At this point, it seems like a forgone conclusion that the Big Ten will expand, to the detriment of the Big East. The latest news reflects they have their sites set on as many as four BE schools (Pitt, Rutgers, Syracuse, and Connecticut).
If that turns out to be the case, the Big East will need to quickly shift into a Covert Operations mentality, and look to infiltrate, subvert, and acquire new institutions for our league.
If this doesn't happen in a timely manner, it could spell the ultimate demise of the Big East as a Major Football Conference.
Below, are some of the schools which I think would provide the best fit for the Big East Conference:
Notre Dame (Independent): Although they are also on the Big Ten's short list of targets, The Irish should be the Big East's #1 objective. It makes perfect sense. They are already members of the BE basketball conference, a fact which could be used as leverage in the recruitment. There is no Program in the country with a more storied history, and they are one of the few schools who bring a national (as opposed to regional) audience to each of their games.
Boston College (ACC): What was once ours, should be ours again. BC is a former member of the Big East, which was raided by the ACC back in 2003. Talk about major market... Boston / New England is one of the biggest and boasts some of the best fans in the country. Since joining the ACC, the Eagles have seen mixed results, and have yet to win an outright conference title. Additionally, they are rivals with #1 target Notre Dame and WVU.
Maryland (ACC): The Terrapins would be an outstanding fit in the Big East. They haven't won a Conference Title since 2001, but they always come to play, and bring a great market (MD, D.C., Northern VA) and audience. Additionally, the Terrps have a long rivalry with WVU.
East Carolina University (CUSA): The last few years have seen the Pirates on an upswing, including wins over VA Tech, Boise State, and our beloved Mountaineers. Couple that with their recent lobbying to join the BE and it only makes sense. Always among the top finishers in CUSA, the Pirates have a huge upside as an addition to the BE. Additionally, they bring a decent market in Greenville, NC.
University of Central Florida (CUSA): Its all about the real estate... Orlando is a great place to visit during the WV winters. A large market, fun in the sun, and a team that has a conference and 2 division titles under their belt. Additionally, they have a nack for grooming NFL talent. Also, you can't forget about their in-state rivaly with BE member South Florida.
Navy (independent): One of the original Football Powers. A storied history, a service School, and a rival of Notre Dame, Maryland, and Rutgers. The Midshipmen have made 7 straight bowl appearances and bring an exciting and fan friendly Offense. Which would be a great change of pace from some of the hard-nose/grinding offenses currently found in the BE.
Other Possible Targets: Florida International (Sunbelt), Florida Atlantic (Sunbelt), Villanova (CAA).