Say so long to the old Big East. Say hello to the new Big East. Say hello to something called the American Athletic Conference. Say hello to Louisville’s year of purgatory before the Cardinals advance on to the Atlantic Coast Conference.
This July 1 is the day of change. Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Notre Dame are no longer Big East members. They are now ACC members. Notre Dame football remains an independent that is now contractually obligated to play five ACC opponents a year.
Big East leftovers Louisville, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Rutgers, South Florida and Temple are now in the American Athletic Conference. They are joined by former C-USA members Central Florida, Memphis and SMU for football. Rutgers joins the Big 10 this time next year.
Meanwhile, the new Big East is primarily a basketball league that now includes Butler, Creighton, DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John’s, Villanova and Xavier. That’s a pretty good basketball league.
Plus, the new Big East has Gus Johnson and Bill Raferty. The duo will broadcast Big East basketball games on the soon-to-launch Fox Sports One.
Back to Louisville. This move hurts the ‘Ville in the short run but helps it in the long run. In football, Louisville will be a pre-season top 10 with not much hope of climbing higher in the rankings. Through little fault of its own, U of L’s 2013 football schedule is beyond bad.
The Cards may not be as talented in 2014, but their schedule will be much more appetizing. As for basketball, Memphis appears to be the toughest challenger to Rick Pitino’s Cards. Louisville’s success in 2013-14 wouldn’t depend on its league.
Anyway, it’s July 1 and the deck has been shuffled and the Cards have been dealt. They’ll be reshuffled again this time next year.
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