The seven basketball-geared Catholic schools of the Big East bolted the league en masse, rendering the conference obsolete for all intents and purposes. Of the eight teams that played in the football league in 2012, at least four are headed elsewhere in the next two years — Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Louisville to the ACC and Rutgers to the Big “Ten” — and the remainder are left in a limbo as perilous as that of the WAC.
The league pursued its salvation with a Manifest Destiny mentality that saw them target BCS Buster media darling Boise State along with their Mountain West foil, San Diego State, to bolster their credibility in a drastically altered college football landscape. They also reached for former Southwest Conference rivals SMU and Houston, Memphis and Tulane, and a Floridian expansion to Orlando with UCF’s addition.
The last-gasp plan failed. After next season, the Big East will no longer have guaranteed access to the post-BCS postseason structure. Now lumped with the “Group of Five” that comprise the divide between major and mid-major at the FBS level, the conference continues to slide toward obsolescence. Its best teams continue to be poached, and the league is combing through the dregs of their fellow mid-majors without regard for geography or demographics.
While the Big East has a moment of celebration in the wake of Louisville’s 33-23 Sugar Bowl victory over Florida on Jan. 2, the reality is that the Cardinals’ imminent departure to the ACC after next year only makes the victory hollow.