Lessons learned from Big 12 courtship

Since Syracuse and Pittsburgh sent Louisville scrambling with their decisions to leave for the ACC last month, we've learned a lot about conference realignment from Louisville's unsuccessful courtship with the Big 12.

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Since Syracuse and Pittsburgh sent Louisville scrambling with their decisions to leave for the ACC last month, we've learned a lot about conference realignment from UofL's unsuccessful courtship with the Big 12.

It doesn't matter how many Final Fours you've been to, how many Hall of Fame basketball coaches have coached your program, or how many suites your downtown arena possesses.

It isn't about how loyal your program is to its current conference, or how many overall conference titles you win.

It isn't about the dance team, soccer team or any other non-revenue producing team on campus.

It's not about which city offers the most entertainment options or the ease of flying an airplane into or out of said city.

It isn't about academics profiles, beer sales or anything else.

Conference realignement is about one thing. How many television sets your football program can turn on.

That's why Louisville fell short not once, but twice, when the Big 12 had openings to fill. TCU, which won the Rose Bowl last year, brings Dallas TV sets. West Virginia, a regular in BCS standings, provides more appealing football matchups than Louisville for the Big 12's television right holders.

If Louisville is going to find a place in the emerging super conferences, they'll have to continue growing their football brand. That means fans filling PJCS regardless the opponent. It means filling the stands at whatever bowl the Cardinals participate. It means Tom Jurich has to continue providing the football program any and all resources to compete nationally. It means Charlie Strong has to go out and find the best offensive coordinator money can buy and put an entertaining, high-scoring product on the field. It means Louisville has to become the dominating football program in the Big East.

There's work to be done by Cardinals at every level.

Let's lick our collective wounds today, then go back to work!


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