This is a good point, BCHokie. These four have an opportunity to develop multiple, intense rivalries in the region. The BE did a good job adding L'ville and Cincy. Even had the BE not had defections, these two would have been a plus.
If the BE splits, and the football contingent goes for "12" as in the ACC, there are schools the BE could add, and even offer the ACC some recruiting and media competition. While East Carolina, Temple, and perhaps upgrades at places such as UMASS and Delaware, may not sound thrilling, five years from now, there may be attractive options, though few.
It is clear the BE helped Va Tech get to the forefront. I would not dismiss it happening with another or others.
I think the BE football schools would do better eventually splitting and expanding, and those bb only schools have enough strength to stand unto themselves and even add to their membership. There is merit in terms of "like-minded" being associated formally and their profiles have an appreciable degree of consistency.
When you look at the New Big East, you see some good rivalries.
WVU, Pitt, Louisville and Cincy.
But the rest of the footprint could use some support for rivalries and conference exposure.
I look at UMass as a potential option since the conference, the only one based int he northeast, is without a school for the Boston market. UMass could fill that void:
UMass, UConn, Syracuse, Rutgers
Need a 10th?
ECU might seem appelaing to some since USF was admitted.
I still look at USF as a poor investment. The Big East lost Miami but still felt that they needed to add a Florida school, even if it's one outside of Miami, FSU or Florida.
The Big East should just leave Florida alone with USF as the lone member.
The 9th and 10th school options aren't all that attractive when you mention I-AA schools like UMass.
But if UMass was the 9th, then the 10th option should again REINFORCE the current Big East footprint.
Temple: replace lost Villanova market, school will have had a few years of MAC football experience, adds rivalry potential for Rutgers and Pitt again, adds a strong basketball program.
Delaware: another upgrade but a worht candidate
Ohio: on the radar with Solich in charge. Let's see how they do.
All in all there are few good options. When USF is considered for the #8 spot, you know there are few quality options left.