East Carolina to the Big East
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It might not signal a seismic shift in the
college sports landscape, but East Carolina moving
to the Big East - and not the ACC - should help
continue to make the struggling league viable. The
Big East might simply be turning into Conference USA
Plus, and it won't be called the Big East by the
time ECU joins in 2014, but it's a good move for all
sides as the realignment and adjustment continues in
the college sports world.
And it's not stopping now with New Mexico State
expected to join the Sun Belt and Tulsa looking to
potentially follow East Carolina to the Big East, or
whatever it's going to be called.
So now what do the conferences look like,
and what's next in the constantly changing world of realignment?
Here's what's currently happening along with the
best guess for what everything will look like two
years from now before the start of the 2015 season.
What We Know: Pitt and Syracuse are joining this year and Louisville is
coming aboard in 2014, however, Maryland is taking
off to the Big Ten next year. Atlantic: Boston
College, Clemson, Florida State, Maryland, NC State,
Syracuse, Wake Forest. Coastal: Duke, Georgia Tech,
Miami, North Carolina, Pitt, Virginia, Virginia
What's Probably Going To Happen Next: The ACC is replacing Maryland with
Louisville, and it has to still work and still be
proactive with Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech,
North Carolina, Virginia and Virginia Tech all
rumored at one time or another to be in the mix for
other leagues. However, with Notre Dame dabbling in
for football and jumping in for all other sports,
that might be just enough of a lure to keep everyone
at home. It still wouldn't be a bad thing to be an
even bigger deal in the Sunshine State with South
Florida and possibly UCF, and Cincinnati would be a
natural to come in along with Louisville.
What We Know: The Big 12 is standing pat with Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas,
Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, TCU,
Texas Tech, West Virginia
What's Probably Going To Happen Next: On the positive side, being in the
middle of the country allows the Big 12 to think
about several schools within geographic range,
however, the conference might be more ripe for the
picking than it may appear. The contracts might be
strong, but don't be stunned if the Big Ten or
Pac-12 shows a heavy interest in Kansas. I
Louisville's move to the ACC was a slight shocker
after seeming like a natural to join West Virginia,
and Cincinnati might be a right fit even though
there's lukewarm interest from everyone. There has
always been talk about Florida State and Miami, but
if the ACC can get more out of Notre Dame, that
appears to be less and less likely. An interesting
move would be to branch out a bit and get UCF and
South Florida, and it's always out there to Texas up
a bit more with Houston and SMU bringing in a
Southwest Conference flavor. BYU and Boise State
would come in for the asking, and Nevada and
Colorado State make a little bit of geographic
sense. However, the league doesn't want to go Big
East and start grabbing more non-BCS programs - TCU
was a good exception and Boise State fits the bill.
What We Know: East Carolina and Tulane are coming in and Tulsa is
expected to be next, but Rutgers is moving to the
Big Ten in 2014 and Louisville is also taking off
next year to the ACC. Navy will join in 2015. For
this year, the league is Cincinnati, Connecticut,
Houston, Louisville, Memphis, Rutgers, South
Florida, SMU, Temple and UCF.
What's Probably Going To Happen Next: Give the league credit for being
extremely proactive in making sure it doesn't turn
into the WAC. It has to keep its foot on the gas
with UCF, Cincinnati and South Florida ripe to be
snagged by the ACC or even the Big 12. Expect more
and more Conference USA teams to come board with
Louisiana Tech and Southern Miss big enough to be on
the radar to join ECU, Tulane and Tulsa.
What We Know: Rutgers and Maryland are joining the league in 2014. For
2013, Leaders: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn
State, Purdue, Wisconsin. Legends: Iowa, Michigan,
Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern.
What's Probably Going To Happen Next: This is where it gets interesting
since no one thinks outside of the box more than Jim
Delany. Rutgers and Maryland bring in TV markets,
and the BTN is going to want more. The idea of a
massive power move of going after North Carolina,
Virginia and Georgia Tech has been floated out
there, but the Tar Heels probably don't come without
Duke along for the ride. Don't be caught looking if
the league wants a piece of Florida and takes a look
What We Know: The league is losing teams left and right with East
Carolina, Tulane and Tulsa gone next year. However,
entering the conference this season is Charlotte,
Florida Atlantic, FIU, Louisiana Tech, Middle
Tennessee, North Texas and UTSA. Old Dominion is
playing as an independent this year but will be a
part of the mix next year. For 2013, East:
Charlotte, East Carolina, Florida Atlantic, FIU,
Marshall, Middle Tennessee, Southern Miss, UAB.
West: Louisiana Tech, North Texas, Rice, Tulane,
Tulsa, UTEP, UTSA.
What's Probably Going To Happen Next: The minor league for the Big East,
and a step up for the Sun Belt types, it might be
losing East Carolina, Tulane and Tulsa but Arkansas
State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Troy, ULM and Western
Kentucky seem like mortal locks to keep adding on
programs to prepare for the other losses. Army could
be a nice fit at some point.
What We Know: Army, BYU, Idaho, Navy, New Mexico State, Old Dominion and
Notre Dame are the independents going into this
season. ODU will go to Conference USA as a full-time
member next season and New Mexico State will go to
the Sun Belt.
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. New Mexico State is gone to the Sun Belt and
Idaho is off to the Sun Belt. BYU will likely end up in
the Big 12 at best, but will likely end up going
back to a stronger Mountain West some day. Notre
Dame will eventually marry its football program to
the ACC far, far down the road.
What We Know: At the moment, it's Akron, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Kent State,
Massachusetts, Miami University and Ohio in the
East, and Ball
State, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Northern
Illinois, Toledo and Western Michigan in the West.
What's Probably Going To Happen Next: Nothing. The league has been
relatively rock solid, only losing Temple over the
last few years after being dumped and then rehired
by the Big East. If UMass ever got stronger at
football it would be a natural fit for the Big East
- or whatever it's going to be called - or
Conference USA, but no one has shown any interest in
the directional Michigan schools and the fan bases
and TV markets just aren't there for a Northern
Illinois, Toledo or Bowling Green.
What We Know: The league raided the WAC to get up to two divisions, and
Boise State and San Diego State aren't leaving for
the Big East and will stay around. Mountain
Division: Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State,
New Mexico, Utah State and Wyoming. West Division:
Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, San Diego State, San
Jose State and UNLV.
What's Probably Going To Happen Next: Get the fence up. This is the last
best farm system for the BCS leagues, and Boise
State, Fresno State, Nevada and San Diego State
could all be in a bit of a tug-of-war over the next
several years depending on what the Pac-12 and Big
12 try to do. If Boise State ever leaves, Idaho
would be the next program up, and there could be a
mini-raid on the Sun Belt if things get desperate.
Louisiana Tech from Conference USA makes a little
bit of sense in a pinch.
What We Know: The league is set for the time being with California,
Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, Washington and
Washington State in the North, and Arizona, Arizona
State, Colorado, Utah, UCLA and USC in the South.
What's Probably Going To Happen Next: For the moment, nothing. BYU
doesn't work for a variety of reasons, but Boise
State, Fresno State, Nevada and San Diego State
could be on the radar depending on how the Mountain
West grows over the next few seasons. Don't rule out
another push for Big 12 teams with Kansas a good fit
for basketball. However, of all the Big 12 teams
rumored to go to the Pac-12 over the years, there
hasn't been any talk whatsoever about KU.
What We Know: The league is set for the time being with Florida, Georgia,
Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee and
Vanderbilt in the East, and Alabama, Arkansas,
Auburn, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Texas
A&M from the West.
What's Probably Going To Happen Next: The SEC hasn't been too excited
about expanding again after bringing in Texas A&M
and Missouri - the best league doesn't need to get
any nastier - but the dollar signs are going to be
too great to not get even bigger and add two more
teams to get up to 16 total with two divisions of
eight. Interest in obvious geographic and rival fits
Clemson, Florida State and Georgia Tech isn't there
- the league already has those TV markets - but
Virginia Tech is on the radar to go along with
ever-present rumors of North Carolina and Miami.
What We Know: Georgia State and Texas State are entering this season and
New Mexico State and Idaho will join in 2014. However, the
conference is losing Florida Atlantic, FIU, Middle
Tennessee and North Texas to Conference USA.
What's Probably Going To Happen Next: The addition of New Mexico State
will help bring in a little bit of help with more
losses almost certainly to come. Western Kentucky is
perfect for Conference USA in the near future and
Arkansas State and Troy could be in the hunt to
leave, too. The conference has to stay very, very
active to bring in as many programs as possible in
order to be viable in three years.
What We Know: The WAC is gone. There is no WAC.