By the time Navy finally joins in 2015, there will be divisions and a title game.
Yet without West Virginia, the Big East is left with only seven football members for the 2012 season. That obviously creates a void. One of the solutions being discussed is having some teams play each other twice. In 2004 the Big East played with seven, after Miami and Virginia Tech left for the Atlantic Coast Conference and before Louisville and Cincinnati arrived from Conference-USA.
People familiar with the situation say the Big East would prefer to simply bring Boise in a year early. But the financial buyout might be too steep unless the Big East is willing to contribute, as the Big 12 did with West Virginia. And if that happens it might cause problems with the other schools scheduled to come aboard in 2013, who'd figure to want a similar consideration even though Boise is viewed as the key addition in terms of BCS status.
If the Boise thing can't be resolved and the Big East doesn't want to go with seven, what are the options? Well, Temple would certainly appear to be at or near the top, just because of who else out there is left. Army? East Carolina? Massachusetts?
Sources have indicated that officials from C-USA and the Mountain West, which just announced they were merging, expressed interest in adding Temple for football only. But word is that Temple believes, and probably rightfully so, it is closer than ever to getting in the Big East, where it was a football-only member from 1991-2004.
The Owls have competed in the Mid-American Conference for football only since 2007. They're in the Atlantic 10 for everything else.
Even if Temple doesn't get into the Big East at this time, most observers feel the move will eventually happen, given that Louisville is probably going to the Big 12 when it expands from 10 back to a dozen. And that would be sooner than later. Louisville lost out to West Virginia in the most recent expansion. And Rutgers is supposedly telling recruits that it's headed to the Big 10, while Connecticut has already tried to get into the ACC.
So at some point, common sense suggests that Temple has to emerge as the most viable possibility.
Big East notes
Big East commissioner John Marinatto said yesterday that the conference is open to discussions concerning Syracuse and Pittsburgh becoming members of the Big 12 in for the 2013 season instead of 2014.
The announcement came on the heels of the conference's settlement with West Virginia that will allow the Mountaineers to become a member of the Big 12 this summer. That agreement upholds Big East bylaws requiring schools to notify the conference 27 months before leaving.
Pitt and Syracuse have said they wouldn't challenge that rule, but would like to join the ACC as soon as possible.