Now that the Pitt to Big Ten rumor is cleared up for now, the Big East football schools need to understand something will eventually happen with Big Ten expansion and it could very well be a Big East school that is selected..
I suggest the Big East identify 4 schools and one alternate as replacement for a school that could potentially end up in the Big Ten if Missouri or Notre Dame is not the most likely 12 school the Big Ten selects.
There was an article in a Big East market newspaper a few months back that really makes sense on the schools the Big East should go after. I know there are Conf USA, however, there is just no other options and the following four schools really make sense.
UCF and Memphis are always at the top of most expansion list, then take Southern Miss and Houston to reach 12.
If you split the football conference into a South Division of Louisville, Memphis, UCF, USF, Southern Miss, and Houston, Southern Miss really makes sense from a geographical position. There may not be the desirable large TV market located in Southern Mississippi, however, the school is solid in football including attendance and would bring back a huge football rivalry game with Louisville. Additionally Southern Miss makes Memphis look more aligned and is currently a good rival football school for Memphis.
Memphis makes sense in the Big East for many reason including basketball and is an old rival of Louisville. With Memphis in the mix, then Southern Miss makes sense as well for football.
Houston brings a huge TV market and with Memphis and Southern Miss is not too geographically apart to be considered for expansion. Plus you get the huge Texas requiting area to help the Big East in football.
The Big East bowl alignment would continue to be BCS and would most likely add the Liberty and a Texas bowl to go along with the Champs, Meineke, Yankee, and Tropicana. With Liberty bowl in the mix playing the SEC, the Big East could drop the Papa Johns bowl.
An idea Texas bowl could be the new start up Cotton bowl that will be played on New Year's Day between Conf USA and the Big Ten. This would become an idea bowl if the Big East expanded to 12.
It would finally provide a post season matchup game between the Big Ten and Big East that is currently missing and should have both conferences playing in the post season.
An alternate could be Temple if a currently northern Big East school is selected by the Big Ten.
Regardless if the Big Ten selects Missouri, this should be a wake up call for the Big East football schools. Expand with football if you want to survive.
I believe the Big East needs to expand to 12 football schools as fast as possible. Unless there is some creative method to acquire more financial TV revenue, there is no quick method the Big East could expand with existing BCS schools such as Maryland, Boston College, Penn State, and South Carolina. All four of these schools are in a conference that may not be the best for those programs, however, they make lots of revenue by being included in the SEC, Big Ten, and ACC. In this day and age of college alignment there is nothing impossible if the money is available. I am not sure there is time for the Big East to make a pitch to a major TV network like Fox or NBC to determine if the revenue could be generated that would interest all of those 12 schools. If there were the possibility of making the revenue, there could be a fair chance the Big East could be the the player that makes the direction of college sports.
If acquiring existing BCS schools is not possible for Big East expansion, the next best option could be to take four Conf USA schools and hope for the same success as the last round of expansion. Louisville, USF, and Cincinnati all have helped the Big East by winning bowl games and to secure the BCS automatic bid with having all three of those schools in the national rankings at some point in the last 5 years. There is no reason expanding with UCF, Southern Miss, Memphis, and Houston could not have the same type of success if provided the exposure of the Big East and BCS.
There is another option the Big East could expand that would require less travel, create more regional rivalries, and take in schools with better academic reputations. The following scenerio could accomplish different results for the Big East to reach 12 football schools.
North: Pitt, Temple, Syracuse, U of Buffalo, UConn, Rutgers
South: Cincinnati, Miami of Ohio, WVU, Louisville, USF, UCF
Regardless of which option is possible or most desirable, my opinion is the Big East needs to get to 12 football schools and in a very quick fashion to ensure the conference remains in the game of high stakes major college football.