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EXCELLENT ARTICLE: Could lowly Temple spark conference realignments?

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EXCELLENT ARTICLE: Could lowly Temple spark conference realignments?

Postby Guest » Thu Mar 08, 2001 12:21 am

Could lowly Temple spark conference realignments?
And who will take the Owls' spot in the Big East?
- James Lanni - Big East Columnist -

We’ve all heard stories about how the smallest event in some far off remote land may trigger WW III. The ripple effect they call it.

Well yesterday from Philadelphia, the wasteland of college football, came news that the Big East notified Temple University that it would no longer be a member of the Big East football conference.

Could this be the move that actually starts conference realignment throughout the country? It's too early to tell but don’t discount it. What seems to be barely a newsworthy event for college football may turn out to be the start of something big.

From the Big East perspective this move has been long awaited and, personally, I still can’t figure out what took the Big East so long to do it. This move is a move in the right direction or at the very least a move to stop the bleeding. Temple has been a financial albatross around the Big East’s neck from day one. Temple has received upwards of $25 million dollars from the league since inception and has contributed pennies to the Big East coffers.

Where did all that money go? Certainly not to promote the football team or its horrendous facilities. It seems like Temple knew this day would come and just ran its team with bare bones minimum budgets and hid its revenue sharing money in some off shore account for a rainy day.

Well, that day is here and somehow I think the Temple administration is probably as happy as it could be. It no longer has to worry about playing with the big boys and can go back to touting its basketball program and Bill Cosby. These are the top two breadwinners for the school and they make more money for Temple in one year than its football team ever has.

Where does this leave the Big East? The league is now at 7 teams with UCONN becoming a full-fledged member in 2005. Can the BE make it with 7 teams until then? Doubtful, as every team will now be scrambling to fill out its schedule. Chances are Temple will sever ties with the league as soon as possible, maybe even before the first kick in 2001. Clearly the BE can’t wait until 2005 to add another cellar dweller in UCONN.

The time is now to be proactive. I am led to believe that the league already has Temple’s replacement in place. Why else would they move to wipe the Owls out of the picture now?

The options are not clear-cut at all. Actually, it’s very confusing to say the least. Here is how I see it as it stands today and whose phone will ring this morning with a call from the Big East.

1) Marshall - good football - good attendance - but does the BE really want or need two teams from West Virginia?

2) ECU - An entrance into the Carolina's, decent football and somewhat decent attendance. They have ties to the BE in football as they have played at least 4 current BE members in the last few years. Miami, Cuse, Va Tech, WVU. I would see this as the leading candidate at this point but they will surely want all sports inclusion. Ask Va Tech how hard it is to get that.

3) UCF - The dark horse and could be potential winner of the spot. Another Florida spot. An improving team with more than adequate facilities but they lack support from community. They, however, would not want all team inclusion because they only care about two sports, football and baseball, and no Florida team will join the BE baseball conference. They can and would be a football member only. TV draw and the Orlando market are extremely appealing to BE officials.

4) Notre Dame - clearly would be choice number one but that will never happen as ND doesn't need the BE at all to get BCS and TV money. The BE has nothing to offer whatsoever.

5) Penn State - we tried once before and failed, but many PSU alums and fans would love a chance to get back to truly playing the teams from the east. Nothing but a courtesy call; the window was missed a decade ago.

6) Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard - not a chance in hell for those of you mentioning it.

7) If BE officials get down this far in the list without adding anyone they are in “deep poo poo.”

My choice would be either ECU or UCF. They are the most rational at this moment. Nothing earth shattering, but it is clearly a step above Temple.

I like Bobby Wallace and what he has done, but it’s not about him or his football team. It's about a school and community that didn't support its football team.

When I can visit the Vet and carry on a conversation with players from my seats about 30 rows up then you know that isn't big time football at any level.

Back to that ripple effect. What happens if the BE is able to add Penn State or Notre Dame? Could these be the moves that trigger realignment throughout the country as teams vie for the almighty dollar?

Sure, those are long shots at the present moment, but nothing is out of the realm of possibility. It is conceivable that the move to drop lowly Temple could lead to changes in conferences all across America. It's also conceivable that the ripple effect is about as likely as Temple being crowned BCS Champions in the Rose Bowl this coming year.


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