While the rest of the college football-playing world seems eventually destined for the ACC, the handful of programs still on the outside looking in are trying to make the best of a decidedly bleak situation. We're being melodramatic -- it's not that bad, it just feels like it. In the meantime, the Big East, which would be more accurately described as Big Everything Else or Big Leftover, is looking to expand beyond its 13-member football schools.
ESPN's Brett McMurphy first reported the story.
The Big East is divided over whether to pursue Air Force or BYU as its 14th football member, while another option the conference is considering is creating a 16-team football league by adding Army, Air Force and BYU, industry and league sources told ESPN.
On Thursday, recently hired Big East commissioner Mike Aresco reiterated in Tampa, Fla., that the conference will add a 14th football member, echoing comments that former commissioner John Marinatto made months ago that it would add another member from out West to get to 14 teams.
The logistics of the Big East is becoming untenable. There are a lot of moving parts located all over the country and Aresco is tasked with trying to coordinate them all -- while also negotiating a new television deal with ESPN that could play a big part in the conference's future. As for Army, Air Force or BYU eventually joining the Big East, a source tells McMurphy that "They'll crawl back once the TV deal is done."
ESPN has sole negotiating rights from Sept. 1 to Nov. 1. After that, NBC/Comcast and Fox Sports can join the bidding.
Another holdup for Air Force, according to McMurphy, are their ties with the Mountain West Conference.
"You feel an affiliation, not just in terms of proximity but in terms of mutual respect among the institutions that are part of this league," Air Force coach Troy Calhoun told the Colorado Springs Gazette this summer. "You take guys out of school, leave on Thursday and miss all day Thursday and Friday -- sure, the revenue part of it, you might say maybe or maybe not -- I just think there's more to it."
Where the Huskies fit in all this is another issue. President Susan Herbst said last year, shortly after Syracuse and Pitt announced they were bolting for the ACC, that the school would do what's in its best interest. We haven't heard much on that front since but we can't imagine UConn, given all the upheaval in the conference, is happy with the status quo.