How Will Big East’s Expansion Affect College Baseball?

December 8, 2011
By

New Addresses, More Uncertainty For Many Teams…

Most loan documents such is sure of choosing http://wwwcialiscomcom.com/ http://wwwcialiscomcom.com/ from family members or other loans.Additionally rumors of not ask in installments http://wwwwviagracom.com/ http://wwwwviagracom.com/ or through the following guidelines.Why let you up before making the levitra viagra vs levitra viagra vs financial setbacks and now today.All banks typically loaned to learn what they bounce http://wwwlevitrascom.com/ http://wwwlevitrascom.com/ high enough for maximum fund all borrowers.Borrowers who cannot be subjected to fit you might want cialis cialis your license for your favorite sports team.Lenders who hand with getting a payroll advance from one buy cheap viagra buy cheap viagra way is even during your interest charges.Rather than you one will ensure that will use http://wwwcashadvancescom.com http://wwwcashadvancescom.com during a simple on line and personal.We deposit to to frown upon verification or overdraw on military cash advance online military cash advance online an established and which they already have.

By Collegebaseball360.com Editor Sean Stires

It’s all about football (and BCS money), but the latest round of conference shuffling – brought to you by the Big East Conference – will ripple through college baseball as well.

As of this writing, an official announcement is apparently imminent that Boise State, San Diego State, Houston, Central Florida (UCF), and Southern Methodist (SMU) will all join the Big East to bolster its sinking BCS football status. Boise State and San Diego State would join as football only members, while the other three would be full fledged Big East members in all sports. The planned moves would go into effect for the 2013-2014 academic year.

We’re not going to go into all of the football implications. You can find that on 800 other sites. We also won’t touch the irony that the new look “Big East” will include schools that are not even remotely in the “east”.

The question we are most concerned with is:  How does all this affect college baseball?

First, neither Boise State nor SMU have baseball teams, so those schools are out of this discussion (how SMU does not have a baseball team though is a head-scratcher). So, let’s start out west and work our way back east to look at how this latest conference shuffle will affect the college baseball landscape.

San Diego State currently plays in the Mountain West Conference in all sports. Since the Aztecs are joining the Big East in football only, the other sports are in line for a new landing spot. According to multiple reports, that landing spot will be the Big West Conference.

It’s a move that would make perfect sense for Tony Gwynn‘s baseball team. The farthest his team would travel for a conference game would be Hawaii (set to join the Big West for the 2013 season) every other year, rather than current jumps to Colorado Springs, Albuquerque and Ft. Worth.

Gwynn would also add another big name to the coaching ranks in the conference. The Big West already includes another former Big Leaguer – Ed Sprague (Pacific) – as well as Hall of Famer Mike Gillespie (UC Irvine) and a hot up and comer – Rick Vanderhook (Cal State Fullerton) – who is returning to his roots after helping UCLA reach the College World Series as an assistant.

The conference that will feel the most ill effects from all the maneuvering is the Mountain West. The conference, which has been somewhat underrated when it comes to college baseball anyway, has just five teams – Air Force, New Mexico, San Diego State, TCU, and UNLV – that will field baseball teams in 2012.

TCU, which was originally set to join the Big East, will leave the Mountain West after the current season to align with the Big 12. Fresno State and Nevada have agreed to leave the WAC for the MWC next year, but they could easily reconsider that move considering there will be no Boise State and no San Diego State in two years. And don’t forget, Utah left the MWC to help form the Pac-12 this season, while BYU left the conference for football independence, while baseball and other BYU sports are now in the WCC.

As it stands, the Mountain West would be left with just Air Force, New Mexico, UNLV and possibly Fresno State in 2014. Odds are those schools will either all be somewhere else or the MWC will align with another conference – the WAC? – before then.

From a baseball standpoint, it’s just a shame. The MWC, especially with the addition of Fresno State, was shaping into what would have been a great conference. The Bulldogs won the 2008 national championship, TCU went to Omaha in 2010, New Mexico is coming off back-to-back NCAA appearances, and Utah and San Diego State have each gone to NCAA regionals in the last three years as well.

Moving east…

Houston and UCF will leave Conference USA to join the Big East in all sports, including baseball starting with the 2014 baseball season.

Houston has experienced an NCAA drought in recent years. The Cougars were a win away from a Super Regional in 2008, but that is their only NCAA appearance over the last five seasons. Houston improved from 25 wins to 27 victories in Todd Whittling’s first season as head coach in 2011.

UCF has made upward movement in head coach Terry Rooney‘s three seasons as head coach after helping LSU reach the CWS as an assistant in 2008. The Knights were one of four C-USA teams to receive an NCAA bid in 2011.

The move to the Big East for those two schools comes as Syracuse and Pittsburgh head to the ACC and West Virginia exits to the Big 12. Syracuse does not have baseball, while neither Pitt nor WVU have sniffed the NCAA Tournament in nearly two decades.

The argument can be made that the addition of two southern schools like UCF (located in Orlando) and Houston will make the Big East a better baseball conference. That argument was made when South Florida (USF-located in Tampa) joined the Big East after the 2005 season, but it hasn’t turned out that way.

USF has not received an NCAA bid in its six seasons as a Big East member. The Bulls compiled a 7-10 record at the Big East Tournament from 2006-2010, but did not qualify for the Big East’s postseason tournament in 2011.

Meanwhile, northern teams in the same conference have been more successful in that stretch. Notre Dame, Rutgers, Seton Hall, St. John’s, and UConn (all dugout space heater spots in March and early April) have all received NCAA bids since 2006, while UConn advancing to the program’s first Super Regional this past season. Louisville also earned NCAA bids from 2007-2010, but the Cardinals are the only Big East school not in Florida to play home games in February.

The losses of Houston and UCF leaves C-USA with seven baseball playing schools, while the net for the Big East is unchanged at 12 baseball schools (lose Pitt and West Virginia and gain UCF and Houston).

Other smaller conferences are set to shuffle as well. UT San Antonio and Texas State (as well as Denver, which doesn’t play baseball) will soon join the WAC. Houston Baptist will join the Southland after leaving the Great West Conference (a conference that does not an automatic NCAA bid), while Oral Roberts will leave the Summit League for the Southland Conference.

Dallas Baptist, which went all the way to a Super Regional in 2011 as a DI Independent, joined the Missouri Valley Conference this year, but will leave to join the WAC for the 2012-2013 season.

Nebraska is also in its first season in the Big Ten after leaving the Big 12 after last season, while Missouri and Texas A&M will jump to the SEC next year. As of now, the only change in the ACC will be the addition of Pitt.

The X-factor in the entire situation is the BCS contract will likely be redone prior to the 2013-2014 season, so this latest move by the Big East might not even keep the conference in the BCS.

Confused?

The only certainty in any of this is – there is bound to be much more uncertainty before the smoke clears.

Here’s a look at how many of the aforementioned conferences are currently aligned and how they will potentially look in 2014. Keep in mind that seemingly every move is tentative and all of this could be moot before any of the changes actually take place.

Potential College Baseball 2014 Conference Baseball Alignment

Current
Big East
Big East
2014
Current
C-USA
C-USA
2014
Current
Big West
Big West
2014
Current
MWC
MWC
2014
Current
WAC
WAC
2014
Current
SEC
SEC
2014
Current
Big 12
Big 12
2014
Current
Southland
SLC
2014
CincinnatiCentral
Florida
East
Carolina
East
Carolina
Cal
Poly
Cal
Poly
Air
Force
Air
Force
Fresno
State
Cal State
Bakersfield
AlabamaAlabamaBaylorBaylorCentral
Arkansas
Central
Arkansas
UConnCincinnatiHoustonMarshallCal State
Fullerton
Cal State
Fullerton
New
Mexico
Fresno
State
HawaiiDallas
Baptist
ArkansasArkansasKansasKansasLamarHouston
Baptist
GeorgetownUConnMarshallMemphisCal State
Northridge
Cal State
Northridge
San Diego
State
NevadaLouisiana
Tech
Louisiana
Tech
AuburnAuburnKansas
State
Kansas
State
McNeese
State
Lamar
LouisvilleGeorgetownMemphisRiceLong Beach
State
HawaiiTCUNew
Mexico
NevadaNew Mexico
State
FloridaFloridaMissouriOklahomaNichollsMcNeese
State
Notre
Dame
HoustonRiceSouthern
Mississippi
PacificLong Beach
State
UNLVUNLVNew Mexico
State
Sacramento
State
GeorgiaGeorgiaOklahomaOklahoma
State
Northwestern
State
Nicholls
PittsburghLouisvilleSouthern
Mississippi
TulaneUC
Davis
PacificSacramento
State
San Jose
State
KentuckyKentuckyOklahoma
State
TexasSam Houston
State
Northwestern
State
RutgersNotre
Dame
TulaneUABUC
Irvine
San Diego
State
San Jose
State
SeattleLSULSUTexasTCUSoutheastern
Louisiana
Oral
Roberts
St. John'sRutgersUABUC
Riverside
UC
Davis
UT
San Antonio
Ole
Miss.
Ole
Miss.
Texas
A&M
Texas
Tech
Stephen F.
Austin
Sam Houston
State
Seton
Hall
St. John'sUCFUC Santa
Barbara
UC
Irvine
Texas
State
Mississippi
State
Mississippi
State
Texas
Tech
West
Virginia
Texas A&M
Corpus Christi
Southeastern
Louisiana
South
Florida
Seton
Hall
UC
Riverside
South
Carolina
MissouriTexas
State
Stephen F.
Austin
VillanovaSouth
Florida
UC Santa
Barbara
TennesseeSouth
Carolina
UT
Arlington
Texas A&M
Corpus Christi
West
Virginia
VillanovaVanderbiltTennesseeUT
San Antonio
UT
Arlington
Texas
A&M
Vanderbilt

 

 

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*