In general, we all know there's little to love about the Big East. They're a basketball conference masquerading as a football conference. They'll have one good team a year (Rutgers 2006. Cincinnati 2009) but generally they play lackluster football. They're not even tied to a BCS Bowl! They're the redheaded stepchild of the BCS family.
But... is there something that we can learn from them? More after the jump.
Recently I came across this snippet in a Big East blog (I was bored, okay??)
Nick Carparelli, an associate commissioner for the Big East, is in charge of the league's scheduling and he "backloads" the league schedule with the schools he thinks will be the better teams each year so they play later in the year with more at stake. All he did this year was schedule the No. 1 vs. 2 teams (Cincinnati vs. Pitt) No. 3 vs. 4 (West Virginia vs. Rutgers) and No. 5 vs. 6 (UConn vs. USF) to play this week, while ending the regular season of the league's worst two teams (Syracuse and Louisville) last week. Brilliant.
This could certainly be an interesting idea for the Pac-10.
1) It'd be more exciting for fans. College football is already plenty entertaining. High scores, double-overtime nailbiters, douchebag what's-your-deal-ing coaches - the whole shebang. But what would make it even better? More drama. (Trust me, I'm a professional.) Ideally, the season needs to build to a climax as it wears on - this is part of the reason why people love conference championship games so much - one final battle, for all the marbles. But CCG's alone do not drama make. Look at the SEC, for example.
From day one, you already know how the SEC's entire season's gonna turn out:
Florida is gonna crush. Yawn.
"Did I just score our 10th or 11th touchdown of the game? I lost count."
Alabama is gonna crush. Yawn.
"I'm taking this metaphor literally."
Lane Kiffin's ego is gonna write checks his body can't cash. Yawn.
"For the last time, I was NOT cloned from Andy Richter's stem cells. Also, our 2010 squad will be greater than the 1972 Miami Dolphins."
There's no suspense! There's no DRAMA. Now, the Pac-10 is already plenty exciting year-to-year since we're such a strong conference overall. But imagine if we could get the OOC/Wazzu/ASU/etc. games out of the way early. We could avoid the potential letdown of ending the year on a anticlimactic note. Imagine the buildup of playing OSU and Oregon and USC to wind down the season! (Rivalry games would still be the last games of the season, of course). Playing big games early is okay, but having them all steadily build up to a giant end-of-the-year adrenaline rush? It could be awesome.
2) It'd be good for ratings. This is the big potential gain. As we know, no one east of the Mississippi watches Pac-10 football. Hell, no one east of Colorado watches Pac-10 football. At the beginning of the season, it's all OOC games anyway, so no big loss. But all the conference games usually get lost in the shuffle, so we still lose out. But if we can stuff all the high-profile games at the end of the season when national interest is at a fever pitch, we just might be able to steal a bigger piece of the TV pie, rather than having people choose syndicated episodes of Everyone Hates Twist over the Cal/U-Dub game, like they will this Saturday. We might just be able to get them to give a damn.
As much as I hate to admit it, this is one thing we could stand to learn from East Coast Football.