There's been lots of talk about the Big East and the Big Ten possibly merging or the Big East losing teams to the former over the last month or so. I being one who likes to marinade on certain subjects prior to weighing in will cast my thoughts into the wind.
NO. No way should these conferences even think of doing anything other than a team vs. team match-up much like the Big East and SEC does; or the ACC and Big Ten. This is not corporate america but its starting to feel like it with merger-mania. Remember how many conferences have become a league of the past? At the rate these leagues keep merging and discussing the same you'll have 4 leagues: The Pac 20, The Big 24, The SEC and the The Big Twenty. In essence all the teams that are worth anything and that can afford anything will be in these four conferences. In basketball there won't be any Butlers left; they will be in the east or west, north or south division of a league conglomerate.
So who's left? Maybe division II schools who might merge with Division I-AA to form a junior league. The thought of it upsets my stomach because you'll have no more underdog to root for like you do in the Big East. Who's the underdog in the Big East? Rutgers? no because they're in the Big East. Do you root for Northwestern in the Big Ten? No they've had success and they give the perennial powers all they want while maintaining a 3.0. Stanford? They own USC these days and probably ran Pete Carroll to the NFL.
Long story shorter, the big leagues are all sitting pretty with big name schools, boosters and TV deals. The money comes in and so does the exposure week in and week out. ESPN, FOX sports and USA Today all give them plenty of coverage, so much so, the James Madison's of the world fight for a byline. And you want to make an even bigger beast of a conference? No; just leave well enough alone and let the mid-majors continue bringing us a heartwarming story from time to time. With the disbursement of talent these days, the little schools know they can compete if their guys stay together for 3 years. While the big schools have players who are one and done, the field is leveled as a result.
So I hope things don't change but with corporate guys involved in college sports and someone whispering in the ear of the big networks about the potential of owning the league and all its games, sooner rather than later it will probably happen. I won't like it, but I'll watch. I won't even kid myself...
That's the way I see it, sitting in The Box Seat