As is clearly demonstrated through many of my posts, I am a big fan of college football, but the incredible time difference and lack of interest in American football abroad has made it more difficult to follow. Fortunately, Ab introduced me to the world of ESPN podcasts and so I've been able to listen to senior writers for the company discuss the major topics each week. Ivan Maisel hosts three of these each week in addition to writing multiple articles for ESPN each week and I've truly enjoyed his commentary. Not only are his articles typically very well written (the fact that he is a Stanford grad is routinely evident), but his passion and excitement for the game as a whole is contagious. Consequently, I felt inclined to submit an e-mail to him this week, some of which will be in the 'mail bag' that is discussed on the Wednesday podcasts (not looking to get my e-mail commented on, but more to have an active role in all the fun!). Here is what I sent:
First of all, I want to thank you for your podcasts throughout each week because they are a fun way to stay connected to college football despite living 10,000 miles away in Jakarta! As I have been listening this season, a couple questions have continued to nag at me and given eight weeks of sheer chaotic entertainment, the answers seem more veiled than ever, thus I was interested in your (and your co-hosts) expertise.
I grew up in Upstate New York, what I affectionately refer to as "the heart of Big East country," and have been a supporter of the league since the days of our relevance in football, i.e. when Miami, VT, and BC were still in the conference. Given the current underwhelming state of mediocrity, my first question is whether or not the Big East, with only 8 teams, will ever be relevant in the national title discussion again? The Northeast is one of the weakest areas of the country for recruiting talent and even though South Florida technically "opens up" the fertile ground of talent in Florida to the rest of the league, just as your pointed out regarding the Northwest schools and their newly limited access to Los Angeles, it only occurs every other year.
My second question involves your boys in blue; if Boise State played in the Big East, solely for the sake of argument, would their membership in the weakest AQ conference provide them enough legitimacy to put them in the national championship game if they ran the table? Given the current formula, it is foreseeable that a one-loss SEC Champion (i.e. Alabama) could play a one-loss Big 12 Champion (i.e. Nebraska) for the national championship if there are not undefeated teams in the other AQ conferences despite Boise and TCU or Utah potentially having unblemished records. Even though Nevada, Hawai'i, and Fresno are probably better than the best (whoever they turn out to be) in the Big East, would the fact that, as you said, "They (the Big East) got there first," be enough for Boise to clear this final hurdle?
Thanks again for helping to shed light on the beautiful mess of this season, it's a lot of fun to see hints of parody and some of the big boys take a backseat to the little engines that can!"