ESPN.com Big East blogger Andrea Adelson identified the Huskies loss to the Sooners in the 2011 Fiesta Bowl as one of the low points in conference-BCS history. Seems a tad extreme, but with the BCS headed for a four-team playoff scenario and the Big East soon to be without their automatic qualifying status, there are obvious and legitimate concerns about the future of the conference.
ESPN analyst Andre Ware is fully cognizant of that reality (via TheDay.com):"The only loser in this is the Big East," he said earlier this week. "Their A.Q. status is gone. There is no tie-in for the Big East champion to go anywhere. It's up to a committee to decide if the Big East has a good enough football team to go on to these bowls."
As TheDay.com's Mike DiMauro notes, Ware's comments came after the ACC became the fifth major conference to "announce a contractual affiliation with a bowl that will be part of pool of semifinal sites." It could also mean that the Big East -- along with the Mountain West, Sun Belt, and Mid-American conferences -- on the outside looking in. Dimauro's solution: the Huskies need to bolt the Big East ASAP.
"This is the best evidence yet that the University of Connecticut needs to throw itself at the mercy of the ACC. You can hate the ACC until Archie Bunker votes for Obama. You can giggle at empty seats for past ACC championship games. You can scoff at the ACC's record in BCS games. You can yearn for the good ol' days. Irrelevant. The ACC has made itself a player. While the Big East has become useless."
This is certainly unwelcome news to Boise State, one of the Big East's newest football-playing members and BCS Bowl regular in recent years. The development could also hinder UConn's ability to recruit competitively against other Division I schools that are affiliated with end-of-year Bowl games. While not necessarily indicative of what's to come, the Huskies have just five recruits through the first week of July. Back in February, the team announced the addition of 25 new faces set to join the 2012 squad this summer. It's still early and a lot can change, but it's also something that has to linger in the minds of the Huskies coaches not to mention the players they're trying to recruit.
For what it's worth, the Hartford Courant's Desmond Conner doesn't sound worried about the dearth of 2013 recruits. "There are an awful lot of kids who play football and a lot of them are going to get scholarships," he wrote in response to a reader question on the matter. "To my knowledge no school has said it has no more scholarships to give – on July 5. Players have until the first week in February to commit. They have time and the coaches have time to recruit them."
We won't know for sure for several months. For now, all the Huskies can control is 2012, and if they play well, the recruits will come.