Memphis To Join Big East. What's Next?
The latest update and look at conference realignment and expansion.
Memphis To Join Big East
Now what does this mean?
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A conference call is being set
up for Wednesday, at which time the Big East is
expected to bring in Memphis from Conference USA.
The Big East made some noise a
few weeks ago months ago when it announced it was
bringing aboard Boise State and San Diego State for
football only, and then it took on Houston, SMU,
UCF, and later Navy to add more bulk. And now, in a
move that'll mostly affect the basketball side of
things with Pitt and Syracuse leaving for the ACC in
2014, Memphis will join the conference in all sports
starting in 2013.
The conference is reloading with a hoops
heavyweight, but it won't move the needle much for
football. Memphis is the 48th biggest media market,
ranking slightly behind New Orleans and
Indianapolis, and should end up helping boost the
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 the league keeps working at staying 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 2014. Already in are Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, 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. East Carolina is
always on the table - at least geographically - and
now it could be more attractive with Memphis going
to the Big East.
What We Know: Texas A&M and Missouri are off to the SEC, TCU is n, and West Virginia will
come aboard - eventually. The Mountaineers are in a legal
battle with the Big East to get out now, but there's a
chance they won't join the Big 12 until 2013. For
2012, the league still has Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech
to go along with TCU and possibly 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 in the hunt, 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 brand name programs. 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 2014 and West Virginia is taking off for the Big 12
once all the legal problems are hammered out. The conference will add Boise State and
San Diego State for football only starting in 2013,
and Houston, UCF, SMU now Memphis will join for all
sports starting in 2013, and Navy will join in 2015.
For 2013, the conference will be Boise State, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Houston, Louisville,
Memphis, Rutgers, San Diego State, SMU, UCF and USF.
Navy will make it 12.
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. Army is an easy get if and when
there are any defections. Temple
appeared to be returning 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 now 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. It appears that things are going to stay
that way 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 going on 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 gotten
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, but it's weakened after both leagues
by the Big East. At the moment, East Carolina, Marshall, Rice, Southern Miss, UAB, UTEP, Tulane and Tulsa are members
with Houston, SMU, UCF, and now Memphis 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, SMU and Memphis gone, the
league's power players are moving
leaving East Carolina, Southern Miss, and Tulsa as
the only programs with any recent football 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 is weathering the storm and
hoping ECU and Southern
Miss aren't the next to bail.
What We Know: Army, BYU, Navy, and Notre Dame are the four independents -
What's Probably Going To Happen Next: Navy is gone to the Big East in
2015, and Army could end up following in the near
future. 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, Buffalo, Kent State, Miami, Ohio, Temple,
and newcomer Massachusetts in the East and Ball
State, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Northern
Illinois, Toledo, and Western Michigan in the West
along with Bowling Green, who's moving from the East
to the West.
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 took off. The dream
was a league with Boise State, BYU, TCU, and Utah
forming a solid nucleus, 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 for football in 2013.
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 in 2012 to go along with,
for this year, Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, New Mexico,
San Diego State, 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: Nothing. The league is suddenly
looking like a killer with USC getting through the
NCAA sanctions and with several new coaches bringing
the league some more attention.
All the talk of going after Oklahoma, Texas, or
anyone else from the Big 12 is gone. The Pac-12 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
What We Know: Texas A&M will join West in 2012 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 expand 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 in 2012.
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 in 2012, but that won't do much to
cushion the blow of losing Fresno State, Hawaii, and
Nevada to the Mountain West. To go along with the two new
members, the league will have Idaho,
Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State, San Jose State and
Utah State for the 2012 season.
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