UMass does not have a lot of money.The donors at UMASS have not surfaced.The wealth of MASS to date has not helped UMASS.John C the xUMASS coachand his special brand of recruiting has done nothing positive for UMASS.Don't hold your breath for UMASS getting into the BE.Hartford is the capitol CONN and is a large business center.Springfield is not close to Hartford in its econmic base.
Tigershark, you sound like the voice of a naysayer. As someone who lives near Hartford, the idea of UConn as a candidate for BCS level football was laughable 20 years ago. If someone with vision emerges & that is combined with opportunity, UMass is the bast choice for the long term for the Big East.
On this thread alone, you have proposed Villanova, Army, Navy, & East Carolina in addition to Notre Dame as candidates for a 9th spot in the Big East. Other than Notre Dame, I think the viability of any of the other 4 as BCS level programs speaks for itself.
If the BE wants to go outside its footpring, Memphis could work. otherwise, UMass has by far the most potential for this conference.