Fox Sports gamble on the Big Ten Network and the basketball-only Big East continues to score victories over the ESPN-dominated SEC and ACC.
The Big Ten finally took the football title in January, then won the annual challenge with ACC basketball for the eighth straight year. St. John’s stunning upset of Syracuse makes the Big East 4-3 against the ACC and 6-2 over the SEC.
Fox Sports covered Sunday’s 84-72 win by the lowest-rated team in the Big East (St. John’s) over the ACC’s Syracuse, which was ranked until losing to another Big East team (Georgetown). The Big East’s mark now stands at 25-13 against teams from the former BCS/Power 5 Conferences, as their top 25 players are ranked in this Cracked Sidewalks post.
ESPN’s $300 million annual payment to the SEC helped them finally pass the Big Ten this year in revenue per school ($34 million to $28 million) according to Forbes. The Big East’s top basketball-only mark of $5 million per team seems to pale in comparison, but basketball-only programs turn a profit much quicker partly because they do not have to match the 83 additional women’s scholarships football schools must provide to meet Title IX requirements.
ESPN also rolled out the big dollars to dominate ACC coverage, which seemed to add the top football conference (SEC) to the top basketball conference (ACC). Since the Fox Sports challenge, ESPN laid off some employees and suddenly shut down its stat site Grantland.
Four of 10 Big East teams are ranked, and Georgetown receives votes, as covered in this comprehensive look at the league and top 25 players based on Value Add Basketball. The dominance on the court is significant since it was questioned if a basketball-only league could really stay on par with the Power 5 Conferences when Fox Sports gambled on the school in major markets but with small alumni basis.
Coming out of the “BCS-era” all six conferences scrambled to keep the automatic bid to a major bowl, but in the end the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac12 and SEC retained the bid and with the Big East basketball-only teams voting to kick out the football schools (now in the American Athletic Conference) while the Big East signed to be a “BCS-level” basketball conference for Fox Sports.
The jury is still out on ultimate success, as more people came to some SEC football games that watched Big East games on TV last year. However, if success on the field and court ultimately lead to viewers, Fox Sports has a beachhead in their attempt to break ESPN’s near monopoly.
The following are complete results from the Big East games against teams from the old BCS and/or current Power 5 football conferences:
Big East 2-0 vs. American Athletic (old Big East)
Xavier hosted Cincinnati W 65-55
Butler at Cincinnati W 78-76
Big East 4-1 vs. Pac-12
Villanova Semi-hosted Stanford W 59-45
Providence vs. Arizona W 69-65
Marquette vs. Arizona St. W 78-73
Xavier vs. USC W 87-77
Creighton hosted Arizona St. L 77-79
Remaining December game: DePaul 7-pt underdog at Stanford
Big East 6-2 vs. SEC
Xavier vs. Alabama W 64-45
Seton Hall hosted Georgia W 69-62
Seton Hall vs. Mississippi W 75-63
Xavier hosted Missouri W 78-66
Marquette vs. LSU W 81-80
Butler hosted Tennessee W 94-86
St. John’s vs. Vanderbilt L 55-92
DePaul vs. South Carolina L 61-76
Remaining December games: Xavier 20-pt favorite hosting Auburn; St. John’s 9-pt underdog vs. South Carolina
Big East 9-6 vs. Big Ten
Marquette at Wisconsin W 57-55
Providence hosted Illinois W 60-59
St. John’s hosted Rutgers W 61-59
Georgetown vs. Wisconsin W 71-61
Creighton hosted Nebraska W 83-67
Seton Hall at Rutgers W 84-55
Creighton vs. Rutgers W 85-75
Xavier at Michigan W 86-70
Villanova hosted Nebraska W 87-63
Marquette hosted Iowa L 61-89
DePaul at Penn St. L 62-68
Providence vs. Michigan St. L 64-77
Creighton at Indiana L 65-86
Georgetown at Maryland L 71-75
St. John’s vs. Indiana L 73-83
Remaining December games: DePaul 2-pt underdog hosting Northwestern; Butler 7-pt underdog vs. Purdue
Big East 4-3 vs. ACC
Providence hosted Boston College W 66-51
Villanova vs. Georgia Tech W 69-52
Georgetown hosted Syracuse W 79-72
St. John’s hosted Syracuse W 84-72
DePaul vs. Florida St. L 67-83
Butler vs. Miami FL L 75-85
Georgetown vs. Duke L 84-86
Remaining December games: Xavier 7-pt favorite at Wake Forest; Villanova 4-pt underdog at Virginia
Big East 0-1 vs. Big 12
Villanova vs. Oklahoma L 55-78
Remaining December games: Creighton 16-pt underdog at Oklahoma