Conference realignment: Big East quietly talking to Fresno State, UNLV

Ethan Miller

Big East is trying to lure Fresno State and UNLV as football-only members.

We know that the Big East is attempting to lure more teams out West, and the latest comes from CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd who is reporting that Fresno State and UNLV have had talks about joining the Big East as football-only member.

Big East commissioner Mike Aresco has kept these talks quiet to not allow regents of either school to find out about this situation. Well, too late for that. This is not a shock that Fresno State and UNLV were contacted, but with this being a football-only team. The only real shock is that if the timeline is correct, Tulane was an option before either of these schools.

However, my logical thinking says that was not the case, because Fresno State is a better option than Tulane, while UNLV is closer to Tulane, but they would be a more Western team.

Adding Fresno State and UNLV would give the Big East 15 football members, and 16 if they get BYU, whom the league has also had some informal talks with.

This would bolster a Western division that Boise State and San Diego State want, and it would essentially kill off the Mountain West, or make them extremely weak.

The next step is to where the non-football sports would land, and that would be an easy answer: The Big West. They would take UNLV and Fresno State in a heartbeat. Both schools fall in the footprint adding Fresno State gives another Northern California option. Plus, UNLV would be back in the league where they went to a pair of Final Fours, and won a national title.

The talks do seem very early, but while early Craig Thompson and the Mountain West need to strike with something. Either get a better television deal with their second-tier rights to get more money to get Boise State and San Diego State return to gain the upper hand. At this point, the Mountain West and Big East are fighting over who will be that No. 6 league and have the inside track of earning a bid to a big money access bowl.

Hopefully Thompson is planning a move to keep this league alive, and relevant.

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