With 'Catholic 7' Taking the Name, How Can the Big East Re-Brand Itself?

Michael FelderNational CFB Lead WriterMarch 1, 2013

EAST HARTFORD, CT - DECEMBER 01: Johnny McEntee #18 of the Connecticut Huskies drops back to pass against the Cincinnati Bearcats during the game at Rentschler Field on December 1, 2012 in East Hartford, Connecticut. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

It's the million-dollar question, and the true answer will only come with time. Time is what it is going to take for the new conference name to work for the old Big East.

ESPN's Brett McMurphy, Andy Katz and Dana O'Neil reported that the "Catholic 7," also known as the basketball schools of the Big East, would keep the name once they split from the league.

This is a harsh blow to the football side of things. It's another in a long line of gut punches suffered since the conference expansion rodeo started a few seasons ago.

The league has taken some serious hits, and where football is concerned, the Big East name has been dragged through the mud. Folks are calling for the Big East to lose its BCS bid. Pundits are calling it the Big LEast on national television.

Even wins such as West Virginia over Oklahoma and Georgia on the big stage carry the caveat of "that team isn't there anymore."

With all that said, perhaps, as my guy Frank the Tank posits, the name change could end up being a good thing for the league. After all, it's not that often that you get to start from scratch from a naming standpoint.

Whether it works remains to be seen, but if the football schools in the Big East are going to come out on the positive side of things, they have to understand that time is the most important factor. Re-branding is a process, and the league has to concentrate its efforts, working in unison, on building an overall vision.

The NCAA is just now seeing the return on its massive re-branding effort from 2006. Yup, it has been that long since the NCAA decided to go from Division 1-A and 1-AA to FBS and FCS, respectively.

Plenty of people battled that name change, didn't like it and reverted to using the old monikers. However, over time people got used to seeing the letters and understanding what they mean, and now FBS/FCS are an accepted part of the college football fan's lexicon.

Re-branding takes time, and in the case of the new, nameless conference, it's about more than just the name change that the NCAA pushed for the subdivisions. This effort will be about a mission, an on-field product and growing an identity for a group of schools that had little to nothing to do with one another in prior years.

However, one thing the league does have going for it, which the NCAA lacked in the FBS/FCS switch, is the ability to make its own way. If the league puts a good product on the field, it will help the branding effort.

That doesn't necessarily mean winning national titles—rather, it is about playing good, exciting football and competing on the big stage.

If the teams can help themselves, then over time this re-branding venture will take care of itself, and, quite frankly, that's what the league needs more than anything.