College football fans, you may finally have your say in something important.
According to a CBS Sports report, the Big East—or, rather, what's left of it—is renaming its conference and may want to hear your suggestions. More from CBS Sports' Jeremy Fowler:
The (old) Big East, which is losing its name to the Catholic 7 basketball schools, is considering opening up to social media for conference name suggestions, according to a league source.
The league would likely do this via Twitter. Start brainstorming.
The league is currently considering a list of names provided by its branding firm. ESPN reported the league's lawyers bought the domain for "America 12."
Good idea? Heck yeah.
Look, so many of today's FBS conferences are stuck with either a number that doesn't reflect their membership—like the Big 12's 10 schools or the Big Ten's 14 schools—or their sub-names cause massive confusion.
Like the Big Ten's Leaders and Legends divisions.
Geographically, the two divisions don't even make sense. Minnesota borders Wisconsin, yet the two aren't in the same division. The same can be said with Illinois and Iowa. Moreover, the names don't give fans any hint as to which teams fall into which division. The SEC at least makes almost perfect geographical sense, except for Missouri in the East.
Giving fans a chance to name a division is a very good idea because football fans come from all demographics, as opposed to the stuffed-suit persona most fans conjure up when thinking about school presidents. These fans may be able to enlighten some of those stuffed suits who make these all-important decisions—those same guys that thought the Leaders and Legends divisions were a good idea.
Yes, the (old) Big East will probably receive suggestions rife with double entendres, jokes and downright sarcasm. And some poor soul(s) will have to peruse suggestions from both well-meaning fans and those who have nothing to do on a weekend night and feel like kvetching.
But it will be worth it. It will keep the league in the news—and right now, it needs some positive news.
Hiring some staffers who can keep a sense of humor is tantamount for a successful campaign. The Russell Athletic Bowl's Twitter account is a perfect example of how to keep fans engaged and not take the whole social media thing too seriously.
Lighten up, Francis. RT @mattzemek_cfn: Miami missed two bowl games. One of them could have been the Russell Athletic Bowl. Miami lucked out— RussellAthleticBowl (@RussellAthBowl) January 23, 2013
Self-deprecating humor is important for college football fans, but so is actually listening to the ones who care about the sport. Twitter has been an excellent interactive tool that has kept the fans and the sport well-connected.
Of course, Twitter is not without its warts. The trolls are alive and they need to be fed.
But Twitter bad boys and spambots aside, there are some concerns.
What if the league comes up with its own ideas and then asks fans to vote via Twitter on a new name? What if the new names stink? Asking fans to pick the best of the worst is not an inspiring way to kick off the league's new era.
The league will also probably have to conduct its new name Twitter campaign with numerous search filters on so as to avoid tweets with name suggestions such as "Big Least" or "Little Eight."
It will also have to respond to tweets. Ignoring suggestions will automatically temper the excitement because it's the same thing as opening up phone lines and asking callers to leave their suggestions via an automated message. Fans need personal attention and feedback.
But if done right, this could be a great use of social media for a conference trying to get back its once-storied reputation. It could bring in a whole new generation of fans. It could reward the fan whose suggestion is selected by giving him a season ticket package to his school of choice in the (old) Big East.
Positive thoughts aside, this idea is one that the Big East needs to go forward with as soon as possible. It's the offseason, and football fans are dying to talk about football. They're bored and counting the days (169) until the first kickoff of the season.
As long as the conference avoids suggestions that have geographical regions, directional names or numbers, it's a win-win.
Start opening up those Twitter accounts.