That is what the new-look Big East is about to find out.
Before an announcement is even made about the additions of Boise State, Houston, SMU, UCF and San Diego State to the league for 2013, pundits are ripping it, and questioning why it deserves an automatic qualifying bid for a BCS game.
It is because established programs such as West Virginia, Syracuse and Pittsburgh are heading to other conferences while folks, especially in the east, turn their noses up because of stadium size, conference affiliation and, quite frankly, ignorance when it comes to the revamped Big East.
However, a leading statistic used to measure the strength of a football program shows, through three- and five-year snapshots, the Big East is not losing strength when looking at the overall product being subtracted and added.
According to the Jeff Sagarin ratings, which appear in USA Today and calculate a program's rating based on schedule and results, the five schools staying – Rutgers, Connecticut, Louisville, South Florida and Cincinnati – have a five-year Sagarin rating of 74.59.
The three schools leaving – Syracuse, Pittsburgh and West Virginia – have a five-year Sagarin rating of 74.49.
The five schools entering the Big East have a combined 71.26 Sagarin rating over the last five years, but that includes poor 2007 seasons for San Diego State, SMU and UCF as they began to build their programs.
Here is the five-year Sagarin snapshot:
1. Boise State: 86.19
2. West Virginia: 81.1
3. Cincinnati: 78.57
4. Pittsburgh: 76.72
5. South Florida: 76.00
6. Connecticut: 74.17
7. Rutgers: 73.93
8. Houston: 72.30
9. Louisville: 70.26
11. San Diego State: 66.62
12. Syracuse: 65.65
13. Southern Methodist: 61.48
The three-year snapshot provides a different look, and gives an indication on recent trends of the programs.
Pittsburgh, West Virginia, South Florida and Connecticut have dropped in Sagarin ratings in each of the last three years.
Also, Boise State, Southern Methodist, San Diego State, Houston and Louisville had a higher Sagain rating this year than it did in 2009.
Here is the three-year Sagarin snapshot:
1. Boise State: 90.24
2. Pittsburgh: 78.05
3. West Virginia: 77.98
4. :Cincinnati: 77.38
5. Houston: 73.99
6. South Florida: 73.97
7. Connecticut: 72.47
8. Rutgers: 71.76
9. San Diego State: 71.00
10. UCF: 70.56
11. Louisville: 70.26
12. Syracuse: 68.85
13. Southern Methodist: 68.76
The biggest issue is perception the Big East is adding lesser teams, but the numbers speak differently.
One issue is the perceived travel for the games, but with eastern and western divisions, that looks to be minimal.
A team like Rutgers would travel to Boise State once every four years. San Diego State would travel to Cincinnati once every four years as teams in opposite divisions meet every other year.
So, what's in a name?
Apparently a lot in the court of public opinion, but perhaps not nearly as much in one of the most telling ways to rate a program.