Big day for USF: Football, hoops, Big East talk
Busy day ahead for the blog -- Tuesday brings its normal weekly news conference with Skip Holtz and his assistants, and with basketball practice underway, we'll be talking with Stan Heath and Jose Fernandez about their upcoming seasons at 11:45, just before football.
Perhaps the most intriguing, however, is a 1:30 p.m. teleconference that Big East commissioner John Marinatto is holding with the media to discuss football realignment. Monday night brought two pieces of news -- first, several outlets reported that the Big East schools voted (unanimously!) to raise their exit fee for football schools from $5 million to $10 million, on the condition that Air Force and Navy join the league as football-only members.
That bodes well for the longterm future of the league, though Monday also brought a report from the New York Times that Missouri's application to the SEC is "imminent," which could be the first domino to the Big 12 reaching out to Big East schools such as West Virginia and Louisville.
If you're worried about the Big East's future as an automatic BCS qualifying league, keeping West Virginia is a huge key. If you look over the league standings since USF joined the Big East in 2005, you'll see that WVU has gone no worse than 5-2 and is the Big East school most relevant to the final national rankings that serve as criteria for awarding BCS automatic berths.
The Big East's men's basketball preseason poll from coaches comes out Wednesday morning, but a separate preseason poll of 16 league beat writers will be released tonight. I'll try to post my ballot from that poll at some point this afternoon. I picked defending national champion Connecticut to win the league (even without Kemba Walker), edging out Syracuse and Pittsburgh. ...