One of the lesser-talked about topics during this whole Big East Expansion rumor mill has been the scenario that is beginning to seem all too real - the potential of the Big East Conference to split-up. Amongst the conference members, it's no secret that there are some lines that are beginning to form between the 'football schools' and the 'basketball schools.'
The so-called basketball-only schools are viewed as sort of a little brother in the eyes of the football schools. In a time where conferences are desperately trying to become as strong as possible, the Big East has been the target of almost everyone around the country when it comes to the product they put on the football field. To be frank, many just don't think they have that much to offer. And when you consider that, you can understand the tension toward the basketball schools - they can't help at all with football.
That was the reason that prompted the Big East to go out and get TCU - a premier football program that could go toe-to-toe with anybody in the country. And as they look to continue their expansion, many in the Big East would much rather take on another school from outside it's own community to fill a football void. Villanova is obviously one option, but majority of Big East fans would rather bring in a school like UCF or Houston.
What does this all mean? The popular belief is that it means that the football schools may be interested in breaking off and forming their own conference, leaving the basketball-only schools to fend for themselves.
We'll continue this and get to how it relates to Villanova after The Jump.
As a die-hard 'Nova alum, I won't deny that a major reason why I want to move up in football is because I can see this situation brewing. The 'super-conference' theory scares me. You'll either be a have, or a have-not. And as it stands, Villanova would be a have-not if Doomsday were to happen. So having FBS football is a must for me to ensure the future of our athletics program.
So that's why this proposed Big East split confuses me. Basketball may not be much when compared to what football can provide in terms of revenue, but there's no doubt that basketball is a strong number 2 to football when compared against every other sport. So providing an excellent basketball product is a huge plus - and right now the Big East does it as well as anybody.
And while we're an FCS football program now, we're a very good program, and a program that if transitioned to FBS status wouldn't take long to be competitive. This isn't some 20-year project, it's a more of a 5-10 year transition. Much the same as UConn.
And we know what 'Nova can offer in basketball. If a split were to happen, the football schools would be losing some strong programs. So why is it that 'Nova isn't an attractive option in either scenario?
If you want to stay together, you can't really add too many more schools from the outside. 'Nova fits the bill if you want to keep a dominant basketball conference together while expanding your football base.
And if the conference were to split - it doesn't change much. Ideally you want 12 teams. Currently, you have 9. That leaves 3 schools to recruit, and in terms of a basketball/football package, I'm not sure you can find 3 that are better than Villanova.
I think it'd be a shame if there was a split. Rumors were flying that the Big 10, Pitt, and Rutgers were exploring the option of bringing the Big East schools across enemy lines. Credit to Pitt, they denied any interest from the get-go. Rutgers - they were interested but ultimately nothing happened.
But I think this can still work -and with Villanova playing a prominent role in keeping the conference together and improving the football product. Let's hope the football powers at the Big East see it the same.