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Big East seeks to 'aggressively' expand

WASHINGTON — The presidents and chancellors of the 14 remaining Big East members and TCU authorized commissioner John Marinatto to "aggressively pursue discussions" with schools interested in joining the league.

The league released a statement after a meeting Sunday at Georgetown University. The meeting had been scheduled before Syracuse and Pittsburgh announced last month they will leave for the ACC.

The original purpose of the meeting was to discuss the upcoming TV rights negotiations, but the defections forced expansion onto the agenda.

"The presidents voted unanimously to authorize the commissioner to aggressively pursue discussions with a select number of institutions that have indicated a strong interest in joining the Big East Conference," Marinatto said in a statement.

Navy, an independent, and Air Force of the Mountain West are among the Big East's top targets, according to various media reports. East Carolina previously announced it applied for membership, but there has been no public response from the conference.

Marinatto also said in the statement the league's presidents discussed making leaving the conference tougher without mentioning specifics such as raising exit fees.

TCU is scheduled to leave the Mountain West and join the Big East for the 2012-13 school year and has not publicly wavered from that commitment. But the Horned Frogs have been discussed in media reports as a possible target for the Big 12 as it determines a course of action in light of Texas A&M's departure for the SEC.

Georgia: Starting linebacker Cornelius Washington, who had two sacks Saturday, was suspended for at least two games after being charged with driving under the influence and speeding. Police in Commerce, Ga., said Washington was stopped at 1:48 a.m. Sunday for driving 92 mph in a 55 mph zone. The report said Washington, 22, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.12. In Georgia, the level at which a person is presumed impaired is .08. Georgia next plays at Tennessee then goes to Vanderbilt followed by a game against Florida.

South Carolina: Coach Steve Spurrier promised changes to his offense after Saturday's 16-13 loss to Auburn. "We've got to shake the offense up somehow," he said. "We'll let you know later in the week." The Gamecocks had four turnovers and season lows of 289 yards and 13 first downs. Quarterback Stephen Garcia, a Jefferson High graduate, has thrown six interceptions and two touchdowns over the past two games.

AP poll: LSU remained No. 1 while Alabama surpassed Oklahoma for No. 2. It gives the SEC the top two teams for the 10th time over the past four seasons. It's also the first time teams from the same division have held the top spots since 2000, when Nebraska and Kansas State of the Big 12 North were Nos. 1 and 2, respectively. LSU and Alabama meet Nov. 5.

Late Saturday

Oklahoma 62, Ball St. 6: Landry Jones threw for 425 yards and five touchdowns for the host Sooners, who scored 28 in a 5½-minute span of the second quarter.

Stanford 45, UCLA 19: Andrew Luck threw three touchdowns for the host Cardinal. After a goal-line stand on the game's first possession, Stanford drove 99 yards (actually 119 because of penalties) for a touchdown. It then turned a fumble into another touchdown on its way to a 24-13 halftime lead.

Wisconsin 48, Nebraska 17: Russell Wilson threw for two touchdowns and ran for one for the host Badgers, the Cornhuskers' first Big Ten opponent since leaving the Big 12. Wisconsin turned interceptions on consecutive possessions into Wilson touchdown passes for a 27-14 halftime lead.

Texas 37, Iowa St. 14: Freshman David Ash threw his first two touchdowns for the visiting Longhorns. A 48-yarder to Mike Davis and 40-yarder to Jaxon Shipley helped build a 34-0 halftime lead.

Ariz. St. 35, Ore. St. 19: The host Sun Devils recovered after turning the ball over on three of their first four possessions and falling behind 13-0. Cameron Marshall ran for touchdowns of 37 and 8 yards during the second half.

Big East seeks to 'aggressively' expand 10/03/11 [Last modified: Monday, October 3, 2011 12:03am]
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