The Big East Stays Alive
Now what does this mean?
The Big East added the teams it
needed to remain a viable conference worthy of
keeping its automatic qualifying status, and more
than that, it just became more interesting on a
Maybe the addition of Boise State and San Diego
State - for football only - Houston, SMU, UCF, and
potentially Navy, won't move the needle too much
compared to the other BCS leagues, but
geographically, the conference has expanded its
reach in a huge way while making future TV packages
far more attractive.
The conference almost reaches the four corners of
the country going down to San Diego, over to Orlando
and Tampa, up to Connecticut and New Jersey, and
over to Idaho. It'll be a bear for air travel, and
forget about any opposing fan bases showing up to
games, but it's a great move for the conference to
stay alive after so many big defections gutted the
So now what do the conferences look like,
and what's next in the constantly changing world of realignment?
What We Know: Pitt and Syracuse will join in two years. Already in are Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Miami, North Carolina, NC State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest.
What’s Probably Going To Happen Next: The ACC will likely stick with 14 teams for the next year while keeping its options open to react to what the SEC does. If the SEC goes after Florida State,
Virginia Tech, and/or Clemson, the ACC will quickly poach from the Big East or Conference USA. The Big East might have gotten
bigger and better, but even with the larger exit fee
and the stronger team base, schools like Connecticut
and Louisville are still in play. The ACC might be
interested in Memphis for basketball and will take
football along for the ride, and East Carolina is
always on the table - at least geographically.
What We Know: Texas A&M is gone to the SEC next year and TCU will take its place. Missouri
is also gone to the SEC, and West Virginia will step
in ... eventually. The Mountaineers are in a legal
battle with the Big East to get out, but there's a
chance that might not happen until 2013. At the moment, the league still has Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech
to go along with TCU and West Virginia.
What’s Probably Going To Happen Next: By letting Boise State, Houston,
and SMU go to the Big East, the Big 12 - who wants
to get back to being a 12-team league - is almost
certainly going to go after BYU as the 11th team.
And the 12th? Nevada might be in the equation and
UNLV could be an interesting choice, just because of
the city . Tulsa is too small and UTEP isn't really
needed unless Texas Tech wants a playmate. Southern
Miss might be intriguing, but the Big 12 wants
bigger. Again, even with all the moves, Big East
teams will still be in play making Louisville and
Cincinnati possible targets to go along with West
Virginia. Louisville has openly lobbied to move to
the Big 12, and it could eventually happen if the
dollars work out.
What We Know: Pitt and Syracuse are gone to the ACC in a few years, and West Virginia is taking off for the Big 12
once all the legal problems are hammered out. In a
huge move, the conference will add Boise State and
San Diego State for football only, and Houston, UCF,
and SMU for everything. Navy is also all but in
meaning the 2014 conference will be - at least for
now - Boise State, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Houston, Louisville, Rutgers,
San Diego State, SMU, UCF and USF with Navy on the
verge of making it an 11-team conference with more
room to expand.
What’s Probably Going To Happen Next: The Big East isn't done. Louisville
has openly said it wants out and Rutgers is prime
for the taking whenever the Big Ten decides to pull
the trigger. BYU rejected the idea of joining the
Big East, or vice versa depending on whose version
you want to believe, but either way, that's not
going to happen. Navy is most likely the next to
come aboard with Army possibly to follow. Temple
could be coming back to its old conference, but
rumors about a move from the MAC have quieted down
after this latest grab of programs.
What We Know: Commissioner Jim Delany, who got the ball rolling in the
first place, has been dead-silent on any and all
expansion talk. It was curious that the conference
let Missouri go to the SEC after it had seemed
destined to join the Big Ten, and early rumors about
Rutgers, Connecticut, and Maryland are gone. The
conference seems fine for the time being and it
doesn't appear anxious to do too much more after a
successful season in the new format. For now, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin
are in the Leaders, and Iowa Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Northwestern
form the Legends, and it appears that's how things
are going to stay for a while.
What’s Probably Going To Happen Next: There are only so many big programs
to possibly go after. Notre Dame is always in the
speculation, but there's nothing there right now
between the two. Texas - the team the Big Ten gabbed
about to fuel the realignment discussions - is
always in the background of a mega-deal, but that's
not going to happen now that the Big 12 has become
A lot might depend on what happens with Penn State.
If the NCAA blows the program out of the water,
suddenly, the Leaders becomes squishy-soft and the
conference will need a bigger East Coast presence.
Rutgers could turn out to be the perfect fit. Kansas
would seem like a natural because of the basketball
program, but the Big Ten hasn't shown any interest
What We Know: The league is merging forces with the Mountain West for just football,
and now it needs to with both leagues getting gutted
by the Big East. At the moment, East Carolina, Marshall, Memphis, Rice, Southern Miss, UAB, UTEP, Tulane and Tulsa are members
with Houston, SMU, and UCF taking off for the Big
What’s Probably Going To Happen Next: Conference USA hopes there's
strength in numbers with the tie-ins to the Mountain
West. With Houston, UCF, and SMU gone, three of the
league's power players - maybe not SMU - are out
leaving East Carolina, Southern Miss, and Tulsa as
the only programs with any recent success. Picking
off some Sun Belt teams like Arkansas State, FIU, or
Western Kentucky could bring more live bodies into
the equation, and Louisiana Tech from the WAC makes
too much sense not to have happened yesterday, but
for now, the conference appears to be looking to
simply weather the storm and hope ECU and Southern
Miss aren't taken.
What We Know: Army, BYU, Navy, and Notre Dame are the four independents -
What’s Probably Going To Happen Next: Navy is almost certainly going to be in the Big East, and Army will likely end up being asked to join
at some point. BYU will likely end up in the Big 12, and Notre Dame will be on the radar of the Big East, Big Ten and Pac-12 as long as it remains an independent.
What We Know: At the moment, it’s Akron, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Kent State, Miami, Ohio, and Temple in the East and Ball State, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois, Toledo, and Western Michigan in the West.
Massachusetts is joining next year to round out the
league to 14 teams.
What’s Probably Going To Happen Next: Temple is being talked about as a
possible Big East team, but that's it for now.
Conference USA could come calling soon for Northern
Illinois, Toledo, or Western Michigan, but that's
What We Know: Just when it seemed like the conference was building to be
something great, all the stars are gone. The dream
was a league with Boise State, BYU, TCU, and Utah as
the stars, but they're all off to bigger and better
things, while San Diego State is joining Boise State
in a move to the Big East. The league is still
looking to merge forces with Conference USA in a
strength-in-numbers situation, and it'll hope that a
raid on the WAC will help the cause with Fresno
State, Hawaii, and Nevada joining next year to go along with Air Force, Colorado State, New Mexico,
UNLV and Wyoming.
What’s Probably Going To Happen Next: It's going to be tough to get up in
the morning considering the league was this
close to being special. Now it's the land of misfit
teams that are too small or too mediocre to get
calls from bigger conferences. Nevada might not be
around for long and Colorado State could be Big
12-bound if the football program could show any sign
of life whatsoever. Getting Idaho and Utah State
from the WAC would make sense, but for now, hooking
up with Conference USA might be enough to get by.
What We Know: It’s Cal, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, Washington, and Washington State in the North, and Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, UCLA, USC, and Utah in the South.
What’s Probably Going To Happen Next: The hopes of landing any of the Big
12's big boys appear to be fading by the day. The
Big 12 is coming off a terrific season and all talk
of Texas and Oklahoma making a grand move has gone
away. The league doesn't want BYU and Big East-bound
Boise State and San Diego State weren't on the
table. Kansas would make sense for basketball, but
the league appears to be happy as is for the time
What We Know: Texas A&M will join West next year to be in the same division as Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, Ole Miss and Mississippi State.
Missouri will join the East to go along with Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.
What’s Probably Going To Happen Next: The SEC is going to let the 14-team
league breathe for a while. The $3 billion TV
package will be upgraded with the addition of two
new teams, and adding two more - like Virginia Tech,
Florida State, or Clemson - doesn't appear likely
for now. Everything is going too well for the
conference at the moment to try to expand too much
further, and while the rumors and speculation won't
slow down, the league will almost certainly stick
with the 14-team format for at least the next two
seasons. Any new members wouldn't be able to join
until at least 2014.
What We Know: It’s Arkansas State, Florida Atlantic, FIU, Louisiana-Lafayette, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Troy, ULM and Western Kentucky
with South Alabama joining next year.
What’s Probably Going To Happen Next: Conference USA could soon come
calling for Florida International and Western
Kentucky, while North Texas and Arkansas State are
attractive options that could make a jump soon.
What We Know: The WAC is trying to rebuild with Texas State and UT San
Antonio joining next year, but that won't do much to
cushion the blow of losing Fresno State, Hawaii, and
Nevada. At the moment, to go along with the two new
members, the league next year will have Idaho,
Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State, San Jose State and
What’s Probably Going To Happen Next: There's not a whole bunch the
conference can do if it doesn't keep plucking
programs from the lower level. Louisiana Tech is
destined to move to Conference USA at some point,
and Idaho and Utah State are primed to get plucked
by the Mountain West. Outside of trying to join
forces with the Sun Belt, the WAC will be hanging on
for dear life if it can't make some sort of a deal
to join the new Conference USA-Mountain West