Big East announcement expected Wednesday
After two months of negotiation and uncertainty, the Big East is expected to announce major expansions to its football lineup in a teleconference late Wednesday afternoon, with Boise State, San Diego State and Conference USA's Houston, SMU and Central Florida joining the Big East.
The news of a final agreement being imminent was reported Monday night by NJ.com -- Boise State had wanted another west-coast presence in the league, and San Diego State will fill that spot, with both joining as football-only schools and the C-USA additions coming in all sports. Those five new schools are on board to join the five remaining schools -- USF, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville and Rutgers, and while the lineup is being reported as being in place for 2013, negotiations are expected to continue to put a new league in place next fall.
The Big East has talked extensively with Navy and Air Force as football-only additions, which would put the league at 12 schools and in position for a conference championship game. That is certainly still a goal for the league, while Wednesday's announcement should bring a long-awaited sense of stability to the conference's future.
Following Wednesday's announcement, Big East commissioner John Marinatto is expected to make a barnstorming tour to the five new schools to allow for a more ceremonial unveiling of the new league members.
The conference must guard against West Virginia winning litigation to leave the conference immediately, rather than honoring the 27-month-notice contractual requirement. Such a loss would open Pittsburgh and Syracuse for a similar early exit to the ACC, which would put the conference in jeopardy of having too few members for the 2012 football season.