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Big East Declares End Of Competitive Football, Invites Memphis To Join League

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The Big East has called a teleconference for 1:00pm today to announce the end of relevant football being played in its league. At the same time, they will invite Memphis to join the league for all sports.

I know there won't be automatic qualifying BCS conferences in a couple of years. And I know what Memphis does to the league for basketball. And I know the Providence mafia had to swallow a lousy SMU team and mediocre Houston and UCF teams for the sake of football. And I know about barbecue and blues and Beale Street blah blah blah whatever. USF, or any other football-centric member, even the brand-new ones, shouldn't care about any of that. Football brings in the money and football pays the bills. Adding Memphis's pathetic football team is an absolute non-starter. It cements the reality that Big East football is now Conference USA football circa 2003 or so, and will be even worse than that after Louisville is eventually picked off. Everyone -- including coaches, high school recruits, and TV networks -- will be able to see that.

This is a horrific failure any way you slice it. Whether you want to blame John Marinatto for being lazy, shiftless, and reactive for the last however many years... or you want to blame Judy Genshaft and Doug Woolard for trusting Marinatto, or for taking USF's golden ticket and throwing it straight in the trash... or you want to blame other athletic directors or conferences or whoever... or you want to blame ourselves for not winning enough or not supporting our teams enough... everyone deserves it.

A long time ago I wrote about what would happen if a tipping-point team like Memphis or Southern Miss ended up joining the Big East, and now we're likely to see it come to fruition. Because basketball isn't a factor, this move hurts USF worse than anyone else, with the possible exception of Rutgers. Unless there's some kind of miracle out there that I don't see (like the Big XII inexplicably rescuing USF as a 12th member after they take Louisville), we're right back where we started as an athletic department 10 years ago, with absolutely nothing to show for it but a lot of debt.