Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Big East Expansion and Conference Realignment News

--The Big East is looking to expand its football membership to ten members. Villanova is at the top of the list for candidates as it is already a Big East member in its other sports. The Villanova Wildcats are one of the better FCS football programs; the Wildcats won the FCS national championship in 2009. Villanova should be a done deal for the Big East. But who will be the tenth program to join Big East football? TCU and UCF are two other schools being seriously considered. Central Florida would be a natural rival to South Florida. The Knights are currently in first place in the C-USA East Division. TCU would be a misfit travel-wise for the Big East, but would definitely open the door to Big East teams recruiting out of Texas high schools. The Big East is not interested in adding another conference member to its other sports, so UCF and TCU would need to remain in their current conferences for all of their other sports. It is unlikely the Mountain West would let TCU remain in conference if it moved its football program. A fourth option that could meet the demand for a football only member is Temple. Temple has evolved into a legitimate football program in the Mid-America Conference while playing all of its other sports in the Atlantic 10. The Owls are geographically in the heart of Big East country.

--Nevada and Fresno State will not leave the Western Athletic Conference for the Mountain West Conference until the 2012 season. Both schools wanted to commence playing in their new conference by the 2011 school year, but have reached an agreement with the WAC where if they stay in the conference an extra year, their exit penalty will be reduced from $5 million to $900,000.

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