Big East road to redemption, Part I

In light of underwhelming initial appraisals of Big East TV money and unrelenting shit-talking from media pundits, football fans and Mack Brown’s boss alike, it seems like an appropriate juncture to reevaluate the conference’s goals in the impending superconference era.

Put lightly, the Big East has an image problem. In the absurd, nightmarish retail strip mall of college athletics, it is the Dollar General to the SEC’s Walmart; the Big 12’s Cabela’s; the Big 10’s Menards and the ACC’s offensively-overpriced antique shop.

Its name alone is so toxic that ne’er-do-wells instantly become esteemed programs upon vacating (see: Pitt, Syracuse).

How does one fix such an image problem? Either with:

  • methodical efforts to improve product/performance, or;
  • gimmicks, bells, whistles and bright lights

Even if the former were possible through expansion (we’ll get to that in Part II), the Big East’s rep is so tarnished that many would perform logical gymnastics to discredit the measures as desperate and doomed to fail.

Accordingly, I propose that the Big East eschew the traditional aesthetics of the football big dogs and apply some visionary forward-thinking to this pigskin thing.

Well guess what, Providence? Y’all can take off early today, because I’m about to do half the work for you.

Institute XFL-inspired corporate branding/naming rights

Let’s face it––in terms of national perception among laypeople, none of the schools in the Big East will ever command the same respect that 6-win Texas, Alabama and Ohio State teams do by name alone.

No big deal, let’s move on.

By the same token, we can abandon the drab, stripped down uniforms and understated logos. Big East programs are neglecting the single biggest assets of their urban settings: Fortune 500 corporate partners eager to throw cash at anything to get on television for thirty seconds. Utilizing these resources should be a centerpiece of Big East rebranding going forward.

Here are some examples:

  • The UCONN Hartford (Financial Services Group), brought to you by Xerox

  • The Louisville Humana Chalupas

  • The University of Central Florida Space Mountains

These are simply rough sketches. Obviously, it’s going to take some finesse and a reduced color palette to get these on the sides of the helmets (the LED technology to make the knight’s eyes pulsate is already in place). But there are more ideas where these came from. Stay tuned.

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