Instead, those same people will now say Boston College should join the breakaway Catholic schools in a small-time football, OK-time basketball league.
This is because there’s not going to be a Big East soon, and developments this week have made certain of that. As of Thursday, it seemed clear that seven FCS-football “basketball schools” — Georgetown, St. John’s, DePaul, Marquette, Seton Hall, Providence, and Villanova — will secede from the Big East and deliver the final death blow to a conference that has been slowly deteriorating for about ten years.
The departure of Boston College in 2005 may have started the downward trek for the Eagles’ former conference, but it was not until years later when things accelerated. West Virginia couldn’t get out of the conference fast enough, while Syracuse and Pittsburgh had one foot out the door and Louisville just recently got a lifeboat off of the sinking ship. In order to try to counteract this, the Big East, much like a main-sequence star becoming a dying red giant, expanded as far as it possibly could to swallow up new members, even if those members were thousands of miles apart. As far as football goes, what is left of the conference is a smattering of Conference USA programs and schools that geographically have no business being there, like Boise State and San Diego State.
None of the schools set to depart the conference were football members, but try replacing seven more basketball schools on top of losing Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, and Louisville. Oh, that’s right, they’ve tried, but what they’ve come up with is unimpressive at best and hysterically pathetic at worst.
Those Catholic schools should talk an eighth basketball member from somewhere east of the Mississippi into joining them — not Boston College, by the way — to even the numbers out and go their own way. It will be a decent conference; not an elite one, but decent. Meanwhile, the Big East will have lost so much that there’s not enough C-USA left to raid. They tried some extreme reactionary expansion, but their great pan-national experiment failed before it even started, especially since it drove the basketball schools to the escape pods. The programs that joined recently would be better off returning whence they came; their old conferences will likely be happy to have them back.
If I were a Big East athletic director right now, I’d be getting up on the roof and waving to the helicopters for rescue.