Written for your enjoyment by: Ryan McNaughton
And now, a brief respite from the Mount coaching search. My money is on Raff getting the gig. He's just using this place as a smokescreen.
The "other" school discussed at-length on this blog is Syracuse. For the second time in less than a decade, there is talk of the Orangemen (that's what they were during my tenure, and that's what they'll always be to me) perhaps jumping ship to the Big Ten. Plenty of experts and fans are weighing in, with many saying they need to stay in the Big East. To them, I say this: you're all nuts.
If Dr. Gross and Chancellor Cantor take more than three minutes mulling an offer from the Big Ten, they should be given a police escort out of Central New York. A move to the Big Ten would ensure the survival of big-time athletics for all sports at SU, not just football. The extra money (yes, this move is certainly about caish) generated would help boost the non-revenue programs that are actually doing quite well of late, giving them more of a chance to compete on the national level. It would also put them on a national television network, giving them a leg-up on recruiting.
As for the money sports: football and basketball. The football discussion doesn't even need to take place. Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State (that rivalry begins again with this move), Wisconsin, along with perhaps Pitt, Missouri and Nebraska, should they be offered, would all face Syracuse on a regular basis. Or would you be happier with Louisville, UConn, and schools like East Carolina or Memphis brought in to replace those that do indeed get the call? Football gets an "in" in the football-crazed Midwest. The 25th-best player in Ohio tends to be better than the best player in Delaware (no offense to my friends in Delaware). And heaven forbid...Syracuse in the Rose Bowl??? Sign me up.
SU is currently in arguably the best hoops conference in the land. But do you think that is going to change with a Big Ten move? Michigan State has been in half of the last 12 Final Fours. Tom Izzo coming to the Dome on a regular basis? Are you kidding me? Ohio State is always in the hunt. Purdue, Wisconsin, Indiana, along with the possible combo of Pitt/Missouri. That's a darn good conference, kids. And you can always schedule Georgetown and UConn on a non-conference basis.
I understand Jim Boeheim's concern, but this decision has to be made for the benefit of the entire program, not just his. His pipeline to New York City will not be cut off. In fact, his pipeline to the Midwest will just get stronger. Syracuse becomes an even bigger NATIONAL brand with a jump to the Big Ten.
Tradition is a wonderful thing, but keeping it in this case will come at a cost. The Big East has been very good to Syracuse, but I argue Syracuse has been even better for the Big East. SU owes nothing more to the conference. Stay, and Syracuse becomes a big fish in a mid-major football conference. What it does owe is a major Division I future to the next generation of athletes to don the Orange and blue. My hope is that future takes place in the Big Ten.