Call me crazy, but I like the potential of the new Big East better than the old one.
This is why Orlandoans should not only be excited today — they should be ecstatic.
History is at hand.
Don't allow the doomsdayers or naysayers to ruin it.
One of the most important days in UCF sports history is imminent.
Correction: One of the most important days in Orlando sports history is imminent.
The UCF board of trustees will meet via teleconference this morning and is expected to give President John Hitt the authority to accept a forthcoming invitation to the Big East. Unless something totally unexpected happens — which, of course, is completely possible in the whacked-out world of conference realignment — UCF will likely accept the Big East's invitation next week in what will go down as the most significant development in Orlando sports since the making of the Magic.
This would be the hometown university's first foray into the world of big-time — er, medium-time college football. And, please, don't try to ruin UCF's party by pointing out that the Big East is just a shell of its former self. So what? A shell of a BCS league is better than no BCS league at all.
Can you believe there are actually critics out there who think UCF should turn down the Big East because of the tumultuous state the league is in? Are you kidding? You get into the BCS whenever and however you can, and then you take your chances.
Let's be bluntly honest: If the Big East weren't weakened by defections, UCF wouldn't be getting an invitation. How ironic, huh? The Big East once felt UCF didn't bring enough to the table to join a BCS-affiliated league, but now the league is adding schools like UCF in a frantic attempt to remain a BCS-affiliated league.
It has been trendy in recent weeks to rip the Big East for losing programs such as Pitt, Syracuse and possibly West Virginia and Louisville. My question is this: Since when did Pitt, Syracuse, West Virginia and Louisville become the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse? Did I miss something? We are talking about Pitt, Syracuse, West Virginia and Louisville, right, and not Notre Dame, Alabama, Texas and Florida?
If I'm Big East Commissioner John Marinatto, I wouldn't wait for Louisville and West Virginia to leave; I'd boot 'em out right now and spin it like this: "We're getting rid of this riffraff so we can add better teams from bigger markets."
Seriously, a case could be made that the Big East is adding football teams (UCF, Boise State, Houston, SMU, etc.) that are not only better right now than the defectors but with more future potential as well. Two of the expected new members are No. 5-ranked Boise State and No. 18-ranked Houston, both undefeated and ranked higher than any of the departing teams. In fact, the proposed future Big East has three teams ranked in the top 25 — one more than the current Big East.
Not only that, but look at the size of some of the TV markets the Big East is adding: Dallas (fifth), Houston (10th) and Orlando (19th). Now compare those to what the Big East is losing: Pittsburgh (23rd), Louisville (50th), Syracuse (81st) and Morgantown (3-zillionth).
The bottom line is this: The Big East was the weakest of the BCS conferences before the most recent defections and will remain the weakest of the BCS conferences with the new additions. So what's the big deal?
What's amazing is the shortsightedness displayed by some of the big-boy leagues. The Big 12, for, instance, is trying to add either West Virginia or Louisville. If the leaders of that league had any vision, they would add UCF and USF in a package deal and seize a TV and marketing foothold across Florida's Interstate 4 corridor from Tampa to Orlando to Daytona Beach.
Who knows? Maybe such a move will happen in the Big 12's next phase of realignment.
But that's another story for another day.
Right now, it's time to get ready for a civic celebration.
History is at hand.
UCF, pick up the red courtesy phone.
The big time is calling.
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