So much is still in flux in the ever-changing world of conference realignment. The Big East has already lost two teams, Syracuse and Pitt, to the ACC. Certainly Connecticut and Rutgers from the Big East would like to land in the ACC. The Big 12 figures to be crumbling soon as four teams, led by Texas and Oklahoma, figure to depart.
That leaves whoever remains in the Big East and Big 12 needing each other and coming together to form a league that doesn't solve the problems of those in it. Travel will be an issue since that league would stretch so far. It still would be way behind the ACC, SEC, Pac-12 and Big Ten in status. And its members would be ripe to be cherry-picked at another time.
Sad times for the Big East and Big 12.
Bottom line: You get in this league and you have a fix, but for how long?
Think Brady Bunch
Los Angeles Times
Think "blended family." You know, like the Brady Bunch.
If Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech leave the Big 12 for the Pac-16, look for the depleted Big East to join the depleted Big 12 to form The Leftovers.
Should Rutgers and Connecticut eventually join Pittsburgh and Syracuse in the ACC, the geographic edge goes to the Big 12. Assume Missouri becomes the SEC's 14th team. The "Mid" East might be Baylor, Kansas State, Kansas, Iowa State, Louisville, Cincinnati, South Florida, West Virginia, Texas Christian.
Then bulk up by adding Boise State, SMU, Houston. Or maybe add some Rice if you're thinking academics. This patch-work life raft might hold until the next big expansion wave. Or not.
Few good options
This assumes college football tectonics shift as violently as a reshuffled deck of cards, and that may not occur. The Big 12 once again may perform its annual self-resuscitation ritual if Oklahoma reportedly gets its way.
But whether the Sooners put Commissioner Dan Beebe in a corner, there is nothing but half-inflated life preservers for the Big East. It's a fractured league led by a wobbly commissioner who just got blindsided by two bedrock members, Syracuse and Pittsburgh, bailing.
Maybe more Big East teams defect to the ACC, or a West Virginia or Louisville moves to a reformed Big 12, or the league adds such luminaries as Memphis, Houston and Central Florida. There are many possibilities here for the Big East. None are particularly good.
Rich get richer
Conventional wisdom says the rush to four superconferences will leave several schools behind. Wrong.
The power schools aren't stupid. They'll have no appetite to fight the legal battles that a true separation would invite. Especially not when the answer to an extended period of stability is simple: Grant BCS access to more programs.
Assuming the Big East and Big 12 are gutted as expected, any remaining Big 12/Big East schools will merge under the Big 12 umbrella with BCS status. The Mountain West and Conference USA will enter an alliance for a BCS bid.
Life would go on as normal for the WAC, MAC and Sun Belt. The bowl system would be preserved. And the rich would get even richer.
- Big 12 Conference
- Big East Conference
- Oklahoma Sooners
- Atlantic Coast Conference
- Bowl Championship Series
- Louisville Cardinals
- Rutgers Scarlet Knights
- UConn Huskies
- Virginia Cavaliers
- Cincinnati Bearcats
- Chicago Tribune
- Los Angeles Times
- Western Athletic Conference
- Pittsburgh Panthers
- South Florida Bulls
- Pac-12 Conference