New scenarios for Big East changes

Posted: October 07, 2011

SO, IN THE latest development in the ongoing saga of "How the Big East Turns," what does TCU's not-so-unexpected defection to the Big 12 before it ever played a Big East game mean to the conference's restructuring plan?

Well, in one scenario, maybe even the leading/most sensible scenario right now, it could be good news for Temple and Villanova. Bear in mind that the scenarios can fluctuate faster than an Eagles' fourth-quarter lead.

Nevertheless, well-placed conference sources have confirmed yesterday's Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger report that one possibility is for the Big East to invite Navy for football only, add Temple and Central Florida for all sports and have Villanova make the move up from the FCS level.

That would leave the conference with 10 football schools and 16 for basketball, although it's no secret that Connecticut wouldn't mind joining Syracuse and Pittsburgh in the ACC.

That latest scenario would allow the Big East to maintain a mostly Northeast feel. Air Force, based in Colorado, wouldn't have done that. Neither would Houston, which is no longer needed as a geographical partner for TCU. South Florida obviously doesn't want Central Florida, but probably doesn't have enough leverage to dictate any terms. Just in case, East Carolina supposedly remains a candidate. While no timetables have been made public, one person with knowledge of the situation did acknowledge that "something has to happen soon, possibly within the next week or so."

One thing seems clear: Unless the football part of the conference blows up because of more defections, Temple figures to be part of whatever remains, if only because there are only so many viable options out there. And there always could be additional casualties, depending on what the Big 12 does.

Even if the Temple-Villanova-Navy-CFU scenario is indeed pursued, there are question marks. Villanova, which was prepared to vote yes to such a commitment in April, still would have to be willing, knowing that the TV revenues it had based much of the cost-defraying projections on might not be as feasible. That's not an issue for Temple, since anything it receives will be better than what the MAC provides. And Navy, because of its independent status, would have some contractual scheduling issues to work out.

Perhaps not even commissioner John Marinatto knows for sure what the next move is. Which, of course, could be part of the dilemma.

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