The Mega-Big East: What Could Have Been

The only piece of information resembling a bombshell from yesterday's Big East Media Day was the news that the Big East apparently considered adding four schools from the Big 12 at one point during Conference Expansion-Palooza.

The Big East explored the possibility of adding four Big 12 teams had the Big 12 disbanded in June, a Big East source told

The Big East would have targeted Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and Missouri, swelling its ranks to 12 football teams and 20 basketball programs, the source said.

The source who told Adam Zagoria about this makes it sound like it was thisclose to happening.  If I had to guess, I don't think it quite went down like that.  I imagine the Big East was more of a lurker, waiting to offer the four possible cast-offs if Texas & Co. did end up going to the Pac-10. It ultimately makes the Big East sound like they were being proactive but who knows if they really were.

Still, it makes for an interesting discussion.  While Big East football would have suddenly become a complete 12-team conference, eligible for a conference championship game, Big East basketball would have ballooned to an ungodly and unmanageable 20 teams.  And what a 20 teams...Kansas is basketball royalty, Kansas State is a nouveau riche program, Missou has some good history and Iowa State can't be any worse than DePaul.

Assuming the Big East wouldn't have thrown out any non-football members to make room (ahem, DePaul), one has to wonder what the breakdowns would have looked like.  In both instances, divisions would have to be instituted and I have to think they would have looked a little something like this.

Big East Football

Eastern Division Western Division
Connecticut Cincinnati
Pittsburgh Iowa State
Rutgers Kansas
Syracuse Kansas State
South Florida Louisville
West Virginia Missouri


Given that they're the western-most of the current BE teams, Cincy and Louisville get the nod to join the newbies.  Plus, they're relatively close to one-another while Kentucky & Missouri share a border, so it works.  The traditional Big East teams get to stay with each other. USF stays with them as well, which I'm sure they'd prefer.

Now, basketball, where it gets downright hairy.

Big East Basketball

Dick Gavitt Division Mike Tranghese Division
Connecticut Cincinnati
Georgetown DePaul
Pittsburgh Iowa State
Providence Kansas
Kansas State
Seton Hall Louisville
St. John's Marquette
Syracuse Missouri
Villanova Notre Dame
West Virginia South Florida


I have to say, this actually works out pretty well for almost everyone.  All of the traditional Big East schools stay together.  South Florida is the only football school that has to get "re-districted" in order to make things work, they're the outlier. Overall, the divisons are pretty even.  SU, Nova, UConn, West Virginia and Georgetown battle it out on one side while Kansas, Louisville, KSU and Notre Dame fight it out on the other.

Most importantly, Rutgers and Seton Hall remain in the same division.  Breaking up that epic rivalry would have been a deal-breaker.

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