Skip to content

WVU AD: ‘I would trade Air Force… for Syracuse every day of the week’

oliver luck

No matter what happens with the Big East’s expansion plans, the conference remains on shaky ground. The possibility of another round of member-plucking by the Big 12, combined with the apparent failure by Big East officials to unanimously agree on bylaw changes (i.e., exit fees and fortifying membership), means expansion doesn’t equal security.

The Big East is trying to pick up the pieces and move forward, though. Whether or not it’s too late remains to be seen. Speaking to the Big East Network during West Virginia’s game against Bowling Green on Saturday, WVU athletic director Oliver Luck said the possible additions of Air Force and Navy as football-only members could keep the conference afloat for the immediate future.

Below are Luck’s comments on the state of the Big East:

“Let’s be honest, the reason TCU wants to be in this league so badly is that they think it’s an easier path to the national championship than it is going through Norman, Okla., or Austin, Texas or Stillwater, Okla., and playing some of their regional schools out there. So we’ve got some quality schools that are very interested in getting involved, including both Air Force and Navy. It’s no secret there. I think both of those institutions are academically excellent, very important nationally and also, I think we all can agree, they play some pretty good football.

“In fact, I would trade Air Force or Navy for Syracuse every day of the week in terms of the quality of the football program. No disrespect, but that’s just an observation I think most would agree with who understand football.”

Still, it feels like the best possible expansion scenario for the Big East is to stay on par with what they were before Pitt and Syracuse left for the ACC. Air Force and Navy, if they are indeed added as football-only members, are comparable replacements. Both have good football programs, solid academics (albeit an overrated criteria) and their fans travel well.

On-the-field results have favored Air Force and Navy over Pitt and ‘Cuse recently, but losing the Panthers and the Orange still hurts. Those are prominent brand names in a football league that had few, and it’s hard to get stronger when losing that.

Permalink 20 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Air Force Falcons, American Athletic Conference, Independents, Mountain West Conference, Navy Midshipmen, Pittsburgh Panthers, Rumor Mill, Syracuse Orange, Top Posts, West Virginia Mountaineers
20 Responses to “WVU AD: ‘I would trade Air Force… for Syracuse every day of the week’”
  1. auburntigers34 says: Oct 3, 2011 11:44 AM

    since Syracuse plays their home games in that hideous dome, i kind of agree with Luck on this one. on the other hand, Syracuse has a lot of tradition, when it comes to their football program.

  2. steelerchicken says: Oct 3, 2011 11:51 AM

    More sour grapes from the teams left behind!

  3. deadeye says: Oct 3, 2011 12:00 PM

    How ironic, WVU’s stupidity is one of the reasons the Big East is falling apart.

  4. blackdb says: Oct 3, 2011 12:27 PM

    I understand trying to put a positive spin on things. It may be true that Syracuse has not been as strong lately but they are a strong athletic program with a lot of tradition. Not really surprised by Luck going this route this is the same AD who created a public relations nightmare at his own school with the whole failed head coach in waiting mess.

  5. bbeaman78 says: Oct 3, 2011 12:40 PM

    Ummm……why is this guy being quoted…he is filling out SEC conference applications and who knows what other conferences are talking to him.

    Yeah adding Air Force would ease the blow for WVU to leave. Air Force would become a Big 12 member before the BIG LEAST.

    BIG EAST salvaging this conference is more of a joke than the BIG 12 staying together. The BIG East lost their OU and Texas when Va Tech and Miami left. Merge with Conference USA and be done with it.

  6. burntorangehorn says: Oct 3, 2011 12:59 PM

    A lot of people are under the false impression that having a service academy in the conference brings some kind of nation-wide fanbase. Other than the tiny number of alumni and a small portion of the local population, there’s really not a lot of fandom for the service academies. I was big on talking about college football with people, and I can only recall two people even admitting to being interested in watching the Army-Navy game: Gen. Ray Odierno, who was then my division commander and former West Point TE, and one lieutenant who also attended West Point. Of the many military personnel I knew who watched college football, they were all fans of the teams they followed before the army, just as I was with Texas. None could name a single player for West Point.

  7. bamafaninsc says: Oct 3, 2011 12:59 PM

    Hey Oliver Luck… Air Force is in the West! Study up on your geography… It wouldn’t be cost effective for Air Force to travel to the East coast to play conference games. How on earth did you become a AD?

  8. blastfurnaceknows says: Oct 3, 2011 1:02 PM

    Another “trade” worthy of consideration – WVU for Mount Olive Correctional Institute. The only problem is telling the 2 apart.

  9. mhalt99 says: Oct 3, 2011 1:11 PM

    and it almost makes it un-american to strip the Big East of a BCS bowl if they have them. No seriously….

  10. Ben Kercheval says: Oct 3, 2011 1:28 PM

    “and it almost makes it un-american to strip the Big East of a BCS bowl if they have them. No seriously….”

    Perhaps I’ve severely underestimated John Marinatto. I don’t think I have, but perhaps…

  11. mhalt99 says: Oct 3, 2011 2:54 PM

    Hey Oliver Luck… Air Force is in the West! Study up on your geography… It wouldn’t be cost effective for Air Force to travel to the East coast to play conference games. How on earth did you become a AD?

    Yeah!!!!! You idiot RHODES SCHOLAR YOU!!! Go run for president or something. We don’t take kindly to your kind ’round here.

  12. thesecplaysforkeeps says: Oct 3, 2011 3:43 PM

    I’m sure he’d trade any SEC team, too.

    SEC4L

  13. godeepwvu says: Oct 3, 2011 4:46 PM

    Now that is some bulletin board material if I have ever seen it.

    Way to call out that garbage Syracuse calls football.

  14. wethog66 says: Oct 3, 2011 5:50 PM

    @burntorangehorn

    Are you aware that graduates of the service academy’s are actually required to joing their respective services with a 5 year commitment? And last time I checked there are naval and air force bases all over this country, and the world. There is a reason why Navy gets a bowl invite before the season even starts for bowls located in cities with big naval bases in close proximity, because sailors and academy graduates buy tickets to the games.

    Pay more attention in , or at least attend, your geography and history classes please and stop wasting your parents money

  15. highoctane1 says: Oct 3, 2011 7:49 PM

    Sorry Kercheval – Anyone who thinks that Airforce and Navy are comparable on-field to Pitt is kidding himself. I credit the way the acadamies compete, but their win-loss records are padded through strategic scheduling to ensure bowl eligibility that is a far cry from a Pitt or Syracuse schedule. In the last 5 years, Pitt had 17 players drafted and 6 All-Americans. Pitt currently has 22 players in the NFL, including LeSean McCoy, Darrell Revis, and Larry Fitzgerald. Navy and Air Force can’t compete with that. A Pitt program in a state of mediocrity is still more competitive than a Navy program that is at its competetive ceiling.

  16. Ben Kercheval says: Oct 3, 2011 8:07 PM

    highoctane1

    Not always about on the field results or talent when talking about conference expansion. In fact, rarely is.

  17. burntorangehorn says: Oct 3, 2011 11:06 PM

    wethog66 says:
    Oct 3, 2011 5:50 PM
    @burntorangehorn

    Are you aware that graduates of the service academy’s are actually required to joing their respective services with a 5 year commitment? And last time I checked there are naval and air force bases all over this country, and the world. There is a reason why Navy gets a bowl invite before the season even starts for bowls located in cities with big naval bases in close proximity, because sailors and academy graduates buy tickets to the games.

    Pay more attention in , or at least attend, your geography and history classes please and stop wasting your parents money
    =================================
    Yes, I’m aware that they incur a service commitment after graduation, just as ROTC students do once they’ve reached a certain point. But are you aware that (a) the academies don’t have very many students, and are thus have very tiny alumni bases, (b) less than 1% of the military attends any one of those academies, and (c) the overwhelming majority of servicemembers who did not attend those academies, and many who did, don’t follow the academies’ athletics teams at all?

    I’ve spent the better part of a decade in the army, and was at numerous joint duty stations. I have a pretty good sample size when it comes to my assertions. You seem to be falling victim to exactly the faulty assumption I pointed out in my post, which was that more than a tiny number of people in the army care about the success or failure of USMA football, or the navy and air force for their respective academies. Few do.

    And I didn’t waste any of my parents’ money when I went to college over a decade ago; I went on a full, merit-based scholarship.

  18. burntorangehorn says: Oct 3, 2011 11:39 PM

    By the way, wethot66, I took the liberty of helping you with the math, in case your parents never wasted any money trying to educate you. Let’s take the army as an example.

    Number of army accessions in FY2010: 74,557 (http://www.army.mil/standto/archive/2010/10/20/print.html)

    Number of students at West Point: 4487

    Despite the relatively-high wash-out rate, let’s be generous and assume 1100 graduated from the academy in 2010. That would have constituted about 1.4% of the total army accessions that FY, although it’s almost certain that the graduate numbers were closer to or below 1000. Even if you were to make the assumption that every West Point graduate for the past 40yrs. is a fan of the football team, and even if the numbers were 1000/yr. all along (both optimistically false assumptions), you’re talking about 40,000 fans, or less than half the number of fans at a major college football game. Extend to their family, locales, and the few people in the army who would rather watch the academy than the teams they followed before joining, and you’re still talking about a tiny fraction of the number of people who love to watch Michigan, Penn State, USC, Texas, Florida, etc. You probably wouldn’t have anything close to the Syracuse fan base, either. Most significantly, even if there were lots of academy fans out there, they’re spread so thin across the map that there’s no way to make regional coverage make sense, and the numbers aren’t enough for national broadcasts.

  19. bsputnik says: Oct 4, 2011 4:37 AM

    He speaks as if Syracuse was always an awful program. It is a program only now in its 3rd season separated from one of the worst head coaching stints in history. Greg Robinson won TEN games in his tenure. This is a massive rebuilding project which showed major improvement in its second year. To say that the program is going to be that bad forever is incredibly short-sighted or stupid, I’m not sure which. Marrone isn’t even playing with seniors that he recruited. The kids he did recruit aren’t top level because the program was in shambles. When it is time to play in the ACC, this will be a very different football team.

  20. southernpatriots says: Oct 4, 2011 9:49 AM

    burntorangehorn:

    Thank you! A great posting. Your experience mirrors two family members who tell the same thing. Apart from certain commanders and maybe one or two others, entire bases/forts do not follow military academies. At Fort Polk in Louisiana, and Fort Gordon in Georgia, most members there support UGA, SC, Clemson, Florida, Alabama, TN, LSU, etc. the schools they supported before volunteer enlistment. We have been to both to help with celebrations and welcome home events. You spoke accurately!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!