ENCOURAGING BIG EAST OPINION: Curiously from Mike Harris of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, a paper not in a Big East city:
There you go.
That's the solution to what is ailing the Big East Conference, a league that has the departure of Miami, Syracuse and Boston College hanging over its proud head. The Atlantic Coast Conference wants those three, and most observers think the ACC is going to get those three. That has the Big East in something of a tizzy.
De-tizzy yourself and let them go graciously if that's what they indeed decide. Shake hands, pat backs, wish each other well and get on with life.
This is a setback. This is not a death sentence.
The football would not be as strong. The Big East would be losing a powerhouse (Miami), a very strong program (BC) and a once-solid program that is starting the downward fall (Syracuse). It would be gaining two solid programs (Louisville, Cincinnati) and one that could use some propping up. Being in a league with the likes of Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh and West Virginia - a league that would have a BCS slot - could go a long way in that propping up process.
Eventually, it could be just as good. Few imagined the Big East would be as good as it is now, and look what happened.
Basketball-wise, the league is losing things in reverse of football with the current national champion (Syracuse), a very solid program (BC) and a program that has faded some after a few good years. But the additions would be a bonanza. You'd be adding a glittery assortment of coaches in Louisville's Rick Pitino, Cincinnati's Bob Huggins and Memphis' John Calipari. Throw those three in to a league that already has Connecticut's Jim Calhoun, West Virginia's John Beilein and Notre Dame's Mike Brey and you have a coaching all-star club.
It would, of course, be a geographically silly Big East, unless by East you mean "East of the Mississippi."
1 hour ago