Saturday, November 5, 2011

FAU in Big East?

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

On Friday when I was picking up My Game Credential at the Tom Oxley Athletic Center, FAU Assistant Media Relations Director Justin Johnson and I were joking around about the fact that the new Owls Football Stadium could expand two more times. It can be expanded to 45,000 and 65,000 fans in two different phases.

We did agree that it's doubtful that both of us we'll be around when these expansions take place.

But as I sit on the Sixth Floor in the Press Box with a breathtaking view of the Atlantic Ocean 2.1 miles east, watching the Owls Homecoming Game against Arkansas State, it's very easy to let your imagination allow you to meditate about what the future holds for the FAU Football Program.

As I continue to watch the college football landscape change, and as conferences find new teams to fill the void left by the departures of other schools, it makes me think of where FAU will land one day?

My best guess, and I repeat, best guess, would be the Big East.

Even though the Big East plans to enforce their bylaws to keep Pittsburgh and Syracuse from moving to the ACC immediately and West Virginia, which is Big 12 bound, to maintain any credibility long term, they'll eventually have to have 12-16 teams in football even when the 27 months end.

There are plans to invite Boise State, Navy and Air Force for football only. Central Florida, Houston and SMU would participate in all sports. The total with these additions and subtractions would be 11.

Why would FAU be a good fit for the Big East?

The conference lost it's presence in the South Florida market when the Miami Hurricanes joined the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) in 2004.

The Big East added the University of South Florida and gained the Tampa Bay market and with Central Florida it will add Orlando.

For FAU, the Big East would regain it's presence in South Florida and now with this cozy new stadium in Boca Raton, this would be a natural fit to return.

FAU has approximately 28,000 students and is the Alma-mater to more than 120,000 alumni worldwide.

Add the fact that the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area is a top 10 Television Market plus the West Palm Beach audience, and there is a lot of exposure in the region. I've driven up the Florida Turnpike and once saw a Rutgers Football billboard, therefore, nobody can forget that there are a lot of transplanted Northeasterners that traded their shovels for the palm trees.

But for all of this to happen, we all know that the next major decision Owls Athletic Director Craig Angelos makes will be the biggest.

Who will follow Howard Schnellenberger? Hopefully, we'll find out by the holidays.

The potential is here for big things especially when FAU starts winning and has a high profile coach and packs 30,000 fans at this Cozy Palace.

For the Big East to market the largest cities in Florida would provide great exposure and could only bolster their bargaining power in future television negotiations.

Now we'll just see if the Big East is Smart Enough to recognize this and quit dwelling on who is leaving the conference and find the new members that could expand their market. The addition of FIU in Miami would be a great move!.

To have four Florida Schools in the Big East would also create some good in state rivalries.

There are nothing but positives to this eventually becoming a reality.

Down the road after the coaching search, I do plan to address Angelos about his team going to the Big East.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com and his blog can be seen at http://www.scottsports33.com/.

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