BYU is the latest program to be targeted by the Big East, at least according to their football coach Bronco Mendenhall.
"There is a push and there are conversations that are in place for the Big East to convince or to have BYU join that conference," Mendenhall said during his weekly press conference. "I trust our athletic director (Tom Holmoe) and president (Cecil) Samuelson to deal with all of that. I have been informed along the way. At some point there will be a decision with what our intentions will be. I don't know how fast nor do I think a time frame is relevant at this point."
The Big East may disagree; a time frame is probably most relevant to them since Syracuse and Pittsburgh are already committed to the ACC and West Virginia appears headed to the Big 12. The plan (the latest one, anyway) is to create a West Division. Boise State has been on the Big East's radar for weeks, and Air Force, Houston and SMU have also been mentioned as possible candidates to join the conference during the next wave of sign-ups.
So the Big East has a strategy, though it remains unclear just how sound it is. For BYU, the biggest concern could be whether the conference would retain the automatic qualifying spot once this cycle ends.
"With the landscape changing, the main benefit I can see on a short-term scale would be inclusion to the BCS system," Mendenhall said. "That is up in two years and whether the Big East can hold that spot with the new teams going in, my guess would be yes. I can't speak as to what we are going to do other than just to verify we have been approached. I wasn't involved in anything else."
That's a big "if" for potential suitors. The Big East is moving quickly to replace departing members because the fear is that if they wait too long, the conference could suffer a fate much worse than losing its automatic BCS Bowl bid -- it could implode, ceasing to exist altogether.
Which is why we'll say it again: UConn has remained noncommittal throughout this process, and it's reasonable to expect the Huskies to do what's in their best interest. If that means jumping ship then, well, they're jumping ship. The only question is when.