Monday, September 19, 2011

Rick Pitino compares Pitt and Syracuse to The Godfather

More college coaches need to do what Rick Pitino has done and start a blog.

It gives them a chance to speak their mind without having to deal with the cliches and the generalities that come through during press conferences and phone interviews. Its just Pitino being Pitino, and the analogy he used regarding the defection of Syracuse and Pitt to the Big East is about as Pitino as you can get:

The words of the Pitt chancellor ring out at the Newport, RI league meetings: we must stick together. There is a scene from the godfather where one of the capo’s of the Corleone family approached Michael at his dad’s funeral. He told Michael he could arrange a meeting to stop the bloodshed. The Godfather told Michael that the one who comes to set up the meeting will be the one who betrays the family. Robert Duval, as Tom Hagen the consigliere, thought it would be Clemenza who would be the one. Instead, it was good old Abe Pagoda as Salvatore Tessio. Michael Corleone’s response to Tom was the answer to why Pittsburgh and Syracuse would make the move. His response: it was the smart move.

Well, there you have it. The smart play was made by two schools that helped the BIG EAST explode in basketball popularity. Now, in a mere 72 hours, they are BIG EAST history.

The chess match now begins.

Will UConn and Rutgers be the next to join the ACC as many predict?

The BIG EAST will have a conference call and the football members will all say they will stick together – that is, until an offer they can’t refuse comes along. I love these movie analogies.
It doesn't get much better than an Italian coach that looks and speaks like he's straight out of an episode of The Sopranos using a godfather analogy. (Would you all judge me if I told you I've never actually seen The Godfather?)

It also gives us a good jumping off to discuss the future of Louisville and, for that matter, the Big East. Where do they go from here? Right now, there are six football playing members left: Louisville, South Florida, Cincinnati, West Virginia, UConn and Rutgers. That number becomes seven when TCU joins next fall.

Theoretically speaking, the Big East could still hang on and hope for survival as a power conference by adding the likes of Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Baylor, and Memphis or Central Florida. The name "the Big East" will probably need some tweaking, seeing as the majority of the conference will be in the Central and Southern part of the country, but as an entity it would still exist.

The problem? That just isn't feasible. For starters, there is no guarantee that UConn, Rutgers or West Virginia are going to remain committed. The Huskies and the Scarlet Knights appear destined for the ACC as well, while the Mountaineers have been rumored to be one of the few teams in the mix for the SEC's 14th (and 15th or 16th?) spot. Replacing two football playing members is possible. Replacing five is not.

The most shocking part of all of this is that, like Kansas and Kansas State, Louisville appears to be a college sports power house without a home. The logical fit would be the SEC, but does the SEC want them? The ACC probably doesn't. Ditto with the Big Ten. It looks like the Pac-12 is going after Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. Could Louisville partner up with the Big 12 castoffs, the Big East cast offs and the likes of Memphis and Central Florida to create a league that keeps a BCS bid? To me, that is the most likely scenario.

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