With the impending apocalypse of the Big East as it was known for a brief fart in time, what's going to happen to USF? Are we going to look back at the Big East years as the good ole days? INSERT PANIC HERE!
Ok, we don't have to panic, at least not yet. As long as conference realignment doesn't end soon, we should eventually be the last kid to get picked for kickball; we just can't let the ball roll by when we are up to kick. There are three outcomes, but only one we have any control over.
Outcome #1: C-USA 2: Metro Boogaloo: USF, Cincinnati (for now), UConn (for now), Temple (for now), Houston, Memphis, SMU, UCF, ECU, Tulane, Navy (for now)
If/when the basketball schools depart, the above is our conference in 2014/2015. It will be worse than when we were actually in C-USA because, ugh, we’ll have to share the conference with UCF. And we can forget about the hodge-podge above keeping Boise State and San Diego State in the conference; the Mountain West will be a superior league, our TV contract will be miniscule, and there’s no auto-bid to one of the premier bowl games.
There might clause in the contract for the basketball schools to keep the "BIG EAST" name. So we'd have to rush into naming this island-of-misfit-schools of a conference, which will totally end up great. (PLEASE POST HILARIOUS CONFERENCE NAME IDEAS IN THE COMMENTS). And we'll still be in a conference without a conference title game.
Cincinnati and Connecticut are the top two choices for the ACC if/when they get poached by the SEC, Big XII or Big Ten, so they might not even be around in 2014. We're going to have to keep dealing with teams ditching our conference. But if the ACC does get poached, that leads to . . .
Outcome #2: The Big 12 wants to get into Florida, but doesn’t want USF
There’s been very little written linking USF to the Big 12, but the Big 12 is going to have to expand eventually, just to keep up with the Joneses. The only real get for them marketwise are southern teams in the ACC. But if they only take FSU, then ACC still has Miami, so they won’t really need to add another Florida school. The Big XII, SEC and ACC would each have a school in Florida. So USF loses out on the musical chairs.
Our only hope is that either a) the Big 12 grabs both FSU and Miami, forcing the ACC to add USF to maintain a presence in Florida, or b) the ACC somehow convinces Miami and FSU to never leave, and the Big 12 gets hasty and adds USF.
Outcome #3: ACC Armageddon: everyone expands but them
There’s this theory that the power conferences all want to get to 16, but don't want to add schools in markets they already inhabit. Let's imagine everyone comes after the ACC.
If that’s the case, let’s say the Big Ten, with 14 schools, takes two more ACC schools, Syracuse and Virginia. The SEC, also with 14 schools, takes VaTech and NC State. The Big 12, with 10 schools, takes six schools: FSU, Miami, Clemson, Pitt, Georgia Tech, and Louisville. The ACC would have four schools left: BC, UNC, Duke and Wake Forest, and no schools in Florida. USF would be a target, along with pretty much everyone east of the Mississippi.
Even if the Big 12 only takes two to four schools, and only one of FSU/Miami, the ACC would only have six to eight schools; just to get back to 12, USF should be near the top of the list along with UConn and Cincinnati.
After wanting conference realignment to end in 2010, at this point, we really really want conference realignment to continue. Even the ugly girl/dude gets a date eventually, right?
For now, USF fans will have to hope Willie Taggart gets us on track, stay patient with conference realignment, and hope our patience doesn’t have to last forever. It might suck for a couple years.