Saturday, September 17, 2011

Syracuse in the Eye of Conference Realignment Hurricane

There aren't many things that could bring Daily Onions out of hibernation before the start of the college basketball season. However, there are a few no particular order:
  • A face to face meeting with Daily Onions favorite Brad Stevens
  • Winning a contest that allows us to go to the Final Four the next 10 years
  • Daily Onions being bought by a huge sports website
  • A monumental move that changes the landscape for Syracuse and Big East Athletics.
We really wish we were writing about one of the first three items on that list. But instead it looks as if Syracuse, one of the founding members of the Big East Conference back in 1979, is packing its bags and heading to the ACC.

Our initial reaction, as you would expect from a life-long fan and alum of Syracuse, is anger, disgust and sadness. While football is obviously driving this decision, we immediately turn our thoughts to the effect on Syracuse basketball. Let's think about the potential changes we'll see:
  • Long-time rivalries with Georgetown and UConn, become yearly matchups with Wake Forest and Virginia (yes, as well as Duke and UNC....still, not the same).
  • The Big East Tournament every March at Madison Square Garden turns into a trip to Greensboro, NC...I hear its lovely in early March.
  • At least 4-5 games on ESPN's Big Monday, with Sean McDonough, Jay Bilas and Bill Raftery calling the game, the obvious best team of college basketball announcers in the business. We'll now have to endure Mike Patrick and Dick Vitale making out with each other on the air while talking about how good Duke is.
It's obvious that Big East die-hards and traditionalists are disappointed with this move. However, with conference realignment such a fluid situation (seems like you sound smarter if you say something is "fluid"), this could be a case of Syracuse making a proactive move to ensure that they aren't "standing up when the music stops" (credit to 'Cuse fan @cbombard for that analogy).
Hurricane Realignment headed straight for Big East

We'll take it one step further. Conference realignment is a hurricane, and it is coming straight for the Big East. Syracuse Athletic Director Daryl Gross gets a call that says "if you know what's good for you, evacuate now." The storm is coming, and you are better off getting to a safer place now because we don't know how bad this could get.

How bad could it get for the Big East? Well, there might not BE a Big East (somewhere Mike Tranghese is crying). With rumors of four super conferences emerging - Pac12, Big 10, SEC and ACC - said hurricane could take out what we all once knew as the Big East.

If Syracuse ignores the evacuation warning, and like a stubborn homeowner on the east coast in the eye of the storm, says "I built this place, I'm not going anywhere," they could end up standing on the roof of their house waiting for someone to rescue them. If Syracuse waits to long, there might not be anyone coming to pick them up.

We're not quite ready to embrace this potential change, and it will indeed take some time to get used to it. But if this hurricane is as bad as it could be, we should be glad Syracuse got out before it was too late. 

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