Big East To Add 5: SMU, UCF, Houston (All-Sports) & Boise St., SDSU (football-only)
The plan will be to add Houston, SMU and UCF from CUSA for all-sports, bringing that total to 16.
Boise St. and San Diego St. will join for football-only, bringing the football membership to 10.
Phase 2 of expansion is still lined up to include Air Force and Navy to get the total football membership to 12.
SDSU will join the Big West for non-football sports, a move made possible when the Big West passed on adding UC-San Diego.
Boise St. was also interested in the Big West, but that move has been less easy with the school so far away from the all-California (plus Hawaii) conference. Instead, they will return to the WAC.
The fate of the MWC and CUSA is also at stake.
The conferences have had a planned football merger. But with the MWC down to 8 members and with Air Force still expected to leave the conference at only 7 members, the MWC will need replacements. And if no CUSA schools will be available due to the partnership, it limits the options to Utah St., San Jose St., Idaho, Texas St., UTSA, and New Mexico St. from FBS. Even Montana might start looking good as an FCS upgrade option.
CUSA has many more options due to their region, being able to pretty much pick any Sun Belt school, any potential FCS upgrades, MAC schools such as Temple and UMass, as well as WAC schools such as LA Tech, UTSA and Texas St.
But at some point, with CUSA down to 9 members and it the MWC is down to 7, perhaps it would be time to explore the idea of a 16 school all sports conference. UTEP would simply need to move from the CUSA “division” to the MWC for an 8/8 balance.