Edsall, UConn and what could have been
After the smoke cleared from the bowl scheduling I saw a few tweets and message board posts regarding Randy Edsall and UConn. There is a small contingent of media and opposing fans that like to remind BC that if we had stayed in the Big East we would have played in a BCS game by now. They also like to hint that we should have hired Randy Edsall. As a blogger and a critic I love to use and abuse hindsight, but in this case it doesn't matter. We've made plenty of mistakes along the way, but I have absolutely zero regrets about Edsall or the Big East.
Edsall the Bridesmaid
Randy Edsall was almost the BC head coach four different times. There are varied urban legends surrounding the BC-Edsall courtship. He was deemed to green to take over for Coughlin in 1994. The only admitted time he was offered the job was in 1996-97. Small problem though. Chet Gladchuk was a powerless lame duck so other people were offering the job to Kevin Gilbride and Tom O'Brien. Edsall was left with an empty promise yet no long-term bitterness towards BC. In fact he kept hoping for another chance at the Heights. Like a lot of people who have come through BC, Edsall appreciated what BC offered and saw what Coughlin did firsthand. Later, he was given a cursory look when TOB left. His folks had a more serious discussion when Jags was fired, but still Edsall was left hanging. Those failed flirtations were probably more about what Gene was looking for and less about what Randy brought to the table. Personally I think Edsall would have been fine at BC, but I've never seen anything that made me long for his leadership. I think his team's are decent, but boring. I don't particularly care for his sideline antics at times. It always looks like he is doing a bad Coughlin impression. Yet he lacks Coughlin's smarts and charm and the success that allows TC to get away with some of his ranting and raving. If Edsall had ever coached at BC I am sure he would have been fine, but I don't know if he ever would have helped us break our current ceiling.
The Big East's backdoor to the BCS
The irony of the current BCS format is that it is easier to get in from the Big East or a non-automatic qualifier school than it is to get in from the other power conferences. Add in the extra game that an SEC, Big XII or ACC team must win, and you are left with a real test, not some mini-hurdle like the Big East. But we didn't join the ACC to just to get into the BCS. The move was about money, stability, a future, partnering with like-minded schools and prestige. Staying in what became the Big East would have been a marketing, recruiting and ticket selling disaster. I still don't think the current configuration of the Big East will last. I know any current BCS team -- including UConn -- would glady trade their one trip to the BCS in exchange for a spot in the ACC. Besides, we had our chance at the Big East's joke bid and blew it.
I don't know when we will finally get into the BCS, but when we do, it won't be with an asterisk or by default. We will have earned it and the program will be better for it.