MORGANTOWN - Cleaning out a crowded notebook and a cluttered mind while wondering in what direction the Big East is headed:
And no, that's not a rhetorical question. Of course it's headed south where football is concerned. Do we really need to revisit just how bad this conference is right now when only two teams are not 1-2 in league play? And those two are a 3-0 Pitt team that lost by 28 points at home to Miami and a 3-1 Syracuse bunch that lost by 31 at home to Pitt.
Please, let me do some math for you. I'm going to extrapolate scores here (Syracuse lost to Pitt, which lost to Miami, which lost to Florida State . . . keep going through Oklahoma, Missouri, Nebraska, Texas, UCLA and Stanford) and just point out what would happen according to those comparative scores should Syracuse, the second-place team in the Big East, face Oliver Luck's kid out at Stanford. The Orange would be - get this - 207-point underdogs.
Add top-ranked Oregon to the mix and the Duck a l'Orange line would be 226 points. Against Pitt, the No. 1 team in the country rates 195 points better than the No. 1 team in the Big East.
Still, that's not the direction we're talking
No, the Big East presidents and athletic directors are scheduled to meet in Philadelphia today with expansion presumed to be on the table. If it's not on the table or not heavily discussed, well, then those guys are living with blinders on. The time for doing something is long past.
True, the options are not earth-shaking. Adding TCU and perhaps Houston would be seen in some quarters as innovative, in others as a reach by a desperate group. But hey, this is a desperate group (see accompanying story).
Inviting Central Florida or persuading Villanova to upgrade to big-time football sort of falls into the second of those categories (desperation) and is in no way the first (innovative). Throw in names like Temple or Memphis or East Carolina and the feeling is pretty much the same.
Here's the thing, though: The time has come for action, any action. It's kind of like those football coaches who don't mind when their players make the occasional mistake as long as they're going full speed and trying. Passivity is not something the Big East can afford right now, even with the Big Ten in an apparent holding pattern until the whole Nebraska thing shakes out.
Yes, expansion may eventually - shoot, immediately - cause the basketball-only schools in the league, or vice-versa, to bolt from what would be an unwieldy 18- or 20-team megamonster, but inaction is just as certain to spell the doom of the football side.
OK, so it can be argued that the football side is already doomed, but if it is going to go down, go down swinging.