Throwdown: What conference will UCF wind up in?
Published: Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, September 21, 2011 15:09
What conference will UCF wind up in?
Andy Zunz: After patiently waiting for domino upon domino to fall, UCF fans saw something happen for which they had been waiting patiently for years.
The Big East said it "will be aggressive" in finding members to fill the conference. That is the equivalent to hearing the Hallelujah Chorus reign down from the heavens for UCF nation. Now, it all depends on how many members they want, but if its more than two, look for the Knights to be proud members of the Big East within the next three years. I think that's exactly what will happen.
Erika Esola: Not so fast, Zunz. Yes, the Big East will survive (thankfully). After Tuesday night's conference meeting in New York, conference officials in the Big East vowed to keep the conference together after it was rumored that schools like Rutgers, TCU and UConn would jump ship. So that's good.
The bad news? The Big East's first choice isn't UCF.
They want the military academies: Army, Navy and Air Force. If they can't get two of those schools, then they'll call UCF. There's always a better option than the Big East. Why not stay put in Conference USA and merge into power conference, gaining BCS status that way?
AZ: That simply won't work because there are no conferences are falling apart. There are still six automatic-qualifying conferences, leaving no room for a C-USA/Mountain West Conference merger to gain an AQ-tag, unless they surpass the Big East after 2014, which likely won't happen. If UCF stayed in C-USA and tried to become an AQ school through a merger, this would be leaving the basketball program out to dry. The team would still be playing in C-USA and recruiting like it is in C-USA. All head basketball coach Donnie Jones needs to become one of the top recruiters in the country is to say his team is in the Big East.
If the Big East knows what's good for it, it will try and move to 12 teams so it can hold a conference championship game, which would nearly guarantee UCF gets an invite.
EE: I wouldn't guarantee anything at this point, though. Every day, the conference realignment landscape is changing. The Big East is UCF's better option, but wasn't UCF supposed to get its invite a while ago? What happened with that? Now, we're starting to see behind those rumors that UCF isn't the Big East's No. 1 target.
It's clear that the Big East wants the military schools and, hell, even Villanova to make the jump more than UCF. If the Big East takes the three military academies and Villanova, UCF is left in the dust.
AZ: If that is the outcome of all of this, it proves that the basketball-only schools run the Big East. If that's the case, UCF should want no part in that conference. But, if UCF receives a bid along with East Carolina, it will be a dream come true for the Knights, and it will prove that the conference will see better days.
EE: Basketball-only schools DO run the Big East, and that's what worries me. UCF has told the Central Florida Future that "[Athletic Director] Keith Tribble has and will continue to work diligently in ensuring that UCF Athletics is in the best possible position to elevate to an automatic qualifier status."
That's good news. Before, UCFAA was giving the standard "We are happy members of C-USA" response. Seems like regardless what happens, the Knights will finally elevate themselves.