Big East expansion may have taken a hit as Navy head football coach Ken Niumatalolo said that Navy is not excited to join a conference for football:
"We'd like to stay who we are," Niumatalolo said. "We like the freedom of being independent. We recruit nationally, so we like to go into homes and say ‘We'll be playing close to your home.' We like the independent schedule."
Hearing this from a head football coach is really just talk, because they are the one's who do not make the decision, but Navy being a football independent seems important to them. There is a reason they have not joined a conference for football had the administration thought it would be beneficial then they would.
Being successful at football for Navy is important, but it is not the ultimate goal, the team has bowl game contracts and a fairly large national following because they are an armed forces unit. Playing in the Big East would truly restrict where they play. The Army, Notre Dame and Air Force game would not go away -- the Air Force game would be a conference game if they end up joining the Big East -- however playing games outside of the East coast would greatly diminish.
My assumption is that Air Force will not join the Big East unless Navy is there, because there is nothing in common with the other Big East schools and Air Force. So, if the Mountain West is going to hang on to Air Force it probably be due to Navy declining to join the Big East.