According to a recent New York Post report, the Big East is set to issue invitations to at least four, and possibly as many as six schools, as early as this weekend. Conference officials are meeting today and over the weekend in part to vote on whether to increase the exit fee and hopefully achieve some stability within the conference. Of some note, there are conflicting reports regarding the possibility that WVU and Louisville may not participate in the meeting and/or may abstain from the voting. Take from that what you will.
Per the NY Post:
Villanova is naturally opposed to adding Temple, and I'm going to side with Villanova on this one. We already have the Philly market, at least for the most part, and with Boise and Air Force on board, it would make sense to add Houston and SMU as travel partners and rivals so the conference can bridge the gap, so to speak, between the east and west.
Curiously absent from all of this talk is ECU, who has been trying to get into the Big East for years and has a fairly large and passionate fan base that would outshine Houston, SMU, Temple, and current members Cincinnati and UConn (at least in football).
At this point, I have to admit that those first four invitees are probably the best available options. Boise brings instant credibility from a competitive standpoint, Air Force and Navy are relatively decent programs with enormous national followings, and UCF oozes potential with its large enrollment, Orlando market, and deep pockets. On a brighter note, it looks like the Big East's BCS bid is safe through at least 2015, assuming that the conference exists at all.
As we wait to see what Missouri (and, in turn, the Big XII and SEC) wants to do, we can rest assured that if all else fails, we'll have a home in the new
Conference USA Big East.