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Big East OKs expansion to 12 football members

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The question is, how are they going to get there when they’re only halfway to that number at the moment?

At a meeting conducted Monday morning, the Big East authorized commissioner John Marinatto to expand the football membership in the conference.  Specifically, authorization was given to expand the football membership to 12 schools.

Here’s the official statement from the conference on the expansion situation:

On a teleconference earlier today, our Presidents and Chancellors authorized the BIG EAST Conference to engage in formal discussions with additional institutions and are considering moving to a model that includes 12 football playing schools.

With the departures of Pittsburgh and Syracuse at some point in the next year or two, and TCU’s expected announcement this evening that they will become a member of the Big 12 in 2012, the Big East will be left with a total of six football-playing members.  Of course, that number is dependent upon both West Virginia and Louisville staying; both schools have been the subject of speculation connecting them to other conferences.

So, where would the Big East turn to get to an even dozen members?  Air Force would seem to be a near-certainty based on the comments of the academy’s athletic director over the weekend.  Another service academy, Navy, is reportedly another very viable option, and would likely join Air Force as a football-only member.  Army has also been mentioned as a possibility for an expanded Big East, although the third academy appears leery of making the move.

UCF and Temple would also appear to be in the running for membership in all sports, including football.  East Carolina, Memphis, Houston and SMU of Conference USA have also been mentioned as possibilities.  The biggest coup for the conference, regardless of what number they settle at, would come from the Mountain West.

It was reported Sunday evening by multiple media outlets that the Big East is considering the pursuit of Boise State as a football-only member.  Regardless of what other schools the Big East ultimately lands, Boise State would be the absolute coup as they’re the biggest remaining fish in the expansion pond.  For a conference hoping to maintain an automatic BcS bid beyond 2013, the impact of BSU’s football program cannot be overstated.

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11 Responses to “Big East OKs expansion to 12 football members”
  1. mdnittlion says: Oct 10, 2011 1:04 PM

    What no talk of Villanova?

  2. thefiesty1 says: Oct 10, 2011 1:21 PM

    All those schools mentioned would be grasping at straws in a dying conference. All are barely mediocre in a current mediocre conference. None of them will ever win a BCS game unless Boise makes a dumb move.

  3. overratedgators says: Oct 10, 2011 1:21 PM

    Can somebody just fill me in when realignapalooza is finished? I just haven’t the time or interest to keep up anymore, and I’ve already completely lost track of where we are at the moment.

  4. bbeaman78 says: Oct 10, 2011 1:35 PM

    The Big East is a joke of a conference. I hope they have more invites than schools leaving. This will be a mid major or a “BCS Buster” conference moving forward.

    After today you have lost Syracuse, Pitt, and now TCU. Schools like WVU (SEC or Big 12 rumored),Louisville(ACC or Big 12 rumored), and UConn (ACC and publicly pleading to join) will be the next to leave. Unfortunately the BIG East doesn’t have any anchor schools such as Oklahoma or Texas like the BIG 12 , ACC, or SEC so I believe they should join the ranks of WAC, MWC, Conference USA, and other in the non AQ category.

    I think the BIG East for publicly firing the starters pistol in a race with the BIG 12 and ACC to either survive or fold. I am confident that the BIG EAST will fold or merge with Conference USA. The BIG 12 has re-organized and with the revenue sharing, forfeiting 6 years of TV rights as an exit penalty, adding TCU, and even Texas scaling back the LHN (won’t show high school content) they are back on the verge of stabilizing and rebuilding.

    The BIG LEAST announcement will hopefully add a sense of urgency to the BIG 12 to invite 2-3 or more members.

    The talk of the BIG 12 having meetings about whether to stay at 10 or go to 12 is ridiculous. 10 team leagues without championship games = unstable and have members with wandering eyes and open ears….

    12 teams is the bench mark. Get to it Big 12!

  5. fatcamper says: Oct 10, 2011 2:42 PM

    I am very bias as a fan of a Big East team, but I could see this working out well for them. If they land a few good teams I don’t think they would be in any worse shape than they have historically been. Marinatto will mess this up but I think they could keep AQ status if they were able to do something like this:

    East- WVU, USF, Uconn, Rutgers, UCF, Navy
    West – Boise, Air Force, SMU, Houston Louisville, Cincinatti

    They would still big the Big Least but probably would keep AQ status. It is better to be the BCS laughing stock than completely irrelevant.

  6. boisestatewhodat says: Oct 10, 2011 3:43 PM

    Boise State will want nothing to do with the Big East…its a dying conference that Boise will not play savior to. Waiting for something bigger…like the Big 12 or PAC whatever.

  7. jamie54 says: Oct 10, 2011 3:43 PM

    Whatever. As a football power they’re totally irrelevant anyway and don’t deserve an automatic BCS bid.

  8. bbeaman78 says: Oct 10, 2011 4:05 PM

    Fatcamper….how do you see this working out well? I am not being mean, just asking a legitimate question.

    Out the list of this list of schools:

    East- WVU, USF, Uconn, Rutgers, UCF, Navy
    West – Boise, Air Force, SMU, Houston Louisville, Cincinatti

    Explain this conference should get an AQ status.

    WVU and Boise are the only football relevant schools in this list.

    If these schools played against SEC, ACC, Big 12, or PAC 12 schools they would all be less than .500 let alone deserve AQ status.

    The AD at Air Force admits that they turned down the BIG 12 due to the fact they couldn’t compete yet they would be the 3rd to 5th best program in this conference.

    This will be a non-AQ conference and Boise will still be on the outside looking in.

    No offense, but be realistic about how good the conference would be. 0 national titles would be competed for or won out of this conference so I would say non-AQ is an easy judgement.

    I would add that the WVU, Boise, Louisville will be heading else where to actually be relevant in the national scene. Sorry to burst your bubble.

    I suggest the NCAA raise the standards or create more stringent criteria to become a D-1 program or create a higher level and have just the major programs be involved like 64 teams Power D-1 level. Certain programs shouldn’t be at the D-1 level.

  9. fatcamper says: Oct 10, 2011 4:50 PM


    I don’t disagree with you that this conference would be the weakest of the AQ conferences, just as it always had. Simply because you’re the last to qualify for something, in this case AQ status, doesn’t mean you don’t deserve it. Along with that they aren’t miles behind the ACC. No offense, but without VT nobody from the ACC has done anything noteworthy for a while.

    I disagree with your assesment of the quality of football from the conference. I would think several of these teams would fare better than you believe in another conference, but that can’t be proven. Outside of the SEC nobody has more than a couple of teams that are great year in and year out. I’m not saying any of them would win the SEC, but some I feel most have a shot at being above .500 in the other AQ conferences.

    WVU and Boise have been consistent top 25 teams. (I’ll conceed Boise could have problems once Kellen Moore graduates). The rest of the group have had up and down years recently but at least flirt with national rankings.

    I’d also like to see the backlash when the BCS attempts to pull the AQ status from a conference w/ 2 out of 3 military academy.

    As my final argument I’ll refer to the thumbs up/down. At least a couple out there agree with me so I am not completely crazy.

  10. dadawg77 says: Oct 10, 2011 8:10 PM

    If the Big East goes down it helps force Norte Dames hand with needing a conference for sports other then football. So if the Big Ten isnt looking to expand, could the best deal for ND be to join the Big East as a football member?

  11. rubbernilly says: Oct 10, 2011 9:34 PM

    In the zero-sum game of conference realignment, somebody has to come out the loser. (There are only so many teams to go around.)

    The Big East seems determined to make sure that they are that loser.

    Why would Boise want to join the Big East when there is so much uncertainty? The only way the Big East survives at this point is to shift the burden of instability to another conference by a multi-school add. I don’t see a way where they 1-school, or 2-school their way to viability again.

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