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The Big East Considers Expansion

Football schools pressing for more teams; TCU and Houston could be targets


Updated November 01, 2010

The Big East will discuss expanding at a meeting to be held this week, the New York Post reports. Texas Christian, Houston, Central Florida, and Temple are named as potential invitees.

Memphis has been mentioned as a potential Big East target in the past.

The eight teams that form the league's BCS conference -- West Virginia, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Rutgers, Cincinnati, Louisville and South Florida -- are said to favor expansion. The basketball-only schools are reportedly opposed; the Big East already has 16 members for basketball, by far the largest number of any Division I conference.

Villanova could be a swing vote in this discussion. The Wildcats have long been a power in the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly known as Division I-AA), and are said to be considering a move up to college football's top tier.

Adding TCU would make the Big East a much better football conference and give the league a foothold in Texas for both television and recruiting. Geographically, it makes little sense... but since the conference already stretches from Storrs, Connecticut to Tampa, Florida to Chicago, the geography argument doesn't hold much water. And expanding the football league would protect the Big East -- somewhat -- from losing its membership in the BCS if another conference was to poach a team or two.

Syracuse, Rutgers, Pittsburgh and West Virginia have long been considered potential targets of the Big Ten, should that league decide to expand to 16 teams.

There's also the very real possibility that the Big East could split into two leagues, with the BCS teams in one group and the basketball-only schools in another.

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