Blog Entry

Comparing old Big East to new Big East

Posted on: December 6, 2011 5:32 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 10:03 am

Start with the fact the Big East has BCS membership only because of a hall pass.

The BCS commissioners awarded the conference a waiver to stay in the club in 2007 just, well, because. Back then, the Big East still had enough existing juice from its teams and power from its administrators to keep its nose under the BCS tent.

No more.

You don’t have to be told that the Big East hasn’t had a team ranked in the final BCS top 20 since 2009. Or had one team in the top 10 of the BCS since 2008. (The Big Ten has had seven.) Such things matter when a conference is being awarded an $18 million-$20 million bowl game each year just, because.

That’s why you may have noticed the Big East is expanding, to chase that magic BCS berth like it was a contact high.’s Brett McMurphy reported Tuesday that Boise State, San Diego State, Houston, SMU and Central Florida will join the league in 2013.

The problem is no one really knows what it all means. Four of the five new schools are basically warm bodies to keep the Big East afloat. The league is hoping the fifth, Boise, can keep the conference in the BCS big time. Air Force and Navy may join later.

But there’s no certainty the BCS is even going to be around in a few years. Commissioners will spend most of the next year deciding what college football’s postseason will look like beginning in 2014 (when the current BCS contract expires). The question – now that there is a bit of clarity regarding Big East membership – is if the league is better off with this current expansion.

Short answer: No. Not even close. The schools that have left – West Virginia, Syracuse and Pittsburgh – have accounted for five BCS bowls in the 14-year history of the system. That’s more than twice as many as the new schools bring to the table, all of them by Boise State (two).

But what choice did the Big East have? After the latest ACC raid, it just needed a heartbeat.

Here is  breakdown between the old and new. Decide for yourself if the Big East is worthy of a BCS bid.

(Note: We are considering the “highest level of football” since 1973 when Division I was established by the NCAA. Boise State moved up to Division I-A in 1996. All ranking references are to the Associated Press and BCS.)


Boise State

Conference: Mountain West, first year

Age of program at highest level of college football: 16th year in Division I-A/FBS

Years in the BCS era that the Broncos ended the season ranked (1998-present): Seven

The last year the Broncos ended the season ranked: 2011

BCS bowls: two (2007 Fiesta, 2010 Fiesta)


San Diego State

Conference: Mountain West, 13th year

Age of program at highest level: 39th year in Division I/Division I-A/FBS

Years in the BCS era that the Aztecs ended the season ranked: None.

The last year the Aztecs ended the season ranked: 1977

BCS bowls: None.



Conference: Conference USA, 16th year

Age of program at highest level: 39th year in Division I/Division I-A/FBS

Years in the BCS era that the Cougars ended the season ranked: One (2011)

The last year the Cougars ended the season ranked: 1990

BCS bowls: None


Conference: Conference USA, sixth year
Age of program at highest level: 39th year in Division I/Division I-A/FBS

Years in the BCS era that the Mustangs ended the season ranked: None.

The last year the Mustangs ended ranked: 1984

BCS bowls: None.


Central Florida

Conference: Conference USA, sixth year  

Age of program at highest level: 16th year in Division I-A/FBS

Years in the BCS era the Knights ended the season ranked: One (2010)

The last year the Knights ended ranked: 2010.

BCS bowls: None.


The skinny on new teams

Average stay in current conference: 8.4 years

Average age of new programs at highest level of football: 29.8 years

Total seasons in the BCS era that ended with a ranking: Nine (average of 1.8 times per school)

Average length of time, in years, since last end-of-season ranking: 16.4 years

Last season ranked at the end of the season: Boise, 2011

Total BCS bowls: Two.


The skinny on departing teams (West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Syracuse)

Average stay in current conference: 20 years (Each year was a charter member in football.)

Average age of programs playing at the highest level of football: 39

Total seasons in the BCS era that ended with a ranking: 12 (average of four times per school)

Average length of time, in years, since last end-of-season ranking: four

Last season ranked at end of the season: 2011 (West Virginia)

Total BCS bowls: 5


Since: Dec 1, 2006
Posted on: December 7, 2011 4:53 am

Comparing old Big East to new Big East

I've already pointed out this flaw before when comparing BCS bowls for the incoming vs. the outgoing..

All the BE team had to do was win their conference... and they got a BCS bowl.

All the other teams had to jump through 3 hurdles.
    1..   Win their conference
    2..   Be top 16
    3.    Be higher ranked than the BE team.

    1.   Be top 14 in the country.
    2.   Be CHOSEN for an at-large.
; Just ask Kansas State, Baylor, etc.  how impossible that #2 is in today's world?

(not defending this realigment, as I'm a c-usa fan..and am not happy with getting raided again... but you cannot compare the BCS bowls and consider it a fair comparison, considering the different requirements.)

Since: Sep 22, 2011
Posted on: December 7, 2011 3:44 am

Comparing old Big East to new Big East

Mr. Dodd, I will give you that there is some truth in what you say but your argument about comparing BCS bowl participation is laughable at best since it fails to address numerous issues:

1) last I checked all 3 teams you mention, have AQ status and since 2005, those 3 teams represent one third of a conference that gets an automatic BCS bid versus 6 teams that have no guaranteed bid UNLESS they run the table (no losses what-so-ever).  So statistically speaking they are going to definitely have a significant advantage in the BCS Bowl appearances since all they have to do is have the best record in their conference (as has been proven time and time again they don't have to win it outright to get in).

2) While we are on the subject of non-AQs actually getting in, remember that until the 2005 Fiesta Bowl that there wasn't even a provision for a non-AQ to even play in one.  The formula was tweaked to allow them after that.  So for the first 7 seasons of the BCS of course these guys were going to have an edge since a non-AQ couldn't even get in until 2005. 

3) Had Boise had the records that they have over the last several years AND been in the Big East, I believe they would've single-handedly matched the total of all 3 teams that you have posted, although this year arguably it would be a toss up between Boise and Houston. 

4) Since 2007, other than West Virginia (and even their performance hasn't been stellar) all 3 of those programs have been seriously struggling.  Since the inception of the BCS, Syracuse has only been once and lost miserably and has only produced a winning season twice in the last decade, Pitt has only made a BCS Bowl once and like Syracuse had the crappola kicked out of them.  They have been extremely erratic in performance and peaked with their best win-loss ratio in decades at 10 wins.  West Virginia seems to be the gem of the bunch.  They have won both of their BCS Bowl appearances and have produced a couple of 11 win seasons in the last decade. 

The bottom line though is that the Boise/Houston combo alone could duplicate the results of these 3 teams over the last several decades and while Pitt and Syracuse seem to be on a down-swing-SMU, Houston, SDSU are all on the upswing while Boise has been pretty consistent over coach Peterson's tenure.  

Since: Feb 11, 2009
Posted on: December 7, 2011 3:34 am

Comparing old Big East to new Big East

This whole thing with the Big East has been ridiculous for years.  It's basically an excuse to get an BCS invite for football and a conference tournament and NCAA torunament in basketball.  I can't imagine any other conferences across the country putting up with membership that is so elective, when it comes to sports programs and who belongs/doesn't belong at what time of year.  I realize the existing agreements allow for the type of arrangement that the Big East has wrought, but this should probably be on the agenda as the next BCS agreement or whatever follows the one comes out.  At the very least, automatic qualifying should come up as a topic for discussion, based on what the "new" Big East does to distinguish itself (or NOT) in the next few seasons. 

Since: Jan 14, 2008
Posted on: December 7, 2011 2:57 am

Comparing old Big East to new Big East

Requires 3.84 GPA to get it? I call BS.

Not that it's not a good school, but no one has that as an official requirement. Even Harvard and Stanford don't have such a requirement (though their candidates might have averages that high).

Since: Dec 7, 2011
Posted on: December 7, 2011 2:39 am

Comparing old Big East to new Big East

BSU has always faced the problem of replacing unreplacable players. Ryan Dinwiddie (still second-ranked in NCAA passing efficiency) couldn't possibly be replaced, except by Jared Zabransky (who led BSU to a Fiesta Bowl victory over Oklahoma at 13-0) who couldn't possibly be replaced except by Taylor Tharpe (who broke his touchdown record in a 10-3 season) and then Kellen Moore (most victories in NCAA history). Nor could their receivers (Chris Childs, Dreisan James and Legadu Naunee) who led them to the Fiesta Bowl victory along with RB Ian Johnson; except that Austin Pettis and Titus Young (who Lou Holtz insists couldn't be replaced) and Doug Martin at RB stepped in, along with Tyler Shoemaker who this year promptly broke Austin Pettis' touchdown record that would supposedly last 'til eternity. Now the 2007 Senior class can't be replaced, except those were the guys who committed before the Fiesta Bowl victory over Oklahoma, which prompted a flood of higher-ranked recruits who recognized that BSU wasn't an underdog program but an emerging dynasty.

As great as Moore is, he can't run for squat, and BSU has had to forego a third of what most college offenses have with a running quarterback: zone reads, wildcats, option runs, quarterback draws, scrambles - yet they still have four-fifths of their receiving corps and three athletic, running quarterbacks in the wings. And they also have a tradition of playing 45 guys a game, rotating through their depth instead of catering to prima-donnas who want to pad their NFL stats. This supposedly unreplacabe BSU team is backed by players whose raw talent exceeds anything that precedes them, yet they're going through the same program that produced standouts, league titles, BCS wins and NFL draft picks every year previous.

The guys waiting behind Moore might not be able to throw as well or be quite as astute in reading defenses. It's hard to see how anybody could. But they all can run better, and they've all got an even more cohesive and experienced staff to learn from. These Boise teams are likely to get better as the years go on.

Since: Dec 7, 2011
Posted on: December 7, 2011 2:14 am

Comparing old Big East to new Big East

The logic here is just agressively silly. So, we're supposed to impressed that the departing Big East teams have had five BCS bids in 14 years, but the fact that Boise State has had two in four years doesn't count? Or that Houston and BSU both outrank the current Big East champion West Virginia but don't go to a BCS Bowl at all this year while WV does? This is your metric?

You're arguing that because the Big East has lived off its legacy of qualifying multiple-loss teams for BCS games that they're somehow superior to teams that had to go undefeated to even have a chance at the same games?

The entire article uses old bigotry to dismiss new realities. I take it as a simple fact that Boise State would destroy Syracuse and Pittsburgh, and would beat West Virginia most of the time. You've got to go back 13 years to find Syracuse in the BCS, and the last time Pittsburgh made it to the BCS they were destroyed by a Utah team that BSU stomped twice. Are you seriously arguing that because teams with an automatic qualifications made it to the BCS five times versus a team that was virtually excluded made it twice means they're better? That teams gifted with a supposed "major conference" rank had 11 of those rankings versus those who had to kick and scratch to be noticed at all only had 9?

This is a great argument why the Big East needs new blood, new thinking, new teams and a new start. 

Since: Jan 17, 2011
Posted on: December 7, 2011 12:59 am

Comparing old Big East to new Big East

To limetwister -

I think that maybe you don't know some salient facts about San Diego State.  First, SDSU is a research school with well-regarded post-graduate programs in biology, chemistry, engineering, business, international business and public administration, to name a few.  It's the largest of the California State schools by far - if State schools from Arizona, Oregon and Washington are in, why not SDSU?  The university currently requires a GPA of 3.84 for admission; academic standards are high and steadily improving.  As far as sports, SDSU already plays in the Pac-12 in Men's Soccer (and finished in 3rd place this season).  SDSU has good programs in a number of sports, both Men's and Women's, in addition to football, basketball and baseball.  The sports facilities are as good as any and better than most Pac-12 schools right now.  

But you ask what is the Pac-12's incentive to add schools if they don't get top quality.  I'll credit you with realizing the Pac-12 powers that be are not paragons of virtue - it's about the money.  San Diego is by far the largest city and metropolitan area west of the Rockies not currently represented by the Pac-12.  And San Diego is very fertile recruiting grounds for all sports, witness 4 Heisman Trophy winners in the past 30 or so years.  The Mountain West has already made inroads into the Pac-12's recruiting in football and especially basketball (the MWC is 8-2 vs the Pac-12 this season and rates now as the #3 conference in the country per Sagarin, the Pac-12 is #9).  I don't think the Pac-12 powers will particularly care to have Big East schools hosted on what they consider their turf.

Look, don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to rip the Pac-12, I root for Pac-12 teams against other conferences and you're right to say that SDSU would not be a positive right now in all sports.  And in times past, the Pac-12 could safely ignore SDSU, believing they controlled the San Diego market anyway.  But that's changing - we're a lot more than a warm body and I think the time might be nigh for the Pac-12 to take a close look at expanding their fan base by adding both Boise State and SDSU.  Doing so would provide a net benefit to both football and basketball and add two of the major metro areas not currently represented.  The final pieces to the puzzle would have to be UNLV and New Mexico.  I know, the football programs are currently rubbish and they need new stadiums, but it's about the population bases (especially in the case of UNLV) and long-term growth.  Where there are people, there are potential fans.  And where there are fans, there is money.

(And if the Pac-12 made removal of the blue turf in Boise a condition of admittance, that would not bother me a bit).     

Since: Dec 6, 2011
Posted on: December 7, 2011 12:22 am

Comparing old Big East to new Big East

I love it! Change the name to the National College Football League!  NCFL!!!!  A TRUE Coast to Coast league, great universities, great cities, up and coming (some already here) teams. The upside is HUGE. It is 2012, nearly, not 1912. All deserve to be in it to win it, just like in college baseball and college basketball. Now the Big East aka: NCFL will represent solid, strong football from the west coast to the east coast. HEY, it works for the NFL and all other major sports and College Football is a Major sport, second most popular sport in America, only behind the NFL. The Big East is set up for success, Big Time! Now it makes sense that they hired Paul Tagliabue! Major markets, Major schools, and a Major Sport.  I can easily sell that! I hope CBS, FOX or NBC steps up and shoves down it ESPNs’s throat. (Notre Dame are you paying attention? if so you might want to tell NBC this is a very good thing!)  Will anybody stand up to ESPN? Probably not, their own staff are robotic puppets or are scared to go against the canned storyline. What is old is new and what is new is old!!!  Throw in Air Force and Navy, football only and Temple and Memphis for basketball only at first and then bring Memphis and Temple in for football once they have had time to sell the new line-up and HUGE national exposure they will get, to improve their football programs(although Temple is looking real good already!)  they then will join the same year  when Air Force and Navy join!

Since: Jun 4, 2008
Posted on: December 7, 2011 12:01 am

Comparing old Big East to new Big East

I'm so curious as to how Boise State will do next year in the Mountain West, how much is the team dependent upon Kellen Moore to run the show. Will they carry on their winning tradition or end up like the Colts , who without Manning are just terrible now. I know the Broncos have a fantastic defense that can match up with just about any other college but you have to score some points. For all the naysayers ranting about a L.S.U. / Tide rematch saying they don't score well against each other , but they lit up the scoreboard against other teams. One would expect Boise to waltz through the Big East and they certainly could have done it this year. I wonder if they have another Moore in waiting? I also believe that there is growing pressure to change the current format of the B.C.S. so we shall see some change soon, if it will be enough change to satisfy the college fan we will see.

Since: Aug 17, 2006
Posted on: December 6, 2011 11:25 pm

Comparing old Big East to new Big East

San Diego State?  Ha!  I don't think the Pac 12 will stoop as low as the Big East to get warm bodies. 

Gotta love the snobby Pac-10/12 fans...

How about you just send that Pac-12 mens basketball championship trophy to San Diego this year, I believe we've alredy clinched it.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or