I can hardly believe the words I am typing, but seemingly out of nowhere Tulane is joining the Big East at a press conference this afternoon. Many thoughts come to mind, but once I extract the laughter, here's what I come up with.
- It's a big win for Tulane baseball. With the lone exception of Louisville, The Big East is a much worse baseball conference than the CUSA. Hell, the move might just put new life into Rick Jones' job (this is where I remind you the Greenies haven't made the NCAA tournament since 2008). The only down side is that you lose the benefit of the doubt from the selection committee if you have a bad year. On a good year, the BE is a two or three bid league, at best.
- Tulane basketball is another winner, at least locally. In it's current state, I have no problem believing LSU might lose some local recruits to a Big East school in it's backyard. Ask me that question again in a few years and I might have a different answer though. And lets not forget that the Green Wave hasn't sniffed the NCAA's since the 90's. How much cachet does a terrible Big East program really have?
- I can't actually figure out what, if anything, this does to Tulane football. By the time Tulane joins, more than half of the Big East football members will be former CUSA teams anyway. There still seems to be a lot of hope around Tulane's program these days with the new home stadium on the way and the re commitment from the school, but the Dome remains empty and HC Curtis Johnson's first year was hardly a success. With the new geographic oddities, can Tulane really say they are in a better football conference than CUSA or even the Sun Belt?
- What has happened to the Big East? The league was damaged with recent exits, but Tulane is not the answer to anyone asking the question "How do I make my conference better?" They don't give you the New Orleans TV market (a market that is still just a shadow of itself 10 years ago). They drag down the level of competition in almost every sport. Yeah, there's tons of academic prestige, but is that really worth anything in today's college athletics besides lip service?
- Other than the potential to steal a few basketball recruits, this wont effect LSU in the least. We'll still fight over the same high level players for baseball, and LSU football recruiting may as well be in a different universe than the Green Wave right now. And just forget any wistful ideas about bringing "The Battle for The Rag" back. We paid them handsomely to get out of that home-and-home contract when they were a lowly CUSA team. Why would that series suddenly be more appealing if Tulane was in a Big East that is essentially CUSA plus Boise St?