Bearcats Breakfast 5.10.12

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The Big East wheeled out interim commissioner Joe Bailey for a conference call with the media yesterday. With the state of the conference in flux, Bailey owns the job of holding the fort together while a new commissioner is found. He estimated that task will take three to four months.

In the meantime, a pressure remains to hold the current constituents together until the new TV deal -- expected to be negotiated in the fall.

Rumors circulate regarding dissension between the basketball and football schools while ESPN sources are claiming Louisville is searching for an exit.

Bailey painted an optimistic picture during a conference call. He reiterated the commitment from new members Boise State and San Diego State as well as others to being at the centerpiece of the new Big East. On the surface, Bailey could have been up there spinning the public relations magic. I doubt it, though.

Cincinnati stands at the centerpiece of a group of teams that -- while they don't make much sense through a historical or geographic lens -- can very much work in the new landscape of college football.

How does being a perennial power in one of the top six leagues in college football and an anchor of one of the greatest basketball conferences in the country sound? Oh, and toss in double or triple the current revenue from the TV contract.

You think if UC went undefeated in 2014 as they did in 2009 they would have a shot at the national title? Absolutely they would. And that's something you couldn't even say in 2009. Isn't that what this is all about? An opportunity to win championships -- conference and national -- while developing student-athletes?

It's the reality of what UC will be if this new Big East plan plays out. It's not bad at all. Anybody standing on the ledge needs to step off it, stop worrying about geographic oddities and realize the future is still pretty darn bright in Clifton.

Let's eat..

--- On the note of the intro, here's an absolute must-read for UC fans from Dan Wolken: The Misfits Could Fit.

Two excellent points derived from the piece:

1. Everyone wants to stick a fork in the conference with realignment speculation. Remember when everyone thought the Big 12 was dead? They just received a $20 million per team TV deal. Remember when everyone assumed four superconferences was the model? Apparently not.

2. This:

"But for as much as realignment has changed the landscape of college sports, one thing hasn't changed. The Big East was the No. 6 conference before, and it will be the No. 6 conference after. The only difference is the gap between No. 6 and No. 7 has grown wider than ever.

It's debatable whether the Big East is a nationally relevant football conference now, but by grabbing the schools it grabbed, it has made every conference beneath it irrelevant. Who knows whether that translates to huge television money, but the marketplace for college football is better than ever. The schools that brought their football programs to the Big East stand to gain significantly more visibility and television revenue than they ever could in the Mountain West or Conference USA."

--- A few other interesting notes and quotes from the Bailey teleconference yesterday. He won't be at all involved in the negotiation of the new TV contract. That will fall on a consultant firm that will report back to the executive committee.

--- There are no expectations of a split between basketball-first and football-first schools. Keeping those two sides cohesive will be a major part of Bailey's job over the next few months, but there is little to gain financially for the basketball schools in being unattached to the big-money football paydays.

--- Really liked this exchange about the perception problem the Big East fights:

"Q.  Whether it's accurate or not, I think there's a perception out there that the BIG EAST might be unraveling a bit or in a bit of disarray.  What short‑term things do you see out there that you can do to perhaps refute that image or to strengthen the perception of the BIG EAST on a national scale?

JOE BAILEY:  Well, I think, number one, as far as perceptions are concerned, it's very clear that the executive committee and the membership have made decisions about retaining really, really well respected strategy management consultants like Boston Consulting Group, Score Media for media, and others, to really evaluate in order to reframe, refocus, set the tone and move forward.

So that in and of itself should send an enormous and very strong message to the marketplace that the BIG EAST is very, very focused on making sure that the perception out there isn't what you just described.

And in fact, it isn't.  I can tell you just from being in the meetings that I've been in, it's not at all.  It's a very cohesive, very focused group.

And in terms of what we can do internally with all the stakeholders is simply to continue to send a message that this is exactly what is taking place.

So it's a bit of really good communications internally along with very good communications externally.

--- Remember the Sporting News list that rated UC coach Butch Jones the top coach in the Big East? They have him as the 28th best coach in the country.

--- Former Bearcats tight end Adrien Robinson
only caught 12 passes last season and played in a rotation with Travis Kelce.

He was off the radar of NFL scouts and wasn't invited to the Combine. Yet, he used his opportunity at UC's Pro Day to show off his athleticism. He ran a 4.51 40-yard dash at 265 pounds.

What did the buzz of that day earn him? Well, after signing his deal yesterday, the fourth-round pick earned himself $385k up front signing bonus for a $2.5-million deal over four years.

That's quite a lucrative workout.

--- Randomness...

--- Seinfeld is returning to TV! Sorry, unfortunately its just in some car-themed reality show. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

--- You just don't get it, do you?

--- All you really need to know about West Virginia. Surprisingly, doesn't involve couches on fire.

--- Children performing a visual interpretation of my attempts to pick up women in college. (Hint: Features much rebuffing)

--- Bono is 52 today. One of my biggest failures in life is not yet attending a U2 concert. Though, I can live vicariously through YouTube.

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