In an update to last night's New York Times story revealing that Syracuse and Pittsburgh have been talking with the ACC about possible membership, it is now being reported that both schools have actually sent letters of application to the conference, and at least one anonymous Big East official is saying the Orange and the Panthers are "likely gone."
I don't want to sound panicked or anything, but this is quite possibly the worst possible realignment news for UConn.
Without Syracuse and Pittsburgh, two of the founding members of the league, the Big East as we know it is dead, and UConn would be clinging to a sinking ship, a seven-team non-entity of a league anchored down by eight non-factors (when it comes to football, at least).
The league's only hope of survival would be to add Conference USA (or possibly Big 12?) teams, but if this Cuse/Pitt thing happens, I couldn't give a damn about the league's survival. At that point, it's every football-playing member for himself.
If the Syracuse and Pittsburgh drop the Big East, then UConn has exactly two options to keep its fledgling football program above water: the ACC and the Big 10.
The ACC might possibly accept UConn, but then the current rumor is"add Syracuse and Pittsburgh for 14 football members, add Texas and Notre Dame (minus football) for 16 all-sports members." In which case, UConn is SOL.
If the Big 10 expands to 16, UConn might be considered for one of the slots, but without Notre Dame, I don't know that there's a compelling reason for that league to expand; in which case, UConn is SOL.
With Oklahoma and Texas' boards of regents meeting on Monday to discuss the future destruction of the Big 12, it now appears as if UConn's future is destined to be in some hybrid of Big 12 leftovers, Big East leftovers and Conference USA hopefuls. As fun as it might be to play Kansas in basketball twice a year, that league is probably not going to be considered for membership in the the exclusive football-based cartel that seems to be on the horizon.
With the information available publicly right now, UConn's hopes seem to rest with a future SEC (or Big 10) raid of the ACC, in which case the ACC would need more replacement members, in which case teams like UConn, Louisville and Rutgers might tag along with Syracuse and Pitt as part of the fourth superconference. Either that, or some superconference megalith takes a look at the financials and decides it wants a mediocre football/great basketball program in a small state with tangential connections to both New York and Boston.
So yes, these are all rumors right now, and this post is pretty much all speculation.But this is as worrying a day as I can remember.
And it sure as hell feels as if our school was caught flat-footed and is about to have the rug pulled out from under it.