflected well on him. But he is not the only coach who has pulled his assistants away from bowl prep. Happens all the time, including this bowl season.


Michael in Columbus, Ohio, writes: Are you taking a shot at Rutgers with this comment? The Scarlet Knights lose to a 6-6 Virginia Tech team that couldn't even beat Pitt or Cincinnati. Wait, Rutgers didn't beat Pitt, either.

Adelson: No. Just stating a fact.


Syracuse Fan writes: When is the official Blog switch over date for Syracuse and Pittsburgh?

Adelson: We have not determined that yet, but based on past history, it will be some time early in the new year.


John in Louisville writes: Hey AA, is Teddy Bridgewater going to have to wait until his senior season (first year for UofL in ACC) to get any serious Heisman buzz? All the early 2013 talk does not have him mentioned at all, another perception issue for the league he is in?

Adelson: Who knows if he sticks around for his senior year, right? Todd McShay already lists him as the No. 6 underclassman in the nation for 2013. I think he should get preseason Heisman buzz, but if he doesn't, then yes, the perception of the Big East will play a role. His only real chance would be for the Cardinals to run the table while putting up monster numbers.


Lost in Transition in Ohio writes: Can UConn's athletic department survive without the Big East? I will swear off college sports if we are left with an all sports league with ECU, UCF, SMU, Houston, etc. Without the hoops (which is already watered down), we are done.

Adelson: The athletic department is not going to fold because the Big East as we know it will cease to exist. But of all the remaining schools, I think UConn has to be the one that takes the biggest hit of all, given its history with the Big East and its ridiculous basketball success -- men's and women's -- as members of this conference. UConn remains a basketball school first, so to be left behind with schools that joined for football interests has to be tough to take. I am sure phone lines are burning up to the ACC offices, but no other conference is going to be in a rush to add schools that will always be there for the taking.