What Do We Do with the Watered-Down Big East?

Michael FelderFeatured Columnist IVNovember 9, 2016

Dec 01, 2012; East Hartford, CT, USA; The Cincinnati Bearcats celebrate their win over the Connecticut Huskies for a Big East Championship title at Rentschler Field. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Not a damn thing.

I'm not a Big East basher. Quite honestly, I think it has some schools that could be pretty good at football if they were blessed with solid coaching, so don't mistake this for the guy parroting the "Big LEast" rhetoric that's become remarkably tiring over the last few years.

No, this is not about how "the Big East sucks," folks. Rather, it is about the shifting landscape of college football. This is the final season of the BCS. That means the automatic bid—the gifted spot into the postseason promised land of the money bowls—only lasts for another cycle. 

That gripe is gone. The Big East, MAC, MWC, Conference USA and Sun Belt will now be forced to earn their way into one of the major bowls or the playoff.

As Sports Illustrated reported back in November, only the highest-ranked member of the outside five would be guaranteed a spot in the six major bowls. While it looks promising for the Big East, this does still mean that its best squad would have to beat out teams like Boise State to get that spot.

In other words, with the Big East being forced to earn a spot in the future, you don't have to do anything with the league. You leave it be, the same as you would the rest of the smaller leagues. Let them fight over what's left, get money where they can and chase the numbers that other, bigger leagues are pulling in on the regular.

According to CBS Sports, the Big East is closing in on a television rights deal with NBC Sports. It is certainly not a big-money deal, reportedly coming in at around $20 million a year for the league as a whole.

Losing brands like Syracuse, Louisville, Pittsburgh and West Virginia hurt the conference's value. As did having Boise State elect to return to the Mountain West.

In the immortal words of Kurtis Blow, "That's the breaks. That's the breaks."

Nothing needs to be "done" with the Big East. The schools left in the league have to live with the reality every day—a once-proud conference now fighting for survival against the crushing circumstances of college football's modern landscape. No need to remind them about it. Every time they look at their checks, they realize just how far they have slipped in the last few years.

My advice? Leave the Big East alone. The playoff is settling things out just fine and Lord knows, as a whole, the league has been through enough. No need to relegate the teams, the cruel process of expansion and the new playoff has buried them plenty.