John F. Silver
I have stayed out of my thoughts on realignment more so because I am stunned at the depths it has gone — and the depths the “Big East” schools are willing to go to remain together– and also the fact that UConn incredibly remains the one big loser in all of this.
Courtesy of former Boston Globe writer Mark Blaudschon on Friday on ajerseyguy.com, there is talk of UConn and Cincinnati going with the Catholic 7 (which is a better geographic fits for all sports except football) and finding a home for football as an associate member of the Mountain West.
Blaudschon cited a UConn official, which piqued the interest of course in Connecticut.
UConn Athletic Director Warde Manuel through UConn officials and also to the Hartford Courant denied that there is any talk with the MWC as such and so forth.
Here’s Manuel to the Courant:
“We’ve never had a conversation. Our intent is to work with the remaining members of the Big East and the current members coming in. That’s been our intent all along. We have not had a conversation with any other group, any other conference, period. I have not had any conversations.”
That a refutation and out right denial of the report and it’s apparent that Manuel wasn’t the source.
But, I get the denial and why. UConn can’t cause any further uncertainty than is already there.
Let me take the other view though — Why not?
It would seem to me that everything should be on the table and there should be talks at this point.
If the MWC is willing to consider UConn and Cincinnati as associate members and allow them reasonable outs when the ACC, Big Ten or Big 12 comes calling, then why not? There is a home for hoops and other sports in the most more attractive Catholic League. If the C7 want UConn and Cincinnati, the MWC willing to take UConn and Cincinnati — why is UConn still trying to hold on to a league that no one wants to play in?
The MWC has been here before. There was that MWC sponsored document that wanted to create a 32 team super league. Here’s an October 2011 story in the Boston Globe by Blaudschon on that Super League.
In the 32-team format, the West Division would consist of Boise State, Hawaii, UNLV, Nevada, Fresno State, San Diego State, Utah State and San Jose State.
The Mountain Division would consist of Air Force, Wyoming, Colorado State, New Mexico, UTEP, SMU, Tulsa and Houston.
The Central Division would consist of Marshall, Memphis, Southern Mississippi, Tulane, UAB, Rice, Temple and Louisiana Tech.
And the Big East Division would consist of Louisville, UConn, Rutgers, Cincinnati, South Florida, Central Florida, East Carolina and Navy.
The MWC has obviously considered nationwide expansion before the Big East considered a nationwide conference. At this point, it’s the administrators that are politicking as to who will run it. What is the point?
The MWC for football is all plane flights as it is for the Big East now. That’s not an issue for once a week football games that are all chartered anyway. It’s bus rides for the other sports.
If UConn can land in the MWC with agreeable terms as associate member for football and the C7 want UConn and Cincinnati in hoops and other sports, that insures everything UConn needs in the near term. It’s a good FB conference that’s champion will get an access bowl. It also keeps hoops and olympic sports in a somewhat regional league.
The MWC is the key. UConn can’t put its football in the MAC, and it needs to secure a TV contract that will allow it to remain competitive to what the Power 5 ( how I loathe that term!) bring in.
I don’t know all the logistics and terms that are needed. But, for the first time in awhile, I am intrigued.
Besides, if San Diego State can play in the Big East, UConn can play in the Mountain West.
Would I have even considered this proposal even worthy of a blog post with my thought six moths ago? No.
But, realignment knows no limits and there is no idea fantastical enough.