Since 2004 there have been 16 Big East members (full or partial) leave for other conferences. Temple is the only school left from the original start of Big East football in 1991. Most of the poaching has been done by the Atlantic Coast Conference, some by the Big 10, and the seven catholic basketball schools left on their own. The Big East is limping from battles with other conferences which they did not put up a good fight against. Right now the conference will have 11 members by 2015 including UCONN, Cincinatti, South Florida, Temple, UCF, Memphis, SMU, Tulane, Navy (football only), and East Carolina (football only). The conference has already stated they will not expand farther than the west of Texas so that leaves slim pickings but it has to be done. Here are a couple of the best candidates for the Big East to choose from.
How sweet would it be to have the most prestigious rivalry game in your conference? It geographically makes sense to add Army since the Big East is traditionally rooted in the north-east of the United States. Army has not been a big fan of joining a conference after their debacle with the Conference USA in the past, but things are different now. Army is more competitive on the field and would reap the benefits. Army would bring tradition, history, money, and stability to the conference. Of course this will be a football only deal like Navy received.
This would be a great pick up due to how much potential UAB holds. The problem with UAB is that it will only be as good as Alabama lets them as they are apart of the Alabama school system. Most think that UAB success will take away from the Crimson Tide so they will always try to keep UAB contained. Birmingham is a top 40 T.V. Market where cash could be flowing in. To me, UAB and Memphis are very similar programs, both having great basketball programs with struggling football programs (Memphis is better at both but they are both similar).
- Birmingham is a top 40 TV market
- Legion field holds over 71,000. Renovations are needed and attendance needs to increase. The BBVA Compass Bowl is hosted there.
- The basketball program is stellar
Best of the rest:
Southern Miss, Marshall, Ohio