The History of Big East Conference Realignment
Conference realignment isn't a new phenomenon and Athlon Sports will prove it to you.
By: Braden Gall | 6/29/12, 6:00 AM EDT
College football expansion has taken over the hearts and minds of college football junkies everywhere.
The sky is falling, rivalries are dead and the future of college football is in great peril. I am here to tell you that this just simply isn’t the case. Conference realignment has been taking place for more than a century and it won’t stop anytime soon. Teams have been switching leagues, conferences have been created out of thin air and college football has powered through all the criticism and into the playoff era.
So just in case you don’t remember the days of Georgia Tech winning SEC titles or Grinnell College's 10-year stint in the Big 8, Athlon is here to show you conference realignment isn’t a new phenomenon.
The Big East Conference Commissioners:
Dave Gavitt, 1979-1990
Mike Tranghese, 1990-2009
John Marinatto, 2009-2012
Joseph Bailey (interim), Present
The Big East Conference Timeline:
1979: The Big East Conference was originally a league designed as a basketball conglomerate. The northeast was, and still is, a hoops hotbed for talent, fans and NCAA championships. The league started with Boston College, UConn, Georgetown, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Syracuse as its members. Rutgers and Holy Cross were also invited to join but declined.
1980: Villanova accepted an invitation one year later.
1982: Pittsburgh was asked to join the Big East in its third year of existence. That same year, Penn State requested entrance to the league, but the league members voted against accepting the Nittany Lions. What do you think the Big East would look like today had PSU been allowed to join back in 1982? For the record, Penn State won two national championships in football: 1982 and 1986. The entire dynamic of this league’s existence can be traced back to that one decision made in 1982 when Penn State was denied admission.
1991: The Big East (finally) decides to embrace football and adds major football programs Miami, Rutgers, West Virginia, Virginia Tech and Temple to the group and takes part in its first Big East football season. One year earlier, Penn State had joined the Big Ten and two years later their athletics programs began Big Ten competition (1993).
1995: Notre Dame’s Olymipic sports join the Big East. Irish football remains Independent.
2001: The Miami Hurricanes win the Big East's first and only BCS-era National Championship with what many believe to be the best college team ever assembled. Miami would go on to lose in the BCS title game the following year and has yet to return to the championship game since.
2004: Miami and Virginia Tech begin the demise of the Big East as a football power conference by bolting for the ACC. Temple is also kicked out of the league as well.
2005: Boston College follows the Hurricanes and the Hokies to the ACC. To combat the major losses, Mike Tranghese counters by adding Cincinnati, Louisville, South Florida in all sports and DePaul and Marquette in all sports expect football.
2012: West Virginia, and what would have been TCU, both decide through a very public and ugly divorce to join the Big 12. The Big East scrambles to fill it’s schedule by re-inviting the Owls of Temple — who instantly accept the invitation for football only. TCU had previously accepted an invitation to join the Big East from the Mountain West but changed its mind when the Big 12 extended its own invitation to the Horned Frogs. TCU never played a game of any kind as a Big East institution.
2013: Houston, SMU, UCF, Memphis, Boise State and San Diego State are scheduled to join the league. Boise State and San Diego State are still waffling and may never play a game in the Big East. Fans of both the Big East and each school are still sitting on pins and needles about their respective futures. The rest of Temple’s athletic programs will also officially join the league as well.
2014: Unless legal recourse allows Pitt and Syracuse to leave earlier, the Panthers and Orange are slated to join the ACC in all sports. They would be the fourth and fifth former Big East members to join the ACC.
2015: Navy will become a football only member of the Big East.
Big East BCS Bowl History
Notes: Year is representative of the fall football season, not the actual date of the bowl
(#) = final national BCS ranking
1998 Orange: (8) Florida 31, (15) Syracuse 10
1999 Sugar (National Championship): (1) Florida State 46, (2) Virginia Tech 29
2000 Sugar: (3) Miami 37, (7) Florida 20
2001 Rose (National Championship): (1) Miami 37, (2) Nebraska 14
2002 Fiesta (National Championship): (2) Ohio State 31, (1) Miami 24 (2OT)
2003 Orange: (9) Miami 16, (7) Florida State 14
2004 Fiesta: (6) Utah 35, (21) Pitt 7
2005 Sugar: (11) West Virginia 38, (7) Georgia 35
2006 Orange: (6) Louisville 24, (14) Wake Forest 13
2007 Fiesta: (9) West Virginia 48, (4) Oklahoma 28
2008 Orange: (19) Virginia Tech 20, (12) Cincinnati 7
2009 Sugar: (5) Florida 51, (3) Cincinnati 24
2010 Fiesta: (7) Oklahoma 48, (UR) UConn 20
2011 Orange: (23) West Virginia 70, (15) Clemson 33
Overall Record: 7-7
National Championships: 1-2
The History of the Big East Conference:
Special thanks to Wikipedia.com for the above image. Please help keep Wikipedia free for all by donating here.
-by Braden Gall
More Conference Alignment and Playoff Content:
College Football Playoff: Did the BCS Really Get It Wrong?
Debate: What is the Biggest Unanswered Question Left In the College Football Playoff?
Debate: Did College Football Get It Right With A Four-Team Playoff?
Debate: How Should A Selection Committee Be Used?
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