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ESPN's Andy Katz Reports Severe Turmoil for Big East Lies Ahead

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ESPN's Andy Katz has dropped a big knowledge bomb about the Big East with an extensive report today. In it, he contends that: -Louisville has officially told the Big East it wants out to go to either the Big 12 or ACC. It did that out of a desire for transparency, which is noble in a way. It also remains to be seen whether those other leagues want the Cardinals. -More privately, UConn wants to go to the ACC with Notre Dame as a partner. Katz neglects to say whether the Huskies' leadership also wants a pony in the exchange. A pairing of Notre Dame and the ACC might sound familiar, though. -The non-FBS basketball schools are committed to the Big East for now, but the conference will "implode" according to a source if Louisville and UConn leave. Good luck to whoever is the next Big East commissioner.

Big East to Add Memphis for 2013

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The Big East is going to add Memphis for the 2013 season with the announcement coming today. The school has been campaigning for entry to that league for a while. It hired former Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese as a consultant, and program sugar daddy/FedEx CEO Fred Smith has offered serious money to make it happen. The fact that the Big East chose to add Memphis, one of the most dreadful football programs in I-A, shows that the basketball interests in the league wield about as much influence as the football interests do. At least the Big East knows what it is.

Report: Big East Readying Invitations to Six Schools

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The Big East held a press conference today to say it is going to expand soon, but it declined to say who just yet. CBS Sports' Brett McMurphy, who has owned the Big East expansion story, is reporting that Boise State, Houston, SMU, and UCF are all but in the league already and are waiting until after a BSU board of directors meeting to be announced. Boise would be a football-only member. Navy and Air Force will also be invited as football-only members. If all of those schools join the Big East, it will put the league in an interesting position. It might not be strong enough to keep its BCS auto bid, but it will be far and away better than the rest of the non-AQ leagues. It will also need one more member to get to 12, reportedly its target for membership.

ACC Officially Adds Pitt and Syracuse

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After the news broke yesterday that Pitt and Syracuse applied to join the ACC, we get news this morning that the ACC presidents have made it official. This might be the catalyst to get everyone else moving, as the SEC and Pac-12 have been taking pains not to look like aggressors. Neither wanted to take the first shot, so John Swofford did it for them.

NYT: Pitt and Syracuse Talking to ACC About Joining

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The New York Times is reporting that Pitt and Syracuse "are engaged in talks about joining the Atlantic Coast Conference". Syracuse, if you remember, was on the wish list the last time the ACC expanded, though it obviously didn't end up making it in. The conference and the two schools issued standard no comments. No other information is out there, so it's unknown whether the ACC is looking to be a 14-team league like the SEC (A&M plus one) and Pac-12 (plus the Oklahoma schools) are supposedly on the way to becoming or if this is some sort of preliminary stage for accepting Texas and Texas Tech later. There also is the possibility the conference is worried about losing one or more schools to the SEC, but again, no other information is out there yet. UPDATE CBS's Brett McMurphy is reporting that a high ranking ACC official told him that Pitt and Syracuse have officially submitted applications to join the league. Also, he was told the conference's presidents unanimously agreed to raise the league's exit fee to $20 million at a meeting in Greensboro, NC last week.

The Big East Wants $200 Million Per Year From TV

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The Big East apparently turned down a new TV contract similar to the ACC's $155 million per year deal, and it hopes to get $200 million annually. The reason? The Pac-12 deal is soooo big, you, uh, can't help but give the Big East an exorbitant sum too? By comparison, the SEC's combined CBS and ESPN contracts give the conference $205 million annually. Granted, the basketball portion of the Big East's next contract will be split 17 ways (it'll go into effect after TCU joins), so the all the schools won't be getting SEC money. However if you doubt the Big East's ability to get an eye-popping number, just consider that ESPN and Fox will again be bidding against Comcast-owned NBC. That's the combination that made the magic happen for the Pac-12. Incidentally if the Big East can get that $200 million, especially if any of it comes from ESPN, I'll bet Mike Slive will be on the phone with the Worldwide Leader within the hour.

Conference USA is Preparing a Raiding Party

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Everyone is being tight-lipped in the expansion process. Everyone, that is, except for ECU AD Terry Holland. He's taken the unusual step of publishing all of his thoughts straight to you, the public. He says that CUSA is planning on raiding the leftovers if the Big 12 falls apart. He also appears to have contacts within the Big East, saying that it "has been in a bunker mentality, hoping to keep enough of its eight current members to remain a viable FBS (formerly Division I-A) Conference with automatic qualification for BCS bowl games." He then talks at length about the Big East's motivations and his thoughts on that, probably because a lot of ECU fans hope to get a Big East invitation if someone leaves. He even goes as far as to speculate on the future: "As for the rest of the expansion nationwide, I believe Texas will hold the Big 12 together. Texas and Oklahoma should be very happy to say "good riddance" to the conference championship game. Those two teams have a better chance for each to end up in BCS Bowls in a given season without the "double jeopardy" that a conference championship game creates for them. In fact, a nine-member Big Whatever should be their goal. If Texas holds the Big Whatever together, the Pac 10's "quick strike" will come back to haunt them because they are now committed to finding at least one more member who can add value to the Pac 10. Colorado's main value was as "bait" for Texas, Oklahoma, etc... in order to create real value for the Pac 10." Any other ADs out there willing to go this far on the record? Someone get me Mal Moore on the phone for his dissertation on the subject. Oh, and all hail the Big Whatever.

Some Numbers on the BCS's Double Standard

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Doc Saturday hit this one on the head, analyzing some numbers that the MWC's lobbyist produced. Essentially, the WAC and MWC champs that have made BCS bowls have delivered higher TV ratings and larger in-person attendance than the Big East and ACC champs over the 2007-10 BCS games. The problem then is that the Big East and ACC get more money for it than the conferences that are better delivering ratings and ticket sales. I have to say, this is one that's always got me. Why is it that those who want to revoke the Big East's BCS auto-bid never talk about the ACC as well? The Big East (6-6 in BCS games) actually wins these games with regularity (ACC: 2-10), and bowl ratings in recent years have confirmed that FSU and Miami are the only ACC teams the nation as a whole cares about. When either of them win the conference, they'll get a bid. No need to force Wake Forest in the Orange Bowl on the rest of us to ensure that those two get their completely inevitable piece of the pie.

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