I’M SURE THEY’D LOVE TO, BUT…

Andrea Adelson blogged on Friday that the Big East needs to step up its PR game:

At a time when the Big East has lost its automatic qualifying status, it needs somebody to vociferously defend the league, to explain why the league deserves an equal share of the BCS revenue pie as the Big Ten, Big 12, ACC, SEC and Pac-12. Someone to beat the Big East drum; to make every attempt possible to let an entire nation know that the ACC is not better than the Big East when it comes to BCS performance.

Nobody in the Big East has even attempted to make this case. Or to provide a breakdown of how the Big East has done vs. the ACC in the BCS. It should be an absolute outrage that the Big East is teetering on the brink of being left out of the big BCS money. Why? Going back to the first BCS game in 1999, the ACC is 2-13 all-time; The Big East is 8-6.

It’s a nice pep talk for the Big East, which is something of a surprise coming from an ESPN entity. However, it’s hard for the Big East to make the kind of PR push that Adelson is calling for when the future of conference expansion (and by extension, Big East membership) is still unclear. While most conferences seem content at the moment, the Big 12 has a new commissioner and may or may not be looking to get back to 12 teams. Louisville and Cincinnati have been rumored as potential Big 12 targets for a while now, but with the recent $200 million/year agreement that the conference has made with ESPN & Fox , it’s hard to imagine either of those schools adding value to the deal.  It’s not surprising, then, that most rumors have involved the Big 12 poaching the ACC instead, with Florida State, Clemson, and Virginia Tech as the latest targets of wild speculation. And make no mistake– right now it really is just wild speculation. The Big 12 hasn’t made any public indication that it’s looking to expand. At this point the only thing revealed as a result of these rumors is just how dysfunctional the leadership is at Florida State. Even if it’s just speculation at this point, it’s still reason to be nervous; if the ACC is raided, they are sure to respond by poaching the Big East yet again. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that. If TV is the biggest driver in conference realignment, it doesn’t make much sense for ESPN to weaken a conference it owns the rights to while strengthening a conference that it shares with Fox.

If it’s just left alone for once, the new Big East could still put together a very lucrative television deal. It’s just hard to move into the future when the dark cloud of uncertainty is hanging over your head. Pray that the Big 12 is content with its already huge TV deal so that we can move into our own negotiations with what should be a very good football & basketball package.

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