Years from now, nobody will believe the Big East used to really matter in college football. Historians will look at the BCS configuration and be baffled why the Big East was part of it.
Two years ago, the Big East turned down a ESPN deal worth $1.17 billion or $1.4 billion, depending on the report. The deal it signed a few weeks ago is worth $130 million. The conference has no name. The basketball-only schools took that in the divorce. And it's still collecting teams in hopes of a revival.
Tulsa is the latest school to join. The school announced it will become a full member of the soon-to-be-named conference on July 1, 2014.
Nothing against Tulsa. The move is probably good for the school, although the spread-out nature of the conference will be a pain at times. It has built a good football program, and it should do quite well in its new conference.
But the former Big East, once considered a power which was recently promising riches to any school who would join, wouldn't have dreamed of raiding Conference USA for members even a few years ago.
Here is the lineup of members in the new conference, via Tulsa's release:
Beginning with the 2014-15 academic year, the Conference will consist of the University of Central Florida, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Connecticut, East Carolina University, the University of Houston, the University of Memphis, Southern Methodist University, the University of South Florida, Temple University, Tulane University and the University of Tulsa. The U.S. Naval Academy will become a football-only member in 2015.
There are some solid football programs on that list. But that's not exactly a power conference anymore.
In 2011, Air Force made the decision to say no to the Big East. A lot of people couldn't understand at the time how the academy could turn down so much money and so much prestige that it would have gotten in the Big East. It turns out, that was one of the few prudent moves made during realignment.
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