Another day, another FBS expansion article. This time, however, one of the BCS "Big Boys" is making waves, as presidents and athletic directors of the current Big East schools traveled to New York to discuss it earlier Monday. Now, two schools have already popped up in connections with the Big East: TCU and Villanova.
'Nova is doing what Montana is doing right now, and is working on a feasibility report on the move up. If they get an invite and end up saying yes, they won't be eligible to play in FBS until 2014 and probably play a few years as an independent (i.e. UConn) before actually jumping in the conference.
TCU, at first, doesn't make sense. They are out west in the middle of nowhere (compared to other Big East schools) with a terrible basketball team. Well, first off, the women's team is strong. Second, its about football. Expansion has always been about football. And as Aaron Taylor of CBS Sports put it:
"...they're the furthest team to the East in the Mountain West. They would be the same distance, but West, to the Big East."
And don't think the Big East aren't licking their lips at the prospect of being in the Dallas/Ft. Worth market...or maybe you can think about it.
The New York Post reported that the Big East is considering a 12 football/20 basketball conference, meaning they need four schools to invite. Besides TCU and 'Nova, the other schools that were discussed were Houston, Central Florida and Temple, with TCU and UCF being the top two most likely after the meetings were over.
Temple seems intriguing if nothing else. They were a former member in football, but were (for lack of better term) kicked out in 2004. Since showing renewed life and dedication to the sport, an invite back in as a full member seems possible. However, it is reported that the Big East will only take one of the Philly schools.
If Temple is invited, 'Nova will not be invited for football and will remain a member in its other sports. A 'Nova invite, eliminates Temple and opens the door for another school to be invited for basketball only.
Houston would be a natural partner for former SWC rival, TCU and help bridge the gap for traveling. Not to mention bring another big TV market. The Cougars already have a plan in place to improve their football and basketball venues even going so far as hiring Ellerbe Becket, an architecture firm responsible for the renovations of Lambeau Field and Notre Dame Stadium, and the designing and building of Qwest Field.
Central Florida brings Orlando, Disney and an underrated pure hatred for South Florida that would fill seats instantly (USF literally dumped UCF as a rival after moving to the Big East, a move that has left the Knights without a true in-state rival since).
As a side note, Memphis could sneak in as a potential candidate down the road should one of the other schools get dropped from consideration, and don't expect Notre Dame to move from their indie status.
UPDATE: The Big East has unanimously agreed to add two more schools for a total of 10 football schools instead of the 12 discussed in the meeting. It was also announced that the idea of splitting the football schools from the non-football schools was discussed but no decission has been made about it thus far. They will talk about it more in future meetings.