UConn still looking for an invitation

With all the talk of conference reconfiguration, of additions and subtractions in the Big East membership, one school has been almost silent.


As one person familiar with the situation at UConn described it, “It’s like UConn is playing a game of musical chairs and the music keeps stopping and they don’t have a seat.”

Make no mistake, UConn officials and fans are worried. With good reason. As the ACC, SEC, Pac-12 and Big Ten have made expansion plans the past few years, the Huskies have waited. And waited. And waited.

The call never came when the Big Ten went into the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and picked off Rutgers and Maryland.

The call never came when the Atlantic Coast  Conference went north and picked off Syracuse and Pittsburgh.

The call never came when the ACC again went hunting and chose Louisville.

Forget the ten national championships won in men’s and women’s basketball by the Huskies. Forget the BCS bid the school earned three years ago. Forget the overall success of the athletic programs with  improved facilities.

UConn remains uninvited. In a world of college athletics in which conference expansion is rapidly moving to a four or five configuration of 16-team super conferences, the Huskies remain out of the main loop as a member of a Big East conference which has been under siege for almost a decade.

Now, the 7 non FBS Catholic schools in the Big East are considering breaking off on their own, which again leaves UConn wondering what is next and where do we go from here.

The evolution of UConn athletics in the past 25 years has been steady as the school has gone from the somewhat rural New England school with big ambitions simply known as Connecticut, to the school which became a national player with a swagger in football and basketball l and was proudly known as UConn. Now they are back to being Connecticut, which has some people worried, others irritated and still others confused.

UConn’s best strategy right now would seem to be a circle the wagons mentality . What the Big East must do is market what it has left and what it is getting as almost two separate entities.

Divide into a pair of 6 7 or 8 team divisions in football, play an aggressive non-conference schedule and then hope that a team emerges from the conference championship game with a higher ranking than any of the other four conferences contending for a major bowl slot in the new playoff/BCS arrangement.

In basketball, the Big East must put together a basketball/football division 16 team conference, pairing all of the Catholic schools and UConn together in one division and the remaining schools in the other division. Each school would play every other team in its division twice.

By doing this, the Catholic schools would maintain their sense of unity against familiar rivals, while also getting the benefit of whatever football money is earned. By being part of this in basketball and being part of a league in football which can earn a major bowl slot, UConn could survive, if not thrive.

At least  until someone calls.

© 2012, Mark. All rights reserved.

  15 comments for “UConn still looking for an invitation

  1. Mark's Dad
    December 12, 2012 at 9:51 am

    Mark– I assume you know the real reason U Conn is a bridesmaid-and probably will be for the foreseeable future…..All this is re-aligning is about football. If you were to ask people outside of Hartford to name one person that played football at U Conn…you might not get very far. Simply put, there is no buzz about U Conn football. Have they been to more than one bowl and if so, how many? Have they won a bowl game? Outside of U Conn, who knows the answer to those questions?….And..is it true that there are no Heismans, no Outlands, no Nagurskis no Butkis’…do they have any All Americans or first round draft choices? Almost no one knows about U Conn football. Travel around the US and ask people, Mark. So if you have no buzz about your program and you are not in a good tv market, why would anyone want you? Boise State is a more desirable conference member..and it’s not because of its basketball team. They are in a small tv market too, but they’ve beaten enough teams in major conferences and been to enough bowls that people know them. U Conn? Not so much.

    It really doesn’t matter whether they have good basketball teams. If that were the test, you could get the Philadelphia market with Temple…so why isn’t Temple being asked to go to major conferences? Why hasn’t some major conference asked Georgetown to join them? You get the Washington DC market…. And of course the reason is..neither has achieved much of anything in football (and Georgetown is not even in the bowl division).

    So U Conn is probably going to stay in the box it currently sits in for a long time. One might even ask if the gamble to upgrade to the Big East was worth it. I don’t think U Mass is going to stress about being in the MAC and that’s probably fine for them. And let’s not forget, Mass is a bigger state than Connecticut. U Conn may have aimed too high and they could end up paying the price.

  2. Dave CT
    December 12, 2012 at 9:00 am

    Things could be worse for Uconn. They could be Boston College. Yes, BC is in the ACC but given the choice between the two I’d still rather be a Uconn fan.

    • Ben Dover
      December 12, 2012 at 9:55 am


      In your war to get off the short bus, the fight goes continues.

  3. Yukon
    December 11, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    UConn should scale back to FCS football and join Del, ‘Nova, ME, Richmond (and maybe UMass) etc in football. Very solid programs in tat league.

    It can then join the A10 with the Catholics (who are most charitable toward the desperate and hopeless) for Hoops. They can still play ‘Nova, G’Town, SJU, PC, SH etc.

    UConn simply does not have the chops to maintain top level hoops, football and hockey programs.

    And ain’t that all a crying’ shame

    December 11, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    Connecticut made its bed, Mark. I would agree they may very well be waiting by the phone for a long, long time. I won’t shed a tear in the meantime!!!

  5. CAG
    December 11, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    glad you took my idea and made a longer comment on it blaus

  6. Fred Davenport
    December 11, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    Looks like UConn is not the only one in CT looking for a new conference:


  7. Barry Cousins
    December 11, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    Fear not. Well placed sources say UConn will land just fine. There are a few details to work out first.

  8. mikeinmanila
    December 11, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    Just one correction…it’s 10 (not 3) national championships in BB (7 women’s, 3 men”s)…

    • mikeinmanila
      December 12, 2012 at 1:35 am

      Some further corrections…

      * There will be 16, not 18 BB teams (7+ UConn in one division, 8 in the other)

      * There are currently 13, not 12 football schools, but expect a 14th football school to be added

      Overall, I agree with UConn trying to make the best out of the BE opportunities.

  9. Guy
    December 11, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    “The Big East should market what’s left” – That would be the Catholic 7 and CUSA. Who will pay any money for that?

  10. mikeinmanila
    December 11, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    Really?…still bringing up the lawsuit when schools like Pitt were part of it as well. The lawsuit is just a red herring meant to divert attention from BC wanting to keep the NE markets for itself, as it relates to the ACC. Funny thing is that by keeping UConn out, BC has become irrelevant in NE relative to UConn.

    That said, I agree with the analysis of what UConn should do now. I would add that UConn needs to do 3 additional things in short order:

    1. Sign Kevin Ollie to a long term contract

    2. Since the MBB and WBB programs are in good shape for the future, focus on upgrading the football program; including expanding the Rent to 55K, playing at least 1 B1G and 1 ACC team every year, playing 1 national power (e.g., USC, ND, top SEC or Big 12 team) at least every other year at a neutral site and looking for a top flight replacement for Pasqualoni if UConn doesn’t make a bowl in 2013

    3. Position itself for an AAU for an invite by 2014

    The goal should be to dominate the “eastern” part of the BE in football and shoot for a B1G invite (it’s not clear the ACC will be any better than the BE when this is all done…and SNY provides a much better platform than Raycom).

    Worst case, UConn is annually part of the championship race in the BE in all 3 sports at the end of each season. Best case, UConn is part of the B1G, with a southern ACC school, when it expands to 16. Either isn’t a bad.

  11. Pedman
    December 11, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    It isn’t just BC. FSU and Clemson don’t feel that UConn does anything for the league in football and they are right. The BCS game did more damage to the Husky’s national reputation than not, and most view UConn as more a women’s basketball school than anything else (just check their message boards).

    FSU and Clemson are the most likely flight risks. As a result the ACC is listening to them, not BC.

  12. SJGMoney
    December 11, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    That phone aint’ ringing anytime soon. Calhoun et al shouldn’t have been such d-bags when BC left the Big East. Their self-righteousness only made them a mortal enemy and now BC sits back and laughs and throws out a no vote.

    • Joker
      December 11, 2012 at 6:19 pm

      You’re right. BC does sit back and laugh. And loses. And no one cares, no one goes to games.

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