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Conference Expansion: Big East Is Falling Apart Right Before Our Eyes

The Big East is on the prowl again and is looking to fill out their football conference and the latest name is the Memphis Tigers out of Conference USA. It is being reporting that the Big East and Memphis are in "the final stages of negotiations" to add the Tigers in all sports. This would be for 2013 and not 2012, and with this move it seems that the Big East does not want to wait around for Air Force to make choice.

UPDATE: Memphis is heading to Big East in 2013 and Louisville likely to the Big 12.

However, the Big East may want to speed up the time line by adding Memphis to the league in 2012 instead of 2013. With West Virginia looking like they will be in the Big 12 next year that would leave the Big East with seven football playing members. However, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that Pitt will leave to the ACC if/when West Virginia announces they will be in the Big 12 for the 2012 season:

I am now becoming more and more convinced in the conversations I've had in the past two days that Pitt will be in the ACC in 2012 and here is why - the school has had enough with the way the Big East has mangled this all and frankly is waiting on West Virginia.

If - or more accurately - when, West Virginia finally declares they are leaving for the 2012 season officially and the Big 12 schedule is announced with WVU on it, Pitt is going to follow them out the door and dare the Big East to stop them.

That would leave the Big East with six football playing members, and if Pitt leaves what is stopping Syracuse from leaving as well giving the Big East only five football members in 2012, probably nothing and they would likely leave as well according that report.

The Big East is obviously not looking like a power football conference and really haven't looked that way since Boston College, Virginia Tech and Miami left for the ACC. It has been able to have some very good teams with West Virginia and Cincinnati over the past few years, but if they lose Pitt, West Virginia and Syracuse for the 2012 season the league is a joke, and in my opinion lose their BCS status for the final two years of cycle since the would have only five teams for one year and then say 11 teams in 2013 assuming Boise State, San Diego State, Central Florida, SMU, Houston and as of now Memphis still want to be part of this mess of a league.

We all knew that the Big East was not going to be as strong, but I am starting to think that it is a mistake for Boise State, San Diego State and others to go to that league. There are no traditional football powers, and Boise State is the closest thing due to their dominance over the past decade, and after that who is it? Louisville, South Florida or Cincinnati who all were in Conference USA just a few years ago.

The television contract is not going to be that much better in the Big East than the Mountain West and if the BCS goes away to some sort of plus-one or eliminates auto bids then what is the point in joining the Big East? Yes, they maybe on ESPN, but what about road games that are on regional television, those would have to bought on the ESPN PPV package or watches online with ESPN3. At least with the Mtn. -- well assuming that is around -- CBS Sports and NBC Sports all games were on television and could be seen nationally, with the correct provider of course for Mtn. games.

With the public hit that the Big East is taking, Craig Thompson should try to get Boise State and San Diego State to stay.

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