Making a push for greatness
Published: Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 01:09
What do Oregon State University, the University of Utah, Syracuse University, Baylor University, Texas Christian University, Washington State University, the University of Louisville and Northwestern University all have in common?
Is it their similar enrollment size? Yes, but that’s not the answer I am looking for.
Is it the fact that on the whole (with the exception of a few outliers) their endowment is about the same? Again, yes, but not quite on the money yet.
Is it that all are either on par or below the Miami University academic standard? Yes, but still not there yet.
Is it that all of these schools have the opportunity to play for a Bowl Championship Series (BCS) bowl via their conferences’ automatic qualification? Why yes, yes it is.
Miami is currently looking to bolster its standing within the academic community as well as bolstering the national exposure of the university through its various endeavors. What better way to enhance this national exposure than to join a BCS conference?
The Mid-American Conference (MAC) is currently a top “mid-major” conference in the world of most major collegiate athletics, but that does not mean the MAC is currently suiting Miami’s needs.
The MAC has been a great conference for the RedHawks, who joined in 1946 when the conference was founded. Miami has also dominated the MAC in football, winning 15 total conference titles, which is far and beyond the most wins of any MAC school. Miami also has the best overall bowl winning percentage (7-2 all time.) The Red and White also have the most all-time wins, with the next closest MAC school barely being within 100 wins of the ’Hawks (Miami has 665 overall football wins, the 24th most all time).
All of that is fine and good, but Miami needs more national exposure. Currently, the MAC gets about one mid-week game on national television, not nearly enough to get the ’Hawks on most TV screens every week. The MAC also currently has a television rights deal with SportsTime Ohio, a regional station based in Cleveland who is most widely known for broadcasting Indians games … and not much else.
Currently, there is an on-going process of “conference expansion”. This is where the “major” (i.e. BCS) conferences are attempting to grow in reach and stature by taking on more schools in more places. This is also an opportunity for schools to join “better” conferences, which have more revenue and more bowl tie-ins.
The MAC currently has three bowl tie ins (which means that the MAC, if it has three bowl eligible teams, will be invited to three bowl games). The Big East, widely regarded as the “weakest” BCS conference, has seven.
More bowl games means more exposure and more money.
Starting next year, the Big East will have 10 “full time” members and seven additional members who are “full time, except for football.” Starting next year, the Big East will also pick up two additional schools for “football only,” and a third starting the year after.
That leaves the Big East at 13 football schools, an odd number. This leaves room for some growth for the Big East.
Who better to fill that void than Miami?
Miami not only would bolster the Big East’s academic standing but also help expand the regional rivalry of Miami vs. the University of Cincinnati. Miami would also expand the Big East’s coverage into Ohio, a major television market.
Miami would also gain a lot from a move to the Big East, in particular more national exposure. Not only does the Big East have its own television network, but also a coverage deal with ESPN/ABC Sports.
Obviously it would take a lot of work to organize a conference shift, but it seems as if the stars have aligned for Miami. Let’s make a push for greatness.