On another thread, Sportsgeog pointed out the risks of The Big East expanding beyond its own footprint & becoming a conference whose teams are secondary to the Big Ten, the SEC, & the ACC, thereby becoming the new CUSA. Half of the current footbal members are already in this position. Sportsgeog suggested that The Big East work with Notheast I-AA schools that have an interest in upgrading their programs & bringing them into the fold some time down the road. I think that this is sage advice. A year ago, The Big East needed instant credibility & they selected schools that brought that for the most part. Now they can afford to wait. In fact, it's important that they wait so that they strengthen their existing core. Expansion that is too rapid will dilute their membership, & they will quickly find themselves out of the BCS altogether.
Marshall & Army fit the Big East footprint while the others do not. However, I don't think that The Big East will ever again include associate, football-only members. Do Marshall & Army fit the all-sports criterion? Maybe. Army is a stretch & Marshall seems to have opponents within the existing Big East membership.
I like the idea of starting with Delaware, an established winner as a I-AA football program and Umass to take the initiative back from the ACC in that part of New England & a school that has proven that it can build a winner in basketball & has some interest in I-A football.
Temple has the big city location but The Big East seems to have given up on them. Villanova was once a Successful D-I football program & continues at I-AA, but they didn't show any interest when The Big East offered guaranteed membership to non-IA members who would upgrade. Only UConn took advantage of that offer. I think that there is real potential in the SUNY campuses at Buffalo, Albany, & Stony Brook, Long Island. However, so far only Buffalo has shown any interest & they've been a dismal failure.
If I were The Big East & if I decided to split from the basketball schools, I'd start expansion with UMass & Delaware to get to 10 teams. I'd then wait & see if their example sparks any meaningful interest in any of the other potential candidates. I'd also take a second look at Marshall, Army, & maybe Navy.
My 2 cents. :)
That makes sense too, but why even add South Florida in the first place? If they were willing to add them, I don't see why they would not not add UCF with their expanding budget and great market?
Also, Memphis just makes too much sense as a key addition in basketball as well as having another great market.
Marshall is sort of the best of the rest scenario.
You're right, I think, about Delaware or UMass being an upgrade as the 12th addition.
East Carolina would be the filler, so to speak, if no other options were available.
I'm hearing that any movement is at least 5 years away. By then, the Big East should no what will happen or not happen to their BCS bid. That will determine who or if thaey add anyone, assuming there is a split first of course.