Big East: The Catfish of College Sports © Kevin Coles
At Virginia Tech, there’s something called ‘Catfish Wednesday.’ People go out to party with “Catfish: the bottom feeders of the females.” These girls will take whatever they can get with no preference to looks or personality.
With the addition of Memphis, the Big East has confirmed its role as the ‘Catfish’ of the college sports ranks. The conference will take anything it can get – regardless of geography, talent, or history. Just imagine turning on your TV to hear this: “We now send you out to sunny southern California for some Big East football. San Diego State – Houston starts RIGHT NOW!”
If I wrote those same words in August, people would have smacked me for making a dumb joke. It’s called the Big EAST, for crying out loud! Now, that moronic joke could be a reality thanks to the Catfish that is the Big East conference.
It’s almost impossible to look smart when expanding a conference. The Atlantic Coast Conference added a school that’s roughly 350 miles from the Atlantic coast. West Virginia joined the Big 12 – a conference that’s centered in the mid-west. The Mountaineers will have to travel almost 1,500 miles to play some games. Yet, these conferences actually seem like their actions were smart compared to the expansion of the Big East.
Maybe I wouldn’t be so critical of the Big East if it were taking schools that would help boost its reputation back to what it was in the early 2000s. Back then, the conference had the 2002-03 basketball champion – Syracuse – and the 2001-02 football champion – Miami.
But adding a bunch of mid-majors (Memphis, Houston, SMU, Navy, San Diego St., Central Florida) and a solid football school (Boise St.) just doesn’t cut it. The conference basically added any school willing to join. There is no central pattern to these schools. None are in a certain geographical area. None are exceptionally or historically good at a sport (Exceptions: Boise State football and Memphis basketball. SMU doesn’t count)
So, back to the party reference. The SEC, ACC, Big 12, Big 10, and Pac 12 all get to laugh at the joke that is the desperate Big East. It takes anything it can get. That attitude has transformed the conference into a laughingstock, for me at least, and given it a new nickname.
Big East conference: the Catfish of College Sports.