Now that the Big 10 has twelve teams, the Big 12 has ten teams and the Pac 10 has twelve teams, Big East officials have to be glad for two things: The Big East hasn't been raided (yet), and that there isn't a number in their conference's name!â†µ
That said, why let the other conferences drive the expansion process? The Sporting News is reporting that the Big East will issue invitations to Central Florida and Memphis as early as next week.â†µ
All I can say is: it's about time! With rumors swirling, I applaud any conference that takes matters into its own hands instead of waiting for the other shoe to drop. I also think UCF and Memphis are great choices for the Big East.â†µ
Memphis is an up-and-coming football program which will blossom into a legitimate national program given a few years in a BCS Football conference. They also have the added bonus of a top-flight basketball program which will be able to come into the conference and not flounder for ten years. Seriously. It took WVU about ten years before it could hang with the other basketball programs in the Big East, and it's looking like it will take South Florida just as long. It'll be nice to add a team that can skip that waiting period.â†µ
University of Central Florida will have problems with the hoops, but on the football side of things, they definitely have the up arrow as a program on the rise. New stadium? Check. Well-respected head ball coach? Check. Natural rival in South Florida? Check. More time spent by league teams on the always important Florida High School Football recruiting circut? Bonus!â†µ
As a Mountaineer fan, I haven't ever really been too concerned with conference expansion. The 'Eers will be fine wherever they land because of the football program. If I was a fan of some of the small, private, non-football playing programs in the Big East, I'd be scared. 'Nova and Georgetown may be left out in the cold someday, but until then, I'd say the Big East has nothing to worry about.