The Eastern Catholic League

20 Nov

Yesterday I wrote a long post about NCAA conference affiliations. I have an addendum. It’s related but I thought I would make it a separate post. Most conferences are mainly about football. The exception has been the Big East, which has seven members who don’t even play FBS football. Ever since the Big East started sponsoring football twenty years ago, this has made it a weird mishmash conference. Especially after it expanded to sixteen schools, a bunch of whom are only marginally in the East. The whole thing is a disaster. As a former athletic department employee of two Big East member institutions, I say this with confidence. Everyone involved knows it and that’s why any school with an opportunity to leave does. The only original Big East football member left is Temple. It’s documented kind of hilariously in this Wikipedia chart. Even schools who haven’t started playing in the Big East yet are trying to leave. The tentative football lineup going forward is:

Boise State*
Cincinnati
Houston
Louisville*
Memphis
Navy
San Diego State*
SMU
Temple
UCF
UConn*
USF
*Schools almost certain to leave. And let’s be clear: every single one of these teams would bolt if they got an invitation from the Big 12 or ACC.

This is a bad conference. There’s no logic or sense to the teams involved. The fact that most of them are bad teams doesn’t help matters. The basketball lineup is even stupider:
Cincinnati
DePaul
Georgetown
Houston
Louisville*
Marquette
Memphis
Providence
Seton Hall
SMU
St. John’s
Temple
Villanova
UCF
UConn*
USF
*Again, likely to leave.

Do you notice a pattern in the basketball lineup? It’s like two conferences mashed together: the football schools and the basketball schools. It doesn’t make any sense. It used to sort of make sense because the conference had a lot of basketball schools who also had football teams (Syracuse, Boston College, etc.). They’re all gone. The current football members don’t fit. Except for UConn, who will probably end up in the ACC, and Temple, who actually fits pretty well except for one big thing. That thing is it’s not a Catholic school. DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John’s, and Villanova are.

Those schools should bail on the Big East and start their own conference. I bet you can guess what I think it should be called. Here’s the beauty of the Eastern Catholic League: there are a bunch of other schools that could also join. Here are the Catholic universities that aren’t on the West Coast:

Big East
DePaul
Georgetown
Marquette
Providence
Seton Hall
St. John’s
Villanova

ACC
Boston College
Notre Dame

Atlantic 10*
Duquesne
Fordham
LaSalle
St. Joe’s
St. Louis
St. Bonaventure
Xavier
*which is also a big clusterfuck of a sixteen-team conference

Horizon League
Detroit
Loyola-Chicago

Patriot League
Holy Cross

MAAC
Almost the whole conference but they’re tiny and irrelevant schools.

NEC
Same as the MAAC. The NEC is notable for containing two St. Francises. St. Francis (NY) and St. Francis (PA). I enjoy this.

The ECL would be a conference that competed in every sport but football. None of these schools have FBS football teams except for BC and ND. They’re not leaving the ACC for the ECL so forget about them. The primary reason for this league’s existence is basketball. The ideal basketball conference would have ten teams. You could then play an eighteen-game double round robin conference schedule. You could still have the conference tournament at Madison Square Garden. It would be awesome. So who would be in it? Here’s my lineup:

DePaul
Georgetown
Marquette
Providence
Seton Hall
St. Joe’s
St. John’s
St. Louis
Villanova
Xavier

This is the Big East schools plus St. Joe’s, St. Louis, and Xavier. The Big East teams are easy picks. So is Xavier. St. Joe’s is next. That’s a good program. Remember when they had Jameer Nelson and Delonte West? That was a fun team. The last spot was tricky. I went with St. Louis. I didn’t want to add LaSalle and have three teams from Philadelphia. The Philly schools are a whole different ballgame and I think it’s good to split them up a bit. Some of the other omissions also have a lot of basketball history. Loyola and Holy Cross even have national championships. But I don’t think they can really compete at this level. Too bad for them.

This is a fun conference. It would be unique in the NCAA. Fans would love it. There would be good rivalries. There would be a good TV contract. It makes at least a little geographic sense. This is a good idea.

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2 Responses to “The Eastern Catholic League”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Eastern Catholic League Redux « The Pensive Years - December 11, 2012

    […] loyal TPY readers. Remember my post about how the Big East basketball schools should split and form a new league? Well guess what. […]

  2. The first annual TPY NCAA tournament preview | The Pensive Years - March 17, 2013

    […] note: Georgetown will be playing next year in the New Big East. I’d like to remind everyone that that whole conference was my idea, even if they invited Butler so they can’t call it the Eastern Catholic League like I wanted. […]

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