Should UB Pursue the Big East?

CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 03: Rob Trigg #45 of the Cincinnati Bearcats holds the the Big East Championship Trophy as he celebrates with fans and teammates after the Bearcats defeated the Connecticut Huskies 35-27 to claim their share of the 2011 Big East Championship on December 3, 2011 at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Tyler Barrick/Getty Images)

The old Big East was a prize for the Buffalo Bulls. It housed our closest geographic rivals, (Pitt, Syracuse), some of our historical (use the word loosely) rivals (Rutgers, UConn), it would increase our basketball profile and would give us access to our alumni base from Ohio down to the Eastern Seaboard.

But then, the Big East lost our geographic rivals. Our "historical rivals" want out. They let in Temple and the rest of the nation. Suddenly the Big East was no longer a nice option; a slow build in the MAC seemed more idea, although after 12 years of MAC play, we have yet to taste consistent success in most of our sports, especially Football and Basketball.

But things may be changing, as conference alignment tends to do. Louisville and UConn want out, badly. Boise and San Diego State are reconsidering the extra travel now that AQ status may be eliminated. Also the death of the WAC leaves their other programs with no competitive place to play. Pitt has also decided to sue the Big East to get out in 2013...Syracuse is a follower, so expect them to trail in Pitt's wake and try to bolt in 2013.

Without these teams, Navy seems likely to remain an independent.

Which creates a conference of:

Cincinnati
Rutgers
USF
UCF
Temple
SMU
Houston
Memphis
UConn
Louisville

The Big East will have 8 teams in 2012, and 10 in 2013 if Pitt and Cuse leave early.

To get to the magic number of 12, 2 additional teams would need to go Big East by 2013. To protect from defections by UConn and Louisville, the Big East might want 4 more teams. Would Buffalo want to be one of those teams?

With UConn Louisville still in, the Big East invites Buffalo and ECU.

Big NorthEast

Buffalo
UConn
Rutgers
Temple
Louisville
Cincinnati

Big SouthEast

USF
UCF
SMU
Houston
Memphis
ECU

This would not be too bad. Annual games vs teams close in distance, and teams we play often like Rutgers, UConn and Temple. With a 9 game schedule we'd also have a game in either Texas or Florida every year. The games would be bigger than our MAC games, yet not so intimidating that we couldn't compete in a few years. We would be out classed in basketball, and should consider putting our other sports in the MAAC.

With UConn Louisville out, the Big East invites Buffalo, UMass WKU and ECU.

Big NorthEast

Buffalo
UMass
Rutgers
Temple
WKU
Cincinnati

Big SouthEast

USF
UCF
SMU
Houston
Memphis
ECU

This would make the conference much easier in basketball, and a bit easier in football as well, half the division would be MAC schools. UB could consider full membership.

Conclusion, the Big East is a poorly managed crater of a conference that is a few wrong moves away from extinction. However either version of UB in the Big East seems attractive to me.

In the first version, we'd get better competition in football, more money and we'd play MAAC basketball against our rivals...I'd expect us to dominate MAAC basketball and find ourselves in the NCAA Tournament.

In the second version, we'd get arguably better football competition, while expanding our recruiting footprint and most likely receiving more television exposure. Playing Big East Basketball would open up our recruiting, bring higher caliber players and perhaps spur more investment into our Basketball facilities...it is after all easier to field a winner in basketball than football.

So I say, Mr. White should start lobbying the interim head man in Providence just in case everything hits the fan, it's time for us to be poached. What do you think?

Editors note: Does this make me as bad as Temple? I think no, this is purely business, I enjoy the MAC, and recognize that most of the MAC programs are better than ours, especially in football. However I feel the region will not support a West facing conference, (unless its the B1G), they will only support an East facing conference. Our alumni base outside of Buffalo is slanted to the East Coast. We will only succeed financially as a department by tapping the East Coast alumni base.

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