NCF Nation: Mike Tranghese

3-point stance: Florida State is back

October, 21, 2013
10/21/13
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1. We are fooled easily in the excitement of the moment. Yet Florida State so dominated at Clemson that the 51-14 victory will be one of the seminal moments of the season. It will mark the emergence of redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston in prime time, literally and otherwise. As good as Winston played, the Florida State defense played better. The Seminoles are back, and what better time? The university that dumped Hall of Fame head coach Bobby Bowden four years ago will honor him this Saturday.

2. The one complaint against the makeup of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee that has merit is that West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck, at age 53, is the youngest member. It makes sense that the commissioners wanted gravitas on the committee, and with the presence of members such as Tom Osborne, Mike Tranghese and Pat Haden, they have it. But they made room for a woman and a retired sportswriter. However hard they searched for a member under 40, they should have looked again.

3. The old protocols are butting heads with the new spread offenses, and everyone is groping for the right way to act. Should the offense throw when it’s way ahead? Baylor is averaging 64.7 points per game, and judging by the Bears’ No. 8 ranking, no one is holding that against them. Should the offense throw if it’s way behind? Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti ripped Washington State head coach Mike Leach for throwing 89 times, then apologized last night. No one knows what the rules should be any more.
Former Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese spoke out about the breakup of the Big East, telling our very own Brett McMurphy, "If they want to blame someone, blame me."

There is plenty of blame to go around, no question, and Traghese does deserve his share of criticism. The Big East breakup began under his watch, when Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College defected to the ACC in the early 2000s. But of all the comments he made to McMurphy, this one stuck out to me the most:
"The thing the Big East didn't have was a football leader -- a Florida, Alabama or USC -- a team that contended for the national championship every year or carried the league. It wasn't strong enough football-wise."

I wholeheartedly disagree with that assertion, and it sounds as if Tranghese is practicing a bit of revisionist history here. Because he had Miami as his leader when the league added football in 1991 -- the year the Hurricanes won their fourth national championship. In 1992, Miami played for another national championship before losing to Alabama. While the Hurricanes did suffer through NCAA sanctions and probation for a short period, Miami won another national championship in 2001 and played for another in 2002.

All under the Big East umbrella. Tally up the numbers, and Miami finished in the Top 25 in 12 of its 13 years in the league, won two national titles and played for two more. The Hurricanes had more Top 25 finishes and played for more national titles than Alabama and USC during that stretch.

Virginia Tech also played for a national title and had eight Top 25 finishes during its stay in the league.

So to say the Big East had no football power is either mis-remembering, or trying to make excuses for how the league began to fall apart when he was still commissioner. I think it is safer to say that the Big East failed to embrace the growing power of football and the corresponding growth in television dollars because of its split interests. This league put basketball first at just about every step. Football was never made a priority, and Miami, Boston College and Virginia Tech made the first move to get out. That, in turn, left the Big East open to more defections, as Tranghese points out:
"Everything in this day and age is about money," Tranghese said. "I don't know what Mike (Aresco), John (Marinatto) or I could have done. We weren't strong enough football-wise and we got picked apart. If there was someone out there that could have made us more powerful we would have went after them."

And now the Big East is no more.
1. The NCAA released the 2012 Consensus All-America team Monday. That’s the official compilation as recorded in the annual NCAA guide dating to 1889. Alabama had four players, giving the Crimson Tide 16 in the last five seasons. How good is that? Oklahoma is second in that time frame with seven players. The SEC put 10 players on the 25-man team; the Pac-12, seven. The Mountain West, Conference USA, WAC, MAC and, yes, the Big Ten, had one apiece.

2. Former Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese tried to take the blame for the way that the conference has fallen apart. Tranghese told Brett McMurphy that the football league never found an anchor team to make the league a national presence. But that’s the strategy Tranghese tried to deploy when he brought Miami into the league in 1991. Maybe it comes down to the league’s 1982 decision not to offer Penn State membership. Would Penn State have been happy enough to stay and not go to the Big Ten?

3. Here’s two reasons to think that Ron Caragher will build upon the success of Mike MacIntyre at San Jose State. One, Caragher came in after Jim Harbaugh went 29-6 at San Diego from 2004-06 and went 44-22 in the last six seasons. Two, San Jose State athletic director Gene Bleymaier, who did the hiring, is the guy who hired Chris Petersen, Dan Hawkins, Dirk Koetter and Houston Nutt at Boise State. Bleymaier can spot a good coach.

Tranghese: Big East defections inevitable

December, 17, 2012
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When Syracuse announced last year it was leaving the Big East for the ACC, former Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese said it "ripped out the heart" of the league's seven Catholic basketball schools.

Even before Syracuse's decision, Tranghese knew that eventually those seven basketball schools would split away from the Big East's football programs.

Tranghese, who was the league's commissioner from 1990-2009, said Saturday's official announcement that DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall and Villanova were leaving the conference to pursue a new basketball framework was inevitable.

"There was too much stress put on the structure (of the Big East)," Tranghese said. "Mostly by football and the money."

"I'm not crying or moping on it. It was an incredible run for 30 plus years. I'm sad to see it go and it's time to move on and focus on what lies ahead in the future."

Tranghese said critics who want to place the blame on former commissioner John Marinatto and/or current commissioner Mike Aresco are misguided.

"If they want to blame someone, blame me," Tranghese said. "The thing the Big East didn't have was a football leader -- a Florida, Alabama or USC -- a team that contended for the national championship every year or carried the league. It wasn't strong enough football-wise."

To read the rest of this story from Brett McMurphy, click here.

Big Ten Friday mailblog

December, 7, 2012
12/07/12
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First weekend off since August. Hope it's a quiet one (fingers crossed).

FYI for future mailblogs, try to keep your questions concise (150 words or less). You're free to go longer if you'd like, but we're not going to include those in the mailblog because it looks awful on the page. Thanks for your cooperation.

Will from Hoboken, N.J., writes: Hey Adam! With Maryland and Rutgers coming to the B1G in 2014, do you think geography needs to play a bigger role in the divisions? Jim Delaney said as much. I personally think Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Indiana (in addition to Maryland and Rutgers) have a major east-coast draw and have a strong case to form the B1G East. The conference and brand would also benefit by neighboring schools playing every year. I know my RU collegues and friends are itching to play Penn State and Ohio State every year instead of Iowa and Wisconsin (no offense).

Adam Rittenberg: Will, I have a feeling you'll get your wish. It's virtually guaranteed that Rutgers and Maryland will be in the same division as Penn State and Ohio State. The Big Ten wouldn't have talked so much about building the bridge from Penn State to the East Coast and then not group those teams in the same division. I also think the idea of moving Michigan and Michigan State to the Leaders has momentum now. Wisconsin can return to the Legends and have annual rival games with Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska. Competitive balance could be an issue if both Ohio State and Michigan distance themselves from the rest of the Big Ten, but there are enough good programs on the other side to compete.

Allan from Lincoln, Neb., writes: Do you think the Big 10 needs to step up it's game or they will continue to lose good coaches to the SEC? I'm pretty sure Pelini was interested in the Tenn job and the Arkansas job, wouldn't that have been a problem for the big 10 brand to lose 2 coaches from upper tier big 10 schools to a mid to lower-tier SEC team and another SEC team that has been off the national radar for over a decade?

Adam Rittenberg: The Big Ten needs to increase assistant coaches' salaries, that's pretty clear. Schools don't have to overpay for head coaches, but they need to give head coaches the resources to hire and retain top coordinators, elite recruiters, etc. It's tough because the Big Ten sponsors so many sports and can't allocate as much money to football as schools in other leagues, but Big Ten schools have to make themselves destination jobs as much as possible for these coaches. The Bret Bielema exit surprised everyone, but people would be less surprised if Bo Pelini left. His name has been out there for multiple jobs (despite all his denials) the last few seasons.

Hofforbucky from Saint Joseph, Mo., writes: Adam, long time reader first time caller. While reading "Barry Alvarez talks search, Bielema's exit" it appeared the angle was to present possible personality flaws of BA. While I don't disagree that Barry may come off self confident or possibly arrogant over the years, it seemed a stretch to call him out for having a "prospective successor" 5 minutes after BB's departure. The assumption was that the successor was currently employed at another university and thus BA was committing the same actions of Jeff Long. A quick Google search of the 55th Annual Football Award Dinner attendees showed many former coaches and players that are not currently employed. BTW I have to believe nostalgia is worth at least 1 win, BA's arrival on the sideline could tip the scales in what figures to be a close run dominated game.Keep up the good work.

Adam Rittenberg: That wasn't the intent, Hoffor. In fact, I found Alvarez to be incredibly entertaining and a great departure from the bland news conferences we usually get from Big Ten coaches. He's the closest thing we in Big Ten country get to Steve Spurrier. I see your point and it's a fair one, but it just struck me that he talks about protocol and then mentions he's talking to a representative of a candidate five minutes after Bielema blindsided him. Maybe you're right and it wasn't a college coach, but odds are it was. I love the bluster from Barry, and I think he'll be able to find a good replacement from Bielema. While Stanford will be a tough matchup, I like Wisconsin's chances better with Alvarez on the sideline.

Kyle from Out West writes: Regarding the CCG location: with low numbers at Lucas this year and the eastward expansion, is there any prospect of the CCG being played at MetLife Stadium or FedEx Field? Evidently there are a lot of B1G fans there, and MetLife is hosting a Super Bowl soon...a slightly bigger deal than the B1G CCG. Thoughts?

Adam Rittenberg: Kyle, I could see it happening as a one-time thing, but the Big Ten always will be a Midwest-based league, and I'd expect it to hold the championship game in a Midwest city. I remember when former Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese was asked about holding the Big East hoops tournament in Chicago after the league expanded. He dismissed the thought pretty quickly, as the Big East tourney and Madison Square Garden go hand in hand. The Big Ten football title game obviously lacks that type of history, and I could see a one-time event in New Jersey or Maryland. But most years, expect it to be in the current Big Ten footprint.

Zach from Avoca, Neb., writes: Hey Adam I was looking at the huskers schedule for next year. Do you think they have a good chance of going undefeated next year? no Wisconsin, or Ohio State and the UCLA game is at home.

Adam Rittenberg: Zach, the schedule certainly sets up favorably for Nebraska, and it will be important for the Huskers to capitalize. But I don't believe Nebraska has a "good chance" of going undefeated. Too much evidence to the contrary in recent years. Too many embarrassing losses on big stages. Not enough elite defensive linemen or linebackers. The offense should be outstanding, but it's hard to fully trust quarterback Taylor Martinez, who makes a lot of good plays but a lot of bad ones, too. The other thing is that the Legends Division should be really good again in 2013. Northwestern brings everyone back, Michigan State should/will be better on offense and potentially just as good on defense and Michigan is building more depth with better players. It won't be a cakewalk for Nebraska, even though the Huskers get both Northwestern and MSU at home.

Ryan from Indianapolis writes: Alright, I've seen enough of the ripping on Indy comments from other fans. Your article touched on some key points that I've been thinking for days, and that's the fact that Indy has an excellent track record of hosting premier sporting events. This isn't anything new. One other item, I'd like to mention, is that the Big Ten beat out many other conference championships for attendance. Also, do we know that it's a fact that Chicago has more Big Ten fans? Purdue and IU are both an hour from Indy, even ND is only 2.5 hours away. Where do people think the majority of these grads go?Besides, what does Chicago provide that Indy doesn't in December for a championship football game? Besides amazing pizza, more expensive hotels/entertainment, and my Blackhawks (not this year!).

Adam Rittenberg: Ryan, you had to mention the Hawks, huh? The lack of hockey is killing me, man. And it's the one sport my wife actually likes. Strike a deal! ... Anyway, to your question, the Big Ten wants its title game to be like the SEC's, not the ACC's or the Pac-12 or what used to be the Big 12's. The attendance was a major disappointment, although not a shocker either given the circumstances. While I don't have the exact numbers, I can assure you Chicago has far more Big Ten fans than any other city. It's a much larger city and all the Big Ten schools feed into it with their alums. There might be more Purdue and IU grads in Indy, but there are overwhelmingly more grads from schools like Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, etc., in Chicago. It's not really a debate. And these are the people who already live in the market who would be interested in attending the Big Ten title game without much of a hassle to do so. That's why Chicago ultimately makes more sense if you want to ensure good attendance.

Ron from Mason, Mich., writes: With Butch Jones taking the Vols job, do you see Pat Narduzzi being a good fit...

Adam Rittenberg: Pat would be a great fit, Ron. He obviously has ties to the area as a former defensive coordinator at Cincinnati under Mark Dantonio and as a former player and coach at nearby Miami (Ohio). He knows the area very well and definitely seems ready to make the move from top coordinator to head coach. It would be a big loss for Michigan State, but Narduzzi has created the blueprint for the Spartans' defense.
1. Former Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese, speaking to Mark Blaudschun at AJerseyGuy.com, is a lonely voice. But college football had better listen. “I think a playoff is going to mean the demise of the bowl system,” Tranghese said. He also thinks the pressure to go from four teams to eight will be immense. “It’s going to be if you get in the playoff -- great. If you don’t, it’s who cares," he said. "If you look at mid-level football programs, which have virtually no chance of getting into a playoff, what do they play for? And if they don’t have something to play for, I worry about the interest in the sport.”

2. At Big East media day on Tuesday, South Florida coach Skip Holtz referred to senior quarterback B.J. Daniels having arrived in 2002. It only seems that way. The fifth-year senior took over as starting quarterback in the third game of 2009. Daniels marvels at the freshmen who arrived at USF this summer. “They’re still wearing their high school cleats to our practice fields,” Daniels said, “and we are like, ‘C’mon, man. Did we used to do that?’ And we did. It’s funny. It’s surreal to finally be on the other end of it.”

3. Temple’s 15,000-square-foot addition to its weight room opened in July. The Owl seniors, who remember how far Temple has come, treat that building as if they are first-time homeowners. “When we walked in,” senior offensive tackle Martin Wallace said, “everybody’s phone came out. We were taking pictures, and everybody was like, ‘Wow! This is awesome!’ There’s stuff in there we don’t even know how to use. Walking into Yankee Stadium for the first time was the same kind of thing.”
Where has the Big East gone wrong in its quest to be a viable football conference?

Ask 100 people, and get a 100 answers. But one man in particular shared his thoughts on the topic with New York Times columnist William C. Rhoden, thoughts that simply cannot be ignored.

Former commissioner Mike Tranghese believes the point of no return happened before the Big East was a viable football conference, back in 1989. At the time, Tranghese was working under Dave Gavitt, and the two men believed it was imperative to bring Penn State into the league. Membership voted no. St. John's, Villanova and Georgetown led the dissenters.

From the Times story:
At the end of the meeting, Gavitt asked Tranghese what he thought about the decision. “I said, ‘We will all rue the day about this decision,’ ” Tranghese said. “I understood how big football was. I didn’t understand how big it was going to become.

“At that point, the Big East had so much success in the ’80s, everybody sort of forgot about it. But I felt looking back on the history of the Big East, that was probably the biggest mistake we made.”

When Tranghese became commissioner in 1990, the league had no choice but to really go after football. At the time, conference presidents commissioned a study to look at the benefits of staying together or going their separate ways. Even Tranghese had misgivings about programs with different interests remaining as one league.

“I thought at that point, our league should have given very serious consideration to separating,” Tranghese told The Times. “From where I was sitting, the difficulty of keeping everything together — some people playing football, some people not playing football — was a challenge.”

So here we are today, 20 years later, and the same questions continue to vex the Big East:
  • How can a commissioner truly lead when he does not have the full backing of his membership?
  • How does this league function when there are such obvious factions between basketball and football?

The first question is one I have addressed several times on this blog in regard to current commissioner John Marinatto. To me, Tranghese's comments speak to the obtuseness of some presidents in the league, and their failure to think about the future, and the shifting landscape of college athletics. The same story line persisted then as it does today.

Tranghese seemed to understand the future ramifications of adding Penn State, and so did Gavitt -- a man who was a driving force in leading Big East basketball to the top. Neither one wanted to destroy basketball for the sake of football. There should be a way for them to coexist, but that clearly has not happened.

Now, Tranghese was in charge when the Big East was raided the first time in 2003. His role in what happened when Miami, Boston College and Virginia Tech left is not addressed in the article. But when Tranghese retired, he knew more expansion was coming and, he said, "I just refused to sit there and go through it again."

There are those who might think that Tranghese is passing the buck. What exactly did he do to foster a cohesive Big East, or to prevent defections? He may have understood football had become a driving force, but even he was powerless to unify everybody. He clearly understood that if he knew the Big East would eventually get raided again.

But overall, I think Tranghese underscored once again why the Big East continues to be so dysfunctional. There is no uniform voice, and no uniform vision.

There are still basketball interests, and football interests that never seem to be one in the same.
Former Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese is one of the nation's most respected voices on college sports. He's also extremely sharp and not afraid to speak his mind.

Tranghese sounded off Monday with WFAN Radio in New York. He lit into the ACC for poaching the Big East again, and he also ripped college presidents for being greedy and disloyal as realignment fever hits again.

The entire interview definitely is worth a listen, but Tranghese had some very interesting thoughts about the Big Ten and its position when the realignment dust settles.

I think you'll like what he says.
"You know who's going to be the winner in all this when it's all is said and done if you want to talk about conference? Big Ten. The Big Ten is sitting there, they took Nebraska, they're on the sidelines, they're watching all this chaos, everybody's going to be taking people. And you know you could be standing there all alone at the end? Notre Dame and Texas. And the Big Ten would not be accused of raiding because they're just going to be sitting there."

Commissioner Jim Delany's patience might pay off, according to Tranghese.

Tranghese also discussed whether the Big Ten would pursue Rutgers and Connecticut.
"I don't think so. ... Before the Big Ten took Nebraska, knowing Jim Delany as well as I do ... Jim did a lot of work. He did a lot of analysis, and I believe that Rutgers was looked at, and Pittsburgh was looked at, and Syracuse was looked at, and Connecticut was looked at. And a lot of schools were looked at. And I think the Big Ten came to the conclusion that the addition of any one of those schools wasn't going to deliver them the New York market. ... So that's why I think that ultimately led them to Nebraska. Now they sit there and they ask themselves the same question: Can they get the New York market with Rutgers or Connecticut? You can do it with Notre Dame."

Tranghese also said the Big Ten doesn't have to be reactive to other conferences.
"Why can't they stay at 12? In fact, I would argue you're better off at 12 than you are at 16. You have less mouths to feed, easier to run. You add people when you add value. You just don't add numbers."

I agree 100 percent. I wish more people in powerful positions took the same approach.

Will the Big Ten's patient approach pay off? Will the Big Ten once again be a big winner in realignment?

Stay tuned.
Late last week, West Virginia coach Bill Stewart gave his opinion that Big East football could disband. On Monday afternoon, no less of an authority than Mike Tranghese was sounding similar alarm bells.

Tranghese, the man who started Big East football before retiring as league commissioner a year ago, told a Pittsburgh radio station on Monday that the conference he once oversaw could be at the mercy of Big Ten expansion plans.
"It’s a question of what the Big Ten does,’’ he said. "If the Big Ten takes multiple teams, the Big East is in trouble.’’

I get asked all the time why the Big East doesn't take preventive measures to avoid such a fate. My normal answer is that the Big East doesn't really have any cards to play. Tranghese agrees.
"I don’t think there’s anything the Big East can do to prevent it," he told the radio station. "Everyone is on pins and needles waiting to see what the Big Ten will do. It’s a pretty dicey time.’’

Tranghese confirmed that the Big East had instituted a $5 million penalty fee after the ACC raid in 2005, but that hardly serves as a deterrent when schools are looking at windfalls in the $20 million range from a possible Big Ten move.

And what about the idea of adding teams as a preventive move? Tranghese said the types of schools that would make the Big East more viable aren't available.
"Just adding teams will not make the Big East stronger,’’ he said.

These are some pretty dire warnings that should have every Big East athletic director and president on edge. Still, as Tranghese mentioned, it's really all about what the Big Ten does at this point. If it merely adds one team, even a Big East school, then the future of the conference shouldn't be dramatically altered.

Posted by ESPN.com's Ivan Maisel


1. Former Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese is a smart man. He found a way to save the conference from extinction after the ACC raided it, and he saved the Big East’s automatic BCS bid. The Memphis Commercial Appeal has reported that Memphis has hired Tranghese to advise it on moving into an automatic-bid conference. If Tranghese figures that out, forget the College Football Hall of Fame. I’d nominate him for a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

2. Ohio State fans are grumbling about the offense after the 18-15 loss to USC. They’re just figuring this out? When has Jim Tressel had an explosive offense in his eight-plus seasons in Columbus? He has won largely with defense, special teams and field position. Maybe the difference is that Ohio State has lost six straight to top-5 teams. If that’s a whiff of coach fatigue in the air, Buckeye fans need to chill.

3. Andy Staples of SI.com and I realized this last night, so I am letting you know. Based on a three-week sample, at every game you attend this season, the band is going to play Michael Jackson songs. And Jackson Five songs. It may get old, and it may get old quickly. But props to the Miami band for pausing in the middle of "Thriller" to perform the "Thriller" dance. A nice touch.

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett


Memphis' hiring of former Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese opens up all kinds of speculation about the conference.

It's no secret that the Tigers have been trying their best to work their way into a BCS conference. They've felt left behind ever since the Big East took Louisville, Cincinnati and South Florida for football and DePaul and Marquette for basketball out of Conference USA in 2005. Memphis was left to wonder, what about us?

Hiring Tranghese, who retired in July, is a stroke of genius, Geoff Calkins writes in the Memphis Commercial Appeal. And he's right. If your goal is entry to the Big East, what better person to have on your payroll than the guy who oversaw the founding of the Big East, who was the league's first paid employee and who is best friends with current commissioner John Marinatto?

Before we connect those dots, however, we must remember a few things.

First, the Big East isn't currently looking to expand, especially not if it adds to the basketball membership. Secondly, Memphis has a ways to go before its facilities and its competitiveness match the rest of the Big East. Right now, adding Memphis for football doesn't really help the Big East in terms of prestige.

You could make a strong case that the league ought to boot out DePaul and add Memphis to keep the basketball format at 16 and make the football alignment nine deep. But there may be resistance on the basketball side to adding yet another top program to what is already the toughest and deepest league in the country.

Tranghese had said he wanted to do some consulting work when he retired, so this makes sense for him. No other BCS league except the Big East really makes sense for Memphis. The SEC is a better geographic fit, but it's not going to go past 12 teams anytime soon. Nor would Memphis have any chance of competing in that league in football.

What Memphis has done is grab a connection to the power brokers in the Big East. It will be up to the school to sell itself, and it will be up to the league to figure out whether the Tigers bring enough to the table to warrant inclusion in the future.

Posted by ESPN.com’s Graham Watson

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

The New York Times' Pete Thamel has a long and interesting Q&A with outgoing Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese as Tranghese presides over his final men's basketball league tournament. Lots of good stuff in there to read, but football fans will find the following passages particularly worth parsing:

Pete Thamel: I remember from reading Kevin McNamara's book on the Big East that there have been some near misses with difference schools over the years. Things have obviously worked out. But do you ever look back and wonder what would have happened if Penn State had come aboard?

Mike Tranghese: I look back on the 30 years, and I think we made one major mistake. We had a chance to take Penn State in 1982 and we didn't. You look back on it and the whole face of college athletics would be changed now. If we had taken Penn State in 1982, we may still have football independents. The idea wasn't to take Penn State and start a football league. It was to give Penn State a place. And then they would have been aligned with Syracuse and Boston College. We probably would have brought Pitt in, too, and the four of them probably would have agreed to play and continue as independents. I think the whole face of college football would have changed. I don't think Florida State would have moved and Miami would have moved. All of it came about when Penn State made the decision to go to the Big Ten. I thought that in 1982, I was just a young staffer at this meeting. Dave [Gavitt] wanted to go to Penn State and extend the invitation. But he couldn't if we didn't have the votes. And we had eight teams and needed six votes and it was a 5-3 vote. It was probably the only time that Dave couldn't drive a final decision in the years that he was the commissioner. I was just a staffer. I could say whatever I wanted to Dave. At the end of our meeting, Dave asked what I thought. In fact, it's in our minutes. I said, 'We will rue the day over this decision.' And it's been pretty prophetic.

PT: Paterno has always tagged a lot of that on former Syracuse A.D. Jake Crouthamel, right?

MT: Despite all the negativity that comes out about Jake, he fought like crazy for Penn State to be in the league. Syracuse and Boston College really fought to have Penn State because Jake understood the importance of Penn State. What happened in the previous fall, Penn State had tried to form a football league. Coach Paterno has laid a lot of this at Jake's feet, which I think is wrong. What never got written was that the basketball league was being pretty successful and they couldn't agree on revenue sharing in football. There wasn't going to be any revenue sharing. Jake just wasn't going to do that. The next year Dave brought it up for discussion and Jake was absolutely supportive. We voted five different times and all five times Jake voted for Penn State. And Bill Flynn at Boston College, God rest his soul, voted for Penn State all five times. The reason that they didn't get in was that the league was new, a lot of the directors felt it was a basketball league. Some of the directors felt that the concept of the Big East was big markets. It was a 5-3 vote that changed the face of history.

Think about that. If Penn State joined the Big East for football, the league would have certainly been much different and much stronger. You could argue that the ACC raid never happens, and Cincinnati, Louisville and South Florida never come aboard. Whether that's a good or bad thing depends on your perspective. And one or two votes might have made the difference.

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

The Big East has asked Konica Minolta Gator Bowl officials to meet within the next month to renegotiate their contract, Mitch Vingle says in the Charleston Gazette. While the Big East would like to do away with its rotating deal with the Big 12, it won't be easy to convince the Gator of that. And there's this telling quote from bowl president Rick Catlett:

"When we meet with (Big East commissioner) Michael (Tranghese)," Catlett said, "we need to know the rules in regard to Notre Dame. Then we'll see what we feel comfortable with."

• West Virginia junior Greg Isdaner's decision to enter the NFL draft raised a lot of eyebrows. But as Bob Hertzel writes in the Times West Virginian, Isdaner has never been one to take the conventional route.

"I'm doing this with house money," he said. "What's the worst scenario? I'm not good enough to play in the NFL? If I don't make it, I'll go back to graduate school," he said.

• Syracuse may be on the verge of swiping another Big East recruit away and a second player who had been committed to Louisville, Donnie Webb writes in the Syracuse Post-Standard.

• South Florida added a highly-ranked junior college defensive end to its impressive recruiting haul, Greg Auman says in the St. Petersburg Times.

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