Today is the first time that there is confirmation that the Big East was set to offer Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and Missouri if the Big 12 fell apart. Back in June the Mountain West reached out to Kansas and Missouri to replace Utah apparently never had a chance at happening.
The Big East did have a backup plan to bolster their league if the Big 12 South went to join a 16 team Pac-10 league, and Kansas basketball head coach Bill Self explains what the Big East had in store:
To be honest with you, Kansas could have been making the same announcement today that TCU made. And Kansas State could have been in there too, because the feeling that we got -- or we had, when the conference realignment was going on, that if by chance, Texas would have gone to the Pac-10 and we would have stayed buddies with Kansas State and not separated and done all that stuff, then the Big East would have came and gotten us, and KSU, and Iowa State, and Missouri. Which, in theory, you say, 'Oh god, the Big East, bad travel.' They would have gone to divisions, so we would have had divisions with probably the teams that are close, and maybe Louisville and Cincinnati or whatever.
And I think that's smart on the Big East's part, because the Big Ten's still going to go poach somebody, and when they poach somebody it's going to be a football-playing school, and if that number goes beneath eight, then I believe -- I could be wrong -- but I believe then they're not eligible for the BCS bid. So they're covering themselves to make sure that whenever the Big Ten does whatever they do, they'll still have enough football-playing schools to make sure that they keep their BCS football bid alive. So I think it's a smart move, and probably great for TCU, so I see no problems with it.
So for all of the hope that the Mountain West could have grabbed basketball powers Kansas to help boost their league it was never going to happen. The Big East would have taken in these teams to create a 12 team football league that would have kept their BCS status and put them closer to the ACC and pull further away from the Mountain West in terms of BCS qualifications.
From the way Bill Self talks abou the Big 10 not being done in adding the teams and with them possibly taking teams from the Big East they need to add teams and it seems that the Big 12 North is where the Big East will look next.