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Moving On Up: Hurricane's Shift To Big East A No-Brainer

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When you gotta go, you gotta go.

In this case, if reports are accurate, TU's decision to leave the crumbling pile of rubble that is Conference USA for the artist formerly known as the Big East is the right move for the Golden Hurricane.

RELATED STORY: Reports: Tulsa To Join The Big East

The soon-to-be renamed league will now have 11 schools, nine of which used to reside in Conference USA. Tulsa, East Carolina, Tulane, Cincinnati, South Florida, UCF, Houston, SMU and Memphis all spent time in C-USA, while only Temple and UConn did not.

Conference realignment has left a lot of programs out in the cold and scrambling to find a home. It has left a lot of conferences weaker than they once were. Does anyone think the Big 12 is the power it used to be when it had Nebraska, Missouri, Texas A&M and Colorado?

Or look at what the Big East used to be. It was a basketball juggernaut, on many occasions putting more schools into the NCAA Tournament than some conferences had TOTAL schools (11 teams went dancing in 2011). Now, Syracuse, Louisville, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame have departed to the ACC to join forces with Duke, North Carolina, N.C. State and others to form the strongest basketball league in America short of the NBA. What's left of that Big East is now otherwise known as the "Catholic Seven," and those schools will be retaining the Big East moniker to play in their own basketball-only league.

So here's what all this has essentially led to. Follow along closely now, you'll be quizzed.

The Big 12 is now the Big Ten. The Big Ten is now the Big 12, but soon it will be the Big 14. The Pac-10 is now the Pac-12, the upper-tier of the Big East left is now the ACC and the rest no longer plays football. The soon-to-be renamed "new" Big East is what Conference USA used to be, and Conference USA is an awful, awful mess.

That's why Tulsa had to leave.

From a familiarity standpoint, imagine if all of your friends transferred to another school, and you were left with a bunch of strangers. Rivalries and history drive sales and interest. TU has history with Houston, SMU, UCF and Tulane; fans are familiar and look forward to those matchups.

From a competition standpoint, there's no debate. Look what the Conference USA landscape is about to look like: UT-San Antonio played its first season of FBS football last season, while Old Dominion and Charlotte have combined to play zero seasons at the FBS level. Charlotte's program has never even played a GAME at any level. Florida Atlantic (yawn), Florida International (get pumped) and North Texas (they stink at everything, except for a good run in men's golf in the 1950s) all provide about as much excitement as a root canal.

From a business standpoint, it's a no-brainer. It's like Jimmy Fallon asking the baby if he wants more cash, except TU sure isn't saying no.

Conference USA's current TV contract with Fox Sports pays members around $1.17 million annually, and almost no games are aired nationally. The "new" Big East's TV deal with ESPN is reportedly seven years and $126 million total, which isn't a huge difference, but nearly 90 percent of the football games will be carried on a national broadcast. That kind of exposure is priceless—it's free advertising.

This move will keep Tulsa nationally competitive, relevant and it will keep fans coming through the gates. But most of all, it gives TU a secure foundation —something it was unlikely to have given Conference USA's current path.

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