Conference Realignment: Big East Is Close To Adding Seven Teams, For Reals This Time

The Big East has said for about two months that they plan on expanding the league to 12 teams and there have been multiple reports that have said invites were forthcoming. However no invites have been sent out and now according to the Newark Star-Ledger, the Big East is expected to invite San Diego State, Boise State, Houston, SMU, Central Florida in 2013 with Air Force and Navy to join at a later date to form a 12-team Big East (via Big East Coast Bias):

The Big East is on the verge of completing expansion plans that will see Boise State and San Diego State added for football only and SMU, Central Florida and Houston joining as all-sports members, possibly by the end of this week, according to two leading college officials.

The goal is to get those schools added in time for the 2013 season, with Air Force and Navy expected to join later.
League administrators and the five remaining football athletic directors - representing Rutgers, Louisville, South Florida, Cincinnati and Connecticut - met tonight in New York City to review the remaining expansion details.

The officials requested anonymity because the league has not finalized its plans.

One official characterized the process as being "very close," with the other saying that legal paperwork is the only remaining obstacle.

[...]

Under those plans, Boise State, San Diego State, Houston, SMU, Air Force and, possibly, Louisville would form the West Division. Rutgers, Connecticut, Cincinnati, South Florida, UCF and Navy would comprise the East.

The addition of the first five schools is expected to boost the Big East's chances of retaining its automatic BCS qualifying status following the 2013 season.

"Very soon," we have heard that before.

Not sure what the hold up is on adding teams as it is the worst kept secret in all of college football. Boise State has already gained approval to to change leagues and San Diego State has pimped themselves out to various BCS leagues over the past year. The holdup could have something to do with West Virginia who is trying to leave for the Big 12 next year and all of the new additions sans Air Force and Navy are expected to join in 2013. If West Virginia gets their way then the Big East would have only seven football members in 2012 and that could be an issue because eight teams are needed to be an NCAA conference. However, the Big East could get a two-year exception similar to the WAC to get back to eight teams.

One thing to consider for the Big East and the projected new schools to think about is what happens if the BCS fails to exist as we know it after the 2013 season. The new BCS could be a system where there are no automatic bids with the requirements based on rankings. That would leave Boise State, San Diego State and Air Force stuck in a far-flung league and have their non-football sports in a lesser league, so the higher ups at those schools better know what they are doing by chasing the money in joining the Big East.

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