Say what you will about the Big East, and I have on several occasions, but the conference is not going to go silently into that good night.
Despite a membership that is shaky at best the conference is pressing forward and has made a stride towards keeping things together by locking down a television contract with ESPN trough to 2019-20 school year.
While signing a long term TV deal appears to indicate that the conference will be around for a while, it has to be taken with a grain of salt. The deal offers less money per school than the current deal that the Big East shares with ESPN and overall is worth six times less than a deal that ESPN offered up two years ago. So even though ESPN wants to keep the Big East on TV, the juggernaut sports network knows that it can afford to bargain hunt when negotiating a deal.
A TV deal is a pretty thin blanket for the Big East to try and fight off the cold with. The conference was supposed to welcome the Boise State Broncos as their new crown jewel for the 2013 season, but the Broncos decided to stay in the newly reconfigured Mountain West. The schools that are new to the Big East for 2013 aren’t overly impressive, and offer little in the way of true stability or competitiveness. Long term TV deal or not, the Big East is still on life support.
Of course, this is all part of the College Football realignment machine. The ugly truth is that the sport is now a freight train barreling towards four super-conferences. The ACC, Big Ten and SEC have positioned themselves well to survive. The Pac-12 should be considered the favorite to snag that fourth slot, but could be caught-up to. The Big East and Big 12 are looking at being shunned from the big boy table, but if a deal could be struck between the two and if they were to merge they could poach that final slot from the Pac-12 or even one of the other three already positioned to have 14 teams at the beginning of the 2014 season. Of course, that would mean sacrificing the lower rung schools in those two conferences.
I could just be making a mountain out of a mole hill, but it is all very feasible. All we know for sure is that the landscape of college football is shifting, and it looks like the Big East is trying to hold on to its spot for a little bit longer.
Follow Spenser Walters on Twitter @SpenserWalters