OK, so the big news today is the Big East has lost its slot in the grand-daddy of all bowl games, The Brut Sun Bowl.
Now, certainly, no one is going to mention losing a bowl game for this conference as a positive, but it's really not all that much of a negative. In the previous Big East bowl setup, the conference would send a member school (or Notre Dame) to either the Gator or the Sun. Now, under the new alignment, we will simply send a team to the Champs Sports Bowl three out of four years (Notre Dame will be featured one out of the four).
- Gator Bowl: $2.5 million
- Sun Bowl: $1.9 million
- Champs Sports Bowl: $2.25 million (estimated in 2009: $2.4 million)
So, under the old setup, we go from a convoluted setup that involved a trip to Jacksonville, to a relatively easy to understand setup featuring a bowl game in Orlando with a substantially similar payout. Really, considering the Sun (and it's lower payout) could host a Big East team two out of the four years, the Big East may make more off this deal.
Is the Champs Sports Bowl on New Year's Day? No. And that's certainly a blow to the conference's pride. But what the bowl game does enjoy is an exclusive time slot, something the Gator could never afford. Now, the entire country will see a Big East team under the lights before New Year's rather than be muddled together with other (and often, better) bowl games on January 1.
The moral of the story is that this isn't terrible, and the sky is certainly not falling. This is going to likely be a very down year for the Big East, but a very young conference (with a lot of incoming talent) could be poised to break out in the coming years. Agreements like this allow us to simply hold-serve, and wait for the next agreements when the conference is (hopefully) stronger.
Anybody able to tell me I'm wrong on this?