Big East: An Idea That Makes Sense
One of the more interesting developments occuring this offseason is that the NCAA agreed to allow college football teams to move away from the traditional eleven-game schedule and into a twelve-game slate. Many fans harbored dreams of adding an attractive powerhouse team to the schedule. Perhaps a home game against Ohio State or Southern Cal? Yeah, right. In the end, as usual, money won out and most teams added a DI-AA team to their schedule to give themselves another home game and the money that comes with it.
Particularly hard-hit by this amendment was the Big East. With just 8-teams, the Big East is the smallest of the BCS conferences. With each conference team only guaranteed an alternating 3 or 4 home games each season, athletic departments have to work long hours in order to find enough opponents to fill their home schedules and bankroll their programs. With the added opportunity of the NCAA adding a twelfth game, came the added burden of finding yet another game to schedule. And, on top of that, some of the Big East's teams actually lost contracted future opponents to larger programs that are capable of providing much larger payouts. The desire for additional home games combined with opponent poaching (for lack of better terms) is the reason why the Big East, and other conferences, are playing opponents such as Eastern Washington (@ WVU on Sept. 9th), Middle Tennessee State (@ Louisville on Oct. 7th), and Howard (@ Rutgers on Sept. 23rd).
So, in my neverending quest to assist the Big East, I have come up with a partial solution to their problems. Also, I have been hearing some buzz about this from my many, many hours of perusing teams' messageboards.
So, here goes: the Big East should form a scheduling alliance with Navy and Army. It would work very simply. Each season Navy would play four Big East teams (two home/two road), while Army would play the other four Big East teams. The following season, Army and Navy would switch over and play the other Big East teams, so that every two years, each Big East team would play Army and Navy once apiece. And, after four years, each Big East team would play Army and Navy twice--once at home and once on the road.
This arrangement adds one "permanent" game to the schedule of each of the Big East's teams and gives Army and Navy two guaranteed home games per season and two regionally-sensible road games. Each Big East team would now have four permanent home games each year, with either four conference games or three conference games plus the addtional Army/Navy game. In exchange, the Big East could allow Army and Navy to become a limited partner in its lower-tiered bowl agreements.
A marriage between the Big East and Army and Navy makes so much sense, there is probably no way that it could ever happen.