I'll never forgive Pitt and Syracuse for putting a damper on beat Kentucky weekend...or for being complete whores and ruining the best college basketball conference that's ever been.
Probably even more pissed: Rick Pitino.
Who could imagine Syracuse, a charter member leaving the BIG EAST? Didn’t they check Boston College’s championship totals since leaving the BIG EAST -- one, in soccer in 2005. Why would they do it along with Pittsburgh?
So much tradition and success. The words of the Pitt chancellor ring out at the Newport, RI league meetings: we must stick together. There is a scene from the godfather where one of the capo’s of the Corleone family approached Michael at his dad’s funeral. He told Michael he could arrange a meeting to stop the bloodshed. The Godfather told Michael that the one who comes to set up the meeting will be the one who betrays the family. Robert Duval, as Tom Hagen the consigliere, thought it would be Clemenza who would be the one. Instead, it was good old Abe Pagoda as Salvatore Tessio. Michael Corleone’s response to Tom was the answer to why Pittsburgh and Syracuse would make the move. His response: it was the smart move.
Well, there you have it. The smart play was made by two schools that helped the BIG EAST explode in basketball popularity. Now, in a mere 72 hours, they are BIG EAST history.
Pitino then turns to the issue of what the Big East's next move will/should be, and gives his thoughts on potentially adding new members.
The BIG EAST will have a conference call and the football members will all say they will stick together – that is, until an offer they can’t refuse comes along. I love these movie analogies.
I believe West Virginia, Cincinnati, South Florida and Louisville will stick together. But where? Which Big will that be? The Big 12, or as I hope, the BIG EAST?
Who lands and who moves first?
The Big 12 has to wait and see what Oklahoma does. The BIG EAST must move quickly and secure four football schools to enter ASAP and be ready for two more possible defections.
Central Florida? Is Baylor or Iowa State next? What about Kansas and Kansas State? Personally, I like Memphis being tossed into the mix. Great basketball tradition (much needed with Syracuse and Pitt leaving), but they must guarantee an upgrade of their football program, which is definitely possible.
Tom Jurich is arguably one of the top athletic directors in the business. He is also a great football administrator. The BIG EAST would be wise to let him head up the search, and I mean this week.
Our athletic department now has a 74 million dollar budget with maybe the best facilities in college athletics. Our football program will be led back into prominence with Charlie Strong at the helm.
This was a 72 hour decision by Syracuse and Pittsburgh. The next 72 hours will be crucial to the
Goodbye Syracuse and Pittsburgh, you have helped us become a great league.
Not the happiest news Pitino could have received on his birthday.