It should probably come as no surprise that on Tuesday, Big East commissioner John Marinatto announced that the Big East will hold Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the 27-month commitment. This despite the fact the Big East could soon balloon to 14 programs in football and 19 in basketball. CBSSports' Brett McMurphy is go:
"Marinatto reiterated that the Big East would not allow Pittsburgh or Syracuse to leave the league early and must honor the 27-month exit agreement. Pitt and Syracuse will remain in the Big East through June 30, 2014, meaning the Big East could have a 14-team football league in 2013 if necessary, Marinatto said.
And you thought Boston College's final year in the Big East was awkward? Orange and Panther fans can look forward to loads of hate when they roll up into Storrs, Piscataway and Morgantown.
Both Pittsburgh and Syracuse fans are understandably peeved at Marinatto, but this makes perfect sense if you are the Big East. If Marinatto lets Pitt and Syracuse off the hook early, this would signal to Louisville or West Virginia or anyone else who wants to "Get the hell out of Providence" that they could get out while the getting is good.
The fact that Syracuse and Pitt are staying put for another three seasons ain't no thang for the ACC, as it simply gives the conference "more time to get organized and get their schedules set." This, combined with Missouri's "imminent" move to the SEC, and all signs point to the fact that the ACC is pretty set at 14 programs for now. No UConn. No Rutgers. No Notre Dame or Texas. Good with 14 for now.
UConn president Susan Herbst apparently sees the writing on the wall, and hits us up with some knowledge, Thomas Friedman-style.
"In terms of stability and finding the best institutions that fit, that you want to play, you have to go pretty far beyond where you ever thought," she said. "And that's OK. I think most of us are settled with it. Football, it's a little easier because you only go to a far away place every other year and they come to you every other year.
"The world is flat. I think we've all come to see that college athletics is like telecommunications or political organizing or any of the kind of dynamic institutions that used to be very regional. It's a national activity."
In other expansion news, the Big East may choose to host its football Championship Game at Yankee Stadium. Which doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense, until you realize that Yankee Stadium's football capacity (54,251) is still greater than 3/4 of the football stadiums in the Big East. That, and the alternative -- a football championship game played
on campus annually on the blue turf of Bronco Stadium doesn't seem all that appealing, either.
So the Big East Football Championship may soon join the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl, 2011 California Golden Bears football and the now-defunct International Bowl as other prestigious college football games played inside a Major League Baseball ballpark.