Bryant and CCSU to AE / Big South FB is a great idea. Big South provided a FB home for Stony Brook and will do so in the coming years for Monmouth.
This could then set up the AE to take over sponsorship of the CAAFB league in the future if say, JMU and/or Delaware move up, or W&M goes to Patriot....
I seriously think this should be explored. AE wants those schools, Big South needs some FB affiliates with VMI leaving and Liberty looking to move up (may not happen, but the Big South needs to have a contingency plan in case it does). It sounds like a win-win.
At some point, AE is going to figure it out that they can handle football on their own. Now that Boston's gone, maybe Hartford keeps CCSU at bay, but with programs like Monmouth parking their football in the Big South, and those other A-10 and Big East schools floating around, things could swing any direction.
But the Big South is a means to an end and nothing more. Monmouth is there until the CAA takes them (or until AE rights itself). Coastal is gone the moment SoCon or CAA calls (they may even take an OVC invite if OVC wants to go that far east, should something ever happen to Belmont or Murray State). And I can't help but think Winthrop is moving on at some point...they are a basketball school, and a decent one at that, who can't be happy with what has happened to a conference it helped form.
Richmond could be a Patriot school for football only, but the longer W&M isn't in it, the more likely it is it won't ever happen. How both BU and L(MD) get in ahead of W&M...if it isn't W&M keeping the subject off the table, it just doesn't look like the Patriot wants any other public institution than the SA's. If W&M wants an additional all-sports VA partner, then forget it.