New TV Deal Won't Save Big East Football

Michael FelderNational CFB Lead WriterFebruary 25, 2013

EAST HARTFORD, CT - DECEMBER 01: Brendon Kay #11 of the Cincinnati Bearcats stands behind center against the Connecticut Huskies during the game at Rentschler Field on December 1, 2012 in East Hartford, Connecticut. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

The writing has been on the wall for a while. The Big East would, when it was all said and done, not get the last laugh. They have been poached by the ACC and the Big 12. Their automatic bid for the big money bowl is gone after this season.

Now, the television deal that they were hoping would galvanize the new look conference, did not come to fruition. As the New York Times reported over the weekend, the Big East has agreed to terms with ESPN for $130 million over the next seven seasons. This deal comes two years after ESPN offered the conference a better deal, worth more money.

Talk about a humbling experience.

This deal won't save the league. It won't give the remaining members the cash they need to improve facilities and retain coaches against more cash flush competition in other conferences. It won't stop teams from looking across the aisle hoping for a better situation.

But, that should come as no surprise.

We've all been watching this drama play out over the last few seasons. The ACC grabbing Syracuse and Pitt. The Big 12 getting West Virginia. The Big Ten scooping up Rutgers while the ACC decided to pull Louisville to replace the loss of Maryland.

Worse than being poached, was the backing out of the conference by teams who never played a game. TCU was the first to split before they played a down of Big East football. Then Boise State elected to stick in the Mountain West, adding more insult to injury. 

It was not just the transition that spelled out the shaky future of the Big East's television contract. The shifting landscape of college football provided a window into just how devalued the conference's product had become. The Big East went from automatic bids like the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC and Pac-12, to being lumped in with the MWC, Sun Belt, MAC and Conference-USA for post-season prospects.

Ultimately, for Big East fans, there are two ways to view things. For the USF, UConn and Cincinnati types, who were a part of the league people considered to be a BCS Conference, they have to deal with coming down to earth and the reality of the situation. For the new kids on the block, entering the league, they will have to realize that the step up they thought they were taking, it not really much of an improvement at all.

In a decade the league has gone from top of the world to just another "have not" in the grand scheme of college football. The playoff is only going to further marginalize the conference and with the low television dollars, they won't have the cash to close the gap that currently exists.

No need to pile on, the numbers and the outcomes are reflecting the state of it all.