Filed Under:

In With The South, Out With The East

Play associated audio

OK, here's the idea: Greece leaves the EU and jumps to the SEC.

Bingo! With all the television and bowl money it would get, Greece would be solvent again, and the Southeastern Conference would get that big Athens TV market.

You see, everybody talks about how colleges are all switching conferences, but essentially, they all just want to jump to the SEC or whatever best emulates the SEC. It's the Solid South of college football. Once, the South used to control Congress. Now, y'all: the gridiron.

Especially, Northern Big East schools are seeking Southern comfort. They all can't get into the SEC, so they'll settle for the Dixie next door — the Atlantic Coast Conference: Boston College left first, now Pittsburgh and Syracuse. West Virginia is the only one that didn't get the memo. The Mountaineers want to leave the Big East for the Big Twelve. Hellooo, West Virginia: You're, like, ditching Michelle Bachmann's campaign to get on the Newt Gingrich bandwagon.

But the poor Big East. When it was first created in 1979, it was a stupendous basketball conference, loaded with all those Northeastern Roman Catholic inner-city colleges like St. John's and Providence and Seton Hall that didn't field big-time pigskin combines.

But then college basketball went into decline because all the good players drop by for one year, attend a class or two and hop to the NBA. Nobody knows who anybody is in college basketball anymore. It's like drone warfare. Anonymous slam-dunks.

College basketball, which starts this week, now consists entirely of, No. 1: the Blue Devils and the Tarheels down together in Carolina; No. 2: wherever it is that John Calipari has taken his portfolio with this year's bunch of transient freshmen; and No. 3: UConn, if it can keep anybody eligible. Plus, of course, Dick Vitale, screaming at the top of his lungs.

The Big East is more like a commune now than a conference. Everybody does his own thing. Some teams, like pretty soon, one that's all the way to the far East — in Idaho — only play football in the Big East. One just drops in to play lacrosse.

Others, though, play in lots of the conference's sports. Notre Dame plays most everything, except it won't deign to play Big East football. Gino Auriemma, the UConn women's basketball coach, says if Notre Dame won't compete in Big East football, it should get its Irish derriere out of league basketball, too. But Notre Dame still thinks it's too good to be in just anybody's football conference. Notre Dame is still under the illusion that it's China, when everybody else knows that, really, now, it's just Taiwan.

You see, the SEC is what Notre Dame used to be. The Irish ought to wise up, lower their academic standards and go plead to get into the SEC before Greece does.

Over all this, the NCAA pretends to preside. The NCAA is to college football in 2011 what the League of Nations was to Europe in 1935.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Lisa Lucas Takes The Reins At The National Book Foundation

Lucas is the third executive director in the history of the foundation, which runs the National Book Awards. Her priority? Inclusivity: "Everyone is either a reader or a potential reader," she says.
NPR

The Shocking Truth About America's Ethanol Law: It Doesn't Matter (For Now)

Ted Cruz doesn't like the law that requires the use of ethanol in gasoline. So what would happen if it was abolished? The surprising answer: not much, probably.
WAMU 88.5

The Latest on the Military, Political and Humanitarian Crises in Syria

Russia continues airstrikes in Syria. Secretary Kerry meets with world leaders in an attempt to resolve the country’s five-year civil war. A panel joins Diane to discuss the latest on the military, political and humanitarian crises facing Syria.

NPR

Twitter Tries A New Kind Of Timeline By Predicting What May Interest You

Twitter has struggled to attract new users. Its latest effort at rejuvenation is a new kind of timeline that predicts which older posts you might not want to miss and displays them on top.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.