Big East Football Media Days are set for Monday, July 30th, and Tuesday, July 31st. Each team with make their trek to Newport, Rhode Island, to the Hotel Viking, where players and coaches will provide their thoughts, feelings, wants, and needs for the upcoming season.
But this season is different. The change in the air is palpable. The Big East is not what it used to be. As sports figures assemble to talk of this season, minds will be focused heavily on the inevitable changes that have and will occur. West Virginia University will be present to talk of a "Big" conference, but the word "East" has been switched for the number "12".
Syracuse University and the University of Pittsburgh will be in Newport, Rhode Island, for the last time after both reaching settlements, following suit with West Virginia to leave the Big East before the 27-month period created by Big East officials.
A familiar face will grace the stage with the return of the University of Temple as the owls fly back to their previous nesting grounds in the tree of the Big East.
As time passes, the conference that Syracuse University helped create is becoming more and more of a shell of its former self. What once began in 1991 with Boston College, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple, Miami (FL), Virginia Tech, and West Virginia has since dwindled down to Pittsburgh, Rutgers, and Syracuse, and at the end of this upcoming season, will leave Rutgers as the lone ranger of the original Big East Football frontier, with their trusty steed, Temple, returning from Philadelphia.
Competition will stretch across the country, creating conference match-ups in different time zones. Boise Stat (Idaho) will now host regular season Big East games. Southern Methodist University (SMU), nestled in the mid-west in the state of Texas, will now be considered a team of the east.
So as the world of the Big East breaks apart as the continents did and drift away, so, too, do the thoughts of Syracuse fans to their new land, the ACC.
Syracuse recently added $2.5 million to the already $5 million exit fee owed to the Big East in order to move their gridiron operations to the ACC for the 2013-14 season. The irony of Syracuse's move is that they will be leaving the conference they helped to build which has become unfamiliar for a conference that they have never been a part of that will bring with it, familiarity.
Their opponents since the day Big East Football began are back with Boston College, Miami (FL), and Virginia Tech. An old rivalry from out-of-conference will have the opportunity to reestablish itself when Syracuse lines up opposite the University of Maryland. Pittsburgh, who will be paying the same exit fee, $7.5 million, as Syracuse will enter into new football territory with Syracuse just as they did in 1991 in the Big East.
With new territory comes new possibilities, which Syracuse University Director of Athletics, Dr. Daryl Gross, is seeing.
"I think the ACC move is very historical for us. It's going to give us resources," said Dr. Gross. "You look at it, we're top 40 in the country in our program across the board and we have a very limited, tight budget so we don't have the big time budget in the Big East."
In comparison to other Big East schools, outside of only football programs and as a whole, Dr. Gross spoke of where the conference has left Syracuse, monetarily.
"Out of 16 teams, we're in fourth, probably could move to third, of all the Big East schools with a limited budget," stated Dr. Gross. "Budget smaller than Louisville's, budget smaller than Notre Dame and now we have the chance to almost double a lot of our resources and have these same type of coaches and have a chance to even get better."
Dr. Gross went on to share his vision on what Syracuse University athletics can become.
"You put money back into the programs and then invest like other folks have got to do," Dr. Gross remarked. "We've been a $54 million budget and you're going against Ohio State's $120 million and Texas' $130 million and Florida's $120 million so now we've got a chance to get up there.
"We're not saying we need to have that because we're pretty efficient as we are anyway, the way we go about our business, but now this gives us an opportunity to really get good."
Syracuse University is set to join the ACC on July 1, 2013.