As to your example, I think it's unfair to single out UNM and Memphis because in all likelihood, that game wouldn't be televised anywhere other than locally. Same goes for Vandy v. Ole Miss, Minnesota v. Northwestern, Iowa State v. Kansas, Wake Forest v. Duke, etc... Every conference has its stinker games.
The real question here is not New Mexico v. Memphis, but Boise State v. Cincinnati, or SJSU v. Temple. For the casual fan, would that ever have a tenth of the appeal of an LSU v. 'Bama matchup? No way. Of course, that will be reflected in the television deal.
That being said, as a UC fan, I'm much more interested in games between UC's conference mates than I am other games. If two teams from UC's conference are playing, I'll watch. In fact, I'll watch most conference games over a B1G matchup for example (or at least flip back and forth). I'd imagine there are many other conference viewers that would as well. Fans of other conferences would have little to no interest, but that's expected.
All of this realignment stuff has actually decreased my interest in college football. I am not a diehard, just a casual fan who will watch some games, and the flat out greed in all of this is truely disgusting.
I think it's reaching a point where being in the same conference for all sports is going to be the exception rather than the rule. If Cincinnati ends up in a cross-country conference for football and basketball, fine, but why tie all the other non-revenue sports to that same conference? Shouldn't there be different, geographically-based conferences for non-revenue sports?
Of course I think the whole cross-country conference thing may be a red herring designed to pressure the ACC into accepting Cincinnati and UConn...
The Catholic 7 have moved to leave as a unit. I fully expect them to go out and cherry pick basketball programs now. One name still being bandied about is Notre Dame, would the Domers go back on their deal with the ACC?
I take no joy in the death of the Big East and will always have fond memories of the conference. So many things could have gone right but in the end their focus was on the wrong sport and it cost the league everything.
Seven schools leaving Big East
WASHINGTON -- The seven Big East schools that don't play FBS football have decided to leave the conference and pursue a new basketball framework.
The presidents of the seven schools made the announcement Saturday, saying it was a unanimous vote. The schools are: DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall and Villanova.
Big East spokesperson John Paquette told ESPN.com the seven schools will leave on June 30, 2015, per conference bylaws.
The move leaves Connecticut, a founding member of the league in 1979, Cincinnati and South Florida -- three current members with FBS football programs -- up in the air concerning their futures.
Six to one, half a dozen to the other. You could put UConn and UC in the MAC and it would be a better conference than the "best of the rest" without those two.
No matter what UC does, it's not going to make TV money for football. It's a no win situation, so may as well avoid some complex solution.
The hypothetical conference above would consistently fail to offer and meat for the fan searching for his next game. Literally ESPN 12 might carry some of the conferences games but then again the Appalachian State game might preempt it...