9-13-2012 September 13 Update

Huffington Post


Once upon a time, the major conferences in college sports seemed to make geographic sense. It was simple. The schools in the Atlantic Coast Conference were situated in the middle and southern Atlantic region. The Big East Conference was comprised of schools from the Northeast. Schools in the Southeast combined to make the SEC. The PAC-10? it was along the Pacific Coast. And so on and so forth.

But as the years went by, more schools wanted to join these major conferences. They got bigger and bigger. After a while the leagues became brands and the names stopped being literal explanations of a conference’s organizing principle. Now, the ACC has taken in some teams from the Southeast (Miami) and the Northeast (Syracuse). Teams from the Mountain West (Boise State) accepted invitations to join the Big East.

The ACC, which started out with seven teams in 1953, is set to have 15 schools in 2014. The Big East also originally had seven teams, but reached 16 in 2005 and is set to have 20 in two years.

The latest change came on Wednesday when Notre Dame (located in the Midwest) announced it will join the ACC in all sports except


“I don’t think there’s out there a better situation than the situation we have,” said Notre Dame president Rev. John I. Jenkins, via the Associated Press. “The ACC has allowed us to retain a tradition (of football independence) that’s so central to our identity in football while we’re joining a conference that athletically as well as academically fits Notre Dame perfectly.”

Both the ACC and Big East will look very different in two years. Below is a list of all the schools that have shuffled in and out of two of the major conferences in college sports. Scroll down to see how the ACC and Big East have grown over the years.

Atlantic Coast Conference

1953, Founding Year: Clemson, Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, South Carolina, Wake Forest

1991: Clemson, Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Wake Forest, Florida State, Virginia, Georgia Tech

2005: Clemson, Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Wake Forest, Florida State, Virginia, Georgia Tech, Miami, Boston College, Virginia Tech

2014: Clemson, Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Wake Forest, Florida State, Virginia, Georgia Tech, Miami, Boston College, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Notre Dame

Big East Conference

1979, Founding Year: Providence, St. John’s, Georgetown, Syracuse, Seton Hall, Connecticut, Boston College

1995: Providence, St. John’s, Georgetown, Syracuse, Seton Hall, Connecticut, Rutgers, Boston College, Rutgers, Miami, Temple, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Villanova, Notre Dame

2005: Louisville, Cincinnati, South Florida, Marquette, DePaul, Notre Dame, West Virginia, Providence, St. John’s, Georgetown, Syracuse, Seton Hall, Connecticut, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, Villanova

2014: Louisville, Cincinnati, South Florida, Marquette, DePaul, Rutgers, Temple, Providence, St. John’s, Georgetown, Seton Hall, Connecticut, Rutgers, Villanova, Memphis, UCF, SMU, Houston, Boise State, San Diego State


The football standings in the Big East will be affected by Boise State, perennially the best team overlooked in BCS polls.  Notre Dame remains independent with its lucrative TV contract, but the kicker in this hand is that the Irish can jump over other ACC schools for non-NCS bowls.


Too early to project softball lineups for 2014, but if history is a guide, the traditional Big East powers should lead the chase:  Louisville, South Florida, and DePaul.


Down in the ACC, the softball field is crowded already. Syracuse and Notre Dame should remain contenders in the new surroundings, joining former Big East foes Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech.


As indicated in the Huffington Post and AP articles, geography is no longer the major factor in conference makeup.  At the risk of sounding old-fashioned (or maybe just old), Spy remembers when there was a Southwest Conference consisting of Texas, Texas A&M, SMU, Arkansas, Baylor, Rice, and others.  Stars like Doak Walker contended for the Heisman. The Golden Greek, Harry Agganis, led Boston U with his passes and runs, but passed up the NFL to play 1st for his beloved Red Sox.  In those days, stars like Billy Wade lit up skies for Vanderbilt, Charlie Choo Choo Justice outran all the southern foes.  Vito Babe Parilli led Kentucky to an upset over Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl.  The Babe played for Bear Bryant who later introduced Joe Namath to Alabama.   Southern Cal was running back U; Penn State was linebacker U.  Has anyone at Louisville come close to Johnny U?  There were so many stars in the 1950-1990 years, before the ring of the cash register sounded louder than game-day cow bells.  There will be no more epic battles between the Irish and Spartans.  I can remember two occasions in 1941 when everybody was ushered out of the living room so that the grown-ups could listen to Oklahoma vs Nebraska, and on December 7, reports of the attack on Pearl Harbor.


On that note: remember when New Year’s Day began with the Rose Bowl parade; the Cotton Bowl kicked off first, the Rose in the afternoon, and the Sugar and Orange into the evening.  There were 30+ bowls this past season, starting as early as the second week in December.  To quote Big Daddy, there is a smell of money in the air.



An estimated 200 people jumped from the twin Towers on 911, most of them from the North Tower according to reports.  Have you ever faced a life or death situation?  How about a death or death situation, which confronted all of those poor souls above the impact line?  The idea of preserving a body for your family to bury did not survive the jump; even before the tower fell, the plaza was littered with body parts.  Next time you see a 911 flashback, ask yourself: would I have jumped?



Granted, the United States and its major allies remain committed to the political course of supporting democracy, even the glimmer of democracy, to achieve peace in the Middle East.  As JFK projected, bear any burden, pay any price…


Despite all of our aid, and our overlooking past incidents, the Arab Street remains unforgiving.  Tolerance is not in the Arab lexicon.  Doubt how many protesters and rioters actually saw that film, but it seems to take little persuasion to ignite a conflagration.  While it may be true that the terrorists had planned these events, and took advantage of wide-spread unrest, it is also true that their governments were slow to respond.  It seems that very little provocation triggers humongous violence.  We cheered when street mobs forced changes in governments and the downfall of autocratic despots, but as seen now, that same compulsion to attack and destroy can be turned on against supposed allies.


But selectively so.  When American contractors were hung from a bridge, the Arab Street did not respond.  When American embassy personnel were held captive in Tehran, the Arab Street did not clamor for their release.  When the bodies of American airmen were dragged through the streets of Somalia, the Arab street did not respond.  When Arab television showed videos of Americans beheaded, the Arab street did not protest.  Indeed, on some occasions they cheered – as Libyans cheered the man who bombed Pan Am 103 when returned by Britain, and cheered throughout the Arab world when Arab terrorists took down the Twin Towers.


While the US is putting personnel into Libya to pursue the killers, and augmenting the Marine guard at embassies, there are now seven flash points in the Middle East.  It is time for those whom we have befriended to root out the terrorist cells.  It is time for Israel and all the Arab leaders to come to the peace table and remove this hottest of flash points.


No responsible parties are clamoring for armed intervention, but the question pertains: where is that red line?  Is there a time when the dream of democracy in the Middle East gains traction, when we no longer have to worry about the Arab nations attacking Israel?  If that line is drawn in the sand, just as Ben Gurion drew that line in the sand of Palestine, how will we respond if the line is breached?


There are times when the best diplomatic efforts are to no avail, when all appeals to reason fall on the deaf ears of unreasonable foes.  It is at those times when we have to recall the lesson learned by Maggie Thatcher in the Falklands, the lesson known too well by every prime minister of Israel.  Sometimes, you just have to shoot somebody.  RFH


Leave a Reply

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