Butler University is joining the Atlantic 10 Conference later this year. I found this particularly interesting for two reasons.
One, Butler is in Indianapolis. That's 710 miles from Brooklyn, N.Y., where the league's men's basketball tourney will be held the next five years. Indianapolis is not really near the Atlantic Ocean. But then again, neither is A-10 member Saint Louis.
Two, the A-10 will have 16 members in the coming season, 14 in the season after that. Once again, the name of the conference is the Atlantic 10.
Both things are fitting in modern-day college athletics. The names and numbers attached to conferences mean next to nothing.
The Big 12 has 10 members (today) and the Big Ten has 12. Explain that to someone from Peru or Finland. Heck, explain that to anyone with a basic understanding of math, someone who knows 10 is not equal to 12 and vice versa.
The Pacific-12 Conference has members in Colorado and Utah. You can't see the Pacific from those states any easier than you can see the Atlantic from the top of the Gateway Arch.
The Southeastern Conference recently added Missouri and Texas A&M. One is in the Midwest, the other in the Southwest. A&M was once in the Southwest Conference, a league in which virtually every members was in the Southwest. A strange concept, I know.
The Atlantic Coast Conference is the only major conference with a sensible name, even though it added Pittsburgh and Syracuse last year. At least those two aren't especially far from the Eastern Seaboard.
Oh, let's not forget the Big East. This is the beauty of them all. It has recently annexed Memphis, Houston, Central Florida, SMU, Boise State (for football only), and San Diego State (football only), although Boise State appears to be something less than set-in-stone about it.
I look forward to the day Memphis plays Houston in New York's Madison Square Garden for the Big East basketball championship.
This all makes me wonder what the Iowa Conference is thinking, having all its members from Iowa. Either the league needs to change its name to the Mountain East, or it needs to add six or eight schools from Texas, New Jersey and Oregon.The league with the smartest name is Conference USA. It seems to lose and gain members every year, but every single one of them has fit under the umbrella of actually being from the U.S. Now if I could only name one school that will be a member in 2014.