While the Big East considers its next move on expansion, it is now being asked to consider a plan that would create a nation-wide football conference incorporating between 28 and 32 teams in four divisions from Conference USA, the Mountain West Conference as well as the Big East.
According to sources from those conferences, the plan was devised as a way that the Big East could ensure its place as one of the six conferences receiving automatic BCS bids.
The document, which was obtained by The Globe, reveals an alternative plan which would help the Big East maintain its AQ status -- automatic qualification -- but also provide access to the Mountain West and Conference USA, who hope to gain such status.
Under the plan, Super Conference would consist of four divisions: West, Mountain, Central and the Big East.
In the 32-team format, the West Division would consist of Boise State, Hawaii, UNLV, Nevada, Fresno State, San Diego State, Utah State and San Jose State.
The Mountain Division would consist of Air Force, Wyoming, Colorado State, New Mexico, UTEP, SMU, Tulsa and Houston.
The Central Division would consist of Marshall, Memphis, Southern Mississippi, Tulane, UAB, Rice, Temple and Louisiana Tech.
And the Big East Division would consist of Louisville, UConn, Rutgers, Cincinnati, South Florida, Central Florida, East Carolina and Navy. West Virginia is not included in this plan, with the assumption being the Mountaineers would be headed to the Big 12 to replace Missouri which will presumably wind up in the SEC along with Texas A&M.
The scaled down version of 28 teams would not include San Jose State in the West, move Houston from the Mountain to the Central Division, eliminate Temple and Louisiana Tech from the Central Division and not include Navy in the Big East division.
Although no details of how the divisions would be worked out, the prevailing wisdom suggests that the four divisions play a round robin schedule of 7 games to determine a champion and then have the four division winners meet to determine a conference champion which would get the automatic BCS spot currently held by the Big East.
While the Big East optimum plan is to make a run on its own with the inclusion of six new schools - -Boise State, Air Force, SMU, Houston, Central Florida and Navy -- the problem of the Big East maintaining its AQ status remains.
West Virginia's loss to Syracuse on Friday night basically eliminated the Big East from the Top 25 in next week's BCS standings, a potentially crippling blow to the Big East's chances of maintaining its AQ status (which is based on the results over a revolving three year period).
The plan is for football only and would allow the Big East to maintain its membership in basketball and all other sports.
Clearly, the Mountain West and Conference USA would love the plan because it elevates their status as potential BCS conferences. The Big East's acceptance of such an arrangement remains problematic.
- Michael Vega
- Mark Blaudschun
- Nancy Marrapese-Burrell