The Big East is apparently ready to make one final push to keep its embattled football league together. With the defections of Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the Atlantic Coast Conference, with TCU, who had been scheduled to join the league next season as a full member moving to the Big 12,and with Louisville apparently ready to join the Horned Frogs in moving to the Big 12, the Big East options seemed limited.
But that may change. According to sources in the Big East, the conference is looking at a plan which will invite Navy, Air Force and Boise State into the league as members in football only as well as Temple and Central Florida as members in all sports. The possibility of adding Villanova as the 12th team in football is also being discussed.
If Louisville chooses to stay in the Big East, the league would have 12 football members and could begin a conference championship game which would increase the value of any television contract the conference would receive.
Boise State, which has become a perennial Top 5 team in the past several years is the key element. If the Broncos, who would explore the possibility of joining another conference such as the Missouri Valley Conference or the Western Athletic Conference in all other sports, came to the Big East, they would also bring much needed BCS points which are necessary for the Big East to maintain its status as a BCS bowl.
The key to this for the Big East is Boise, which could bring significant television dollars in a new contract as well as BCS points and the prestige of a team which could compete for the national championship.
The key for Boise and for Air Force would be to find a place for the other sports besides football. One place could very well be the Western Athletic Conference. "We've had discussions with Air Force about joining in all sports but football,'' said WAC commissioner Karl Benson this afternoon. "And we would certainly be willing to talk to Boise State about the same arrangement.
A source in the Big East told the Newark-Star Ledger that the inclusion of Boise "had been discussed.''
If the Big East could secure Boise State, Air Force and Navy in football only and add Temple and UCF it would be set in football and probably have a better league than now exists with more of a national footprint.
In basketball, the inclusion of Temple and UCF would put the Big East back to 16 teams. Temple would also elevate the Big East basketball profile which was damaged by the departure of Syracuse and Pittsburgh.
- Michael Vega
- Mark Blaudschun
- Nancy Marrapese-Burrell