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Losing out on Big East is good news

Contributing Writer

Published: Sunday, August 22, 2010

Updated: Sunday, August 22, 2010 19:08

Central Florida Future

CFF Archive

Tunnel vision can be dangerous.

All the talk just a few weeks back was about conference re-alignment. Things were going to change in a big way. While there were a few moves made — and the feeling lingers that more are still to come — it wasn't the massive shift that caused speculators to either drool or break out in hot sweats.

For UCF, the move seemed obvious: The Big East.

An automatic qualifying BCS-conference. A renewed series with rival South Florida. It seemed too perfect; the Big East would fix all of our problems. We'd be in the type of conference that would enable us to recruit BCS-caliber athletes, get more national exposure, and finally realize our potential.

That was supposed to happen. It hasn't.

However, it's not necessarily a bad thing that it hasn't happened yet, and it could even be a good thing, that we're "stuck" in Conference USA.

First, to play devil's advocate with the Big East: I'm not saying joining the conference couldn't do all these positive things for UCF's athletics programs. It could do all of them and more. But it's just not as perfect as some would like to think.

For starters, though the Knights would pretty much be guaranteed a renewed series with USF, they're UCF's only geographical rival in the conference. The Big East is a northeastern conference. Notre Dame-Southern California aside, most rivalries are based on proximity (at least in their origins) because teams didn't travel as far as they do now.

C-USA, although labeled as spread-out and random, actually fills out fairly nice as a Southern Conference with East and West Divisions, UTEP in west Texas being the farthest west and Marshall in West Virginia being the farthest North.

USF is the red-headed stepchild in the Big East map, and by joining, we would only become the red-headed stepchildren. Neither school truly fits geographically.

Also, the Big East has an automatic BCS bid, but does anyone know why? It has some high-profile schools, especially in basketball, but even the best Big East football team can't stand up to the upper echelon SEC, Big XII, Pac-10 or ACC. Look at any preseason poll and find the Big East teams. Well, there's Pitt and West Virginia … and … um … that's it.

Any conference jump is largely a football move, which makes sense; football makes the most money for the school, and for the most part other sports aren't nearly as limited by their conference. The Big East is a basketball conference with football teams. Why would you jump to a basketball conference for football reasons?

Finally, depending on how things play out, UCF could have other options.

The SEC is a tradition-steeped conference and therefore a long shot, but Orlando fits well geographically. The long shot is if the SEC decides to expand to a super-conference.

The ACC is probably the best option for an upgrade, both geographically and competitively. As opposed to a series with one in-state rival in the Big East, the ACC provides two of them: Miami and Florida State, which are higher profile and more tradition-rich than USF, despite that the Bulls have been on the rise the past few years.

There is the possibility of two mid-major conferences, including C-USA, forming a new conference and getting a BCS bid. Then UCF definitely wins.

It's far-fetched to some, but then again, wasn't most of this re-alignment chatter not too long ago? Nonetheless, it's a rumor, and thereby a possibility.

The underlying point here is this: We're in C-USA, and that's just fine. It's time to stop using our conference as a crutch.

UCF can become a national power; the kind a university of this size should be, in all sports, regardless of conference.

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Wed Aug 25 2010 16:06
most UCF fans I know are hopeing for a BIg East invite but will bad mouth it until they sign the paper. This article is a joke.
Wed Aug 25 2010 13:46
Man, I didn't realize how many USF students read our paper. Hahaha that's awesome. Hate on pansies.
Tue Aug 24 2010 00:51
How are you complaining that UCF has no potential for better athletes? The Southeast region of the USA is a breeding ground for fantastic athletes in Football, Baseball, and Soccer to say the least. Also, the SEC is not looking for expansion--the Chairman clearly stated this during the fiasco a couple months ago.

UCF has been competing in Division I football for many years now and has had a plethora of opportunities to advance into a better conference, with better athletes. UCF history claims at least 2 All-Americans, 3 Pro-bowlers (Including Daunte Culpepper), and a list of other great football talent. USF was in the C-USA for a couple years before moving to the Big East and still ended up with All-American caliber players, and then some.

Also, when was the last time UCF fought for a top 25 rank or even close to it. The Big East would go for schools like ECU or Houston or Tulsa (despite geographical location) who have been ranked and have played well recently.

As a writer, choose your stories more wisely.

Carl D
Mon Aug 23 2010 21:42
Let me get this straight. The below average Big East does not want UCF, however the SEC and the ACC which according to the writer are much better conferences do want UCF. Yeah right, how delusional is that. By the way the writer may want to check the Big East vs ACC record over the last few years, you will find it interesting.
Dave W
Mon Aug 23 2010 16:34
Exactly who has UCF beaten? USF has a long list of top-25 wins and wins against other non-Big East BCS conference schools. Landing Josh Reese and Jeffrey Godfrey does not suddenly make you an SEC-caliber school. .
If you were worth anything as a writer, you'd check OOC records against BCS opponents. The Big East is 2nd to the SEC among the 6 conferences in winning percentage over the past 5 years. While it is true that no team is a clear cut superpower, it is also true that 3/4 of the conference is currently receiving votes in one of the two major polls, and moreover, that 3/4 of the conference has been ranked within the past 3 years. That's why the Big East has a BCS bid. Stick UCF in the Big East and they might (I emphasize might) win one Big East game. I suggest you get back in touch with reality and try to emulate your middle brother, USF, instead of your big brother, UF.
Mon Aug 23 2010 15:48
I mean, I knew UCF fans were retarded, but this article turns the stupidity dial up to 11. UCF would be LUCKY to get a Big East invite, and SEC or ACC would poach a Big East or Big 12 school before even considering Unbelievably Crappy Football. Knights should be happy they are even I-AA, especially with their middle school caliber "stadium," Bright House field.
Mon Aug 23 2010 13:37
What have UCF's sports teams done on the field to even merit consideration for a BCS conference bid? Your football team won the C-USA championship once, and other than that, there's not much else. UCF's been banking on potential since the Culpepper years, and that's not good enough.
Mon Aug 23 2010 12:59
The SEC is a pipe dream for at least 50 years. The ACC is possible depending on if the Big 10 or SEC takes ACC teams eventually. UCF's options for BCS likely include (in order):

The Big East
A BCS blended conference with CUSA/MWC, etc
An entirely new system of BCS that includes all schools (not likely)

Mon Aug 23 2010 11:36
SEC? ACC? Keep dreaming Stevie. Those conferences would become a laughingstock by adding UCiF.

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