The idea is a joint football-only membership (or "association’’ if you will) for Army and Navy. The two service academies would play four games apiece each season against Big East schools. The setup would help all involved in the area of scheduling. The association could even extend to bowl games. Multiple Big East officials confirmed the idea is alive, although one said it is "not full-blown yet.’’ When reached on Tuesday, however, West Virginia University athletic director Ed Pastilong hinted he’d like to see the idea mushroom. "This is an option that deserves serious consideration,’’ he said.
While I'm open to the idea of bringing in more teams for Big East football, I am very much against the idea of special treatment for any of them. About the only time I might consider for "part-time status" would be Notre Dame due to the cache (and moolah) they'd bring in but even then it just doesn't seem fair. How do you determine when one of those teams jumps a fulltime conference team for a bowl bid? How do you determine conference champion? And besides, what right could Army and Navy have possibly earned to make them so special? Army blows ass and Navy is only good once every four years or so.
Anyway, the main reason Big East schools might be interested in bringing in new members has nothing to do with the quality of opponent and everything to do with securing four Big East home games a season for each team. With eight teams, the Big East teams switch off each season in terms of conference home games, four one year, three the next. Having nine teams in-conference would ensure four home games every year and more guaranteed money for each program.
My hunch is that any Army-Navy deal will fall through, especially if the part-time status remains a sticking point. But I do expect the Big East to expand at some point, whether it be by pilfering another Conference USA squad or taking on another Division 1-AA ladder-climber such as Villanova or UMass. If we've learned anything about college football, its that the schools will do whatever it takes to make sure no money is left on the table.
Thanks to Buckaineer on BigEastBoards.com for the scoop.