Everyone has been tricked.
It’s Halloween, and it’s time to see that the Big East conference – the one that we all know and love – has duped the fair University of South Florida.
USF has not asked for much, but it should have known.
When the Wizard of the Big East knocked on USF’s door, the Bulls were elated. They promised endless riches, a BCS bowl berth (oooooh) and elite competition (ahhhhh).
But maybe, just maybe, everyone has got it all wrong.
Maybe the Big East is nothing more than a conference of smoke and mirrors, a brilliant illusion created by the NCAA. But no one should question the all-powerful Big East, right?
USF is lucky just to be in the Big East, and it’s the best thing to ever happen to them. There have been plenty of beneficial changes made to USF’s athletic program since joining the Big East, such as a huge increase in the athletic budget. USF needs new things such as new shoes and giant television screens to make the transition, and I love my shiny new tuition hike.
The Bulls have even received awesome scheduling perks handed down by the omniscient Big East gods. The USF football team is in the 16th day of a 20-day layoff, thanks to the conference’s rescheduling of the West Virginia game to Dec. 3. Even though the entire Tampa area made a decision to cancel Oct. 24’s classes the day before, the Big East postponed a game scheduled for last Saturday, on Wednesday. It’s illogical, and at worst, could even be detrimental to the team’s performance. The layoff must make the Bulls feel like the six games they’ve played so far this season were ages ago. I’m sure it will take the Bulls a little bit of time to get re-adjusted to the game-day environment. I understand the safety concerns, but let’s give it more than three seconds of thought.
But it’s not just football. As busy as I am sure the Big East intern is, that doesn’t excuse him or her from rescheduling the USF women’s soccer season finale against Syracuse to Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis. The game was a must-win for the Bulls to qualify for the Big East Tournament, and it was one of the last places anybody on the team wanted to go.
Doesn’t USF have a right to be wary of the Big East? I mean, this is a conference that couldn’t make money with Miami and Virginia Tech and couldn’t even hold onto those teams that made the Big East a semi-legitimate conference.
And the much-coveted BCS bowl berth, how long will that last? Due to the national perception that the Big East isn’t one of the stronger conferences, the BCS is probably counting the days until that contract expires. The perception better change soon, because the Big East still has tie-ins to four bowls, and it’s not likely the conference will be able to hold onto the better bowls.
But maybe this will turn out to be a blessing. The Bulls are on a two-game losing streak, and maybe this will give players time to heal and forget about the losses. Maybe they will end up running the table and the game against West Virginia could turn out to be a “Big East Championship.”
But that’s just what they want everyone to think.
It’s time, however, to stop asking questions, avert your eyes and listen to the voice of Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese talk about Big East basketball.
“On the basketball side. I never say we’re the best, but we’re clearly as good as any conference that’s ever been put together.”
Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.