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Should the Big East change its name?


As was noted just a little while ago, the Big East looks to be on the verge — for the final time, we hope — of adding five new schools in both football and basketball, including Boise State.

Officially, it’ll be Boise State and San Diego State for football-only, and Central Florida, Houston and SMU as full members.

It’s a mess, a hodgepodge — whatever you want to call it.

The striking, and head-shaking, graphic of what the Big East will look like come 2014 can be seen here in THIS PICTURE courtesy of Bryan Fischer of CBS Sports. Of course, it should be noted that it includes highlighted states for both football-only and basketball-only members, so not every team will play one another.

Still. Just, wow.

I understand that college football is a business, and the Big East is doing what it believes will help it keep its automatic BCS bid (it’s sad that it comes down to that), but this has taken conference gerrymandering to a whole new level.

The Big East isn’t east… exclusively; it isn’t big… although you can insert your own punchlines there.

So should the Big East consider changing it’s name?


Let’s be honest, it doesn’t have the brand recognition of the Big Ten, SEC, or even the Big 12 — at least in football. And what brand recognition it does have in football… well, you guys know.

You could make an argument that the Big East should keep its title as-is because of the reputation with basketball, where it rakes in TV rights dollars, but isn’t that part of the reason why the Big East is in this situation to begin with? Because of consideration given to the basketball side?

And, as our own Mike Miller opines, perhaps Big East basketball won’t survive as it’s known today.

The Big Ten can stay the Big Ten — and, heck, they can name their divisions Legends and Leaders — because they’re the Big Ten. The Big 12 has two programs — Texas and Oklahoma — married (at least in business) to that conference title. Branding is one of the most important aspects to the financial health of conferences, institutions, etc. Schools like Texas, for instance, fight tooth and nail to protect the Longhorn brand.

Even the new Pac-12 is a brand, and commissioner Larry Scott has done as great a job as anybody selling that brand.

Brands are created and sold in the hopes that we’ll find a relationship to it, that it will invoke some some emotional connection.

The Big East needs to understand how branding can help, or in its current case, be detrimental. The brand of Big East football is a joke. Now’s the chance for change. Conference expansion is obviously not about the consideration for the athletes; the Big East wouldn’t bring in Boise State, which has no significant TV market and is a traveling nightmare, if it was.

The choice to bring in the Broncos was a branding and football decision.

If I’m the John Marinatto, I’m hiring the best marketing and PR firm money can buy and re-work the brand. Why continue to associate with something that’s stood for failure and punchlines the past few years?

The Big East is starting over — again — isn’t it time the name, the meaning, the atmosphere does as well?

Sound off below with your thoughts.

Video: There’s nothing wrong with Cardale Jones

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In the minds of some in the media and even more in the fan base, Ohio State in general and Cardale Jones specifically have been underwhelming through the first five games of the 2015 season.

Jones, in particular, has been a rather large target of much of the angst.  Coming off a Cinderella-like three-game postseason run that helped OSU to a national championship, the perception is that Jones has been underwhelming and underperforming; even head coach Urban Meyer appeared to be leaning in that direction as he considered making the switch to J.T. Barrett prior to the Western Michigan win before reaffirming his commitment to the redshirt junior.

Is that perception valid?  Statistically, he’s not that far off from where he was in the 2014 postseason, at least in a couple of categories.

He’s completing 61.3 percent of his passes this season compared to 59.4 percent in the games against Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon.  It was 9.9 yards per attempt in that three-game stretch last season, 8.2 in five games this season.  When it comes to scoring and turning the ball over, however, that’s another matter entirely.

He threw a touchdown pass every 15 pass attempts in the 2014 postseason; this season, it’s one every 21 attempts.  Even more glaring, he’s currently throwing an interception every 21 attempts as well.  During the run that made him a household name, it was one pick every 37.5 throws.

So, fewer touchdowns plus more turnovers equals validation of the angst, right?  Not so fast, at least as far as the college arm of Pro Football Focus goes.

UCLA suspends P Adam Searl following arrest on rape charges

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A very serious allegation has triggered the latest resetting of the “Days Without An Arrest” ticker.

UCLA confirmed in a statement that Adam Searl (pictured, No. 39) has been indefinitely suspended from the football program.  The move comes nearly a day after the punter was arrested on three counts of rape.

He was released a handful of hours after his arrest on a $300,000 bond.

“We have been informed of the situation involving Adam Searl, and we take these accusations very seriously,” UCLA head coach Jim Mora said in a statement. “Adam has been suspended from the team indefinitely while the legal process runs its course. Due to the ongoing police investigation, we are unable to discuss this matter further at this time.”

The arrest stems from an incident that allegedly occurred in the middle of last October, and is the result what the Los Angeles Police Department described as “an exhaustive investigation.” As for what led to the charges, here’s the Los Angeles Daily News‘ account of the alleged incident:

The victim, a student at UCLA, reported the alleged assault to the LAPD on Oct. 14, 2014. She told police that she had met the suspect outside of an off-campus house party in Westwood. They went to another residence, where she fell asleep and awoke to find him assaulting her. She was able to identify Searl following the police investigation.

Searl punted 11 times as a redshirt freshman last season. He had punted five times this season as the backup to Matt Mengel.