The Big East still is the school with the power to radically alter the landscape. #1, they (we?) are desperate. #2, we are already so hybrid-ed up, that further hybrids don’t matter all that much. Not like it is a sell out.
Real simple. ND and Texas have their networks. Fine. The Big East takes ND, Texas, and Texas Tech.
5 division games. ND and Texas may or may not play each other for a 6th conference game. Those two schools can decide whether they have any interest in playing a 7th conference game. Regardless, all other teams play 8 conference games. Divisions decided by overall record, rather than conference record. If Texas and ND are 12-0, so be it. Not like anyone can complain. If you want to unseat them for the CCG, beat them on the field and control your own destiny. Besides, the Big East needs more 10-2 teams in the BCS and fewer 8-4 teams. It’s great you can beat the conference teams, but all anyone cares about is overall record and BCS standings.
The only thing that ND and Texas do not get is the CCG on their networks and a split of Big East revenue for football. They would get a basketball split though if they were in for all sports. Texas would have room to keep an A&M matchup periodically, but certainly Oklahoma (if they are willing).
You could even go one step further and add Baylor to the West and maybe VIllanova to the east. That would make it 6 division games. ND would get to play throughout the Northeast, while still having ample room to play Navy, Michigan, MSU or Purdue, USC, Stanford or Northwestern, and another team (if Texas not in the mix that year). In that scenario, you would have 3 divisions of 7 in basketball somehow.
OR, if you wanted to go really crazy. Add Air Force to the Southwest with Baylor. Add Army/Navy to the Northeast. That bumps it up to 7 CCG for Texas/ND. But the military schools could keep the same program as Texas/ND… only play in-division games. True, that is 7 per school. But it doesn’t impact Notre Dame because they would play Navy anyway.
You end up with this:
If ND schedules Texas, Baylor, TCU, or Air Force, they get extra conference games. If not, they can schedule Northwestern, Stanford, etc. Army-Navy-Air Force get 7 or more conference games.
If the Big East is going to bastardize the conference scheme, they need to go all in.
I suppose you could do pods, with
A. ND, Army, Navy, Air Force
B. Texas, TCU, Tech, Baylor
C. WVU, Pitt, Syracuse, UConn
D. Lville, USF, Rutgers, Cincy
Year 1: A & B, C & D
Year 2: A & C, B & D
Given that ND would not want to make the D rotation, that would eliminate the A/D, B/C split. Frankly, I don’t think there would be too much concern with losing those games because you could still play those teams in a championship game. If WVU wants to play Texas, beat them in the CCG. Or they could do a thing where A/D and B/C happens every 5 years, just to ensure some familiarity.
Again, the gist would be that Texas, ND, Army, Navy, and Air Force would not have to play more than 7 conference games, whereas the other schools could play 8 or 9.
Pick it apart folks. Tell me how this could not be a win-win for the Big East, Texas, ND, the military schools, and the student-athletes. The lose is basketball. But only if Army, Navy, and Air Force are part of it. So I add this for divisions:
NorthEast: UConn, Providence, Syracuse,StJ, Nova, SH, G'Town, Pitt, WVU, Rutgers
SouthWest: Texas, TCU, Baylor, Tech, Marquette, ND, DePaul, Lville, CIncy, USF
If you HAD to add Air Force, Army, Navy... then you approach BYU (or another private school in the region) about parking its basketball program in the Big East.... and then creating 4 divisions of 6:
West: Texas, TCU, Baylor, Tech, Air Force, BYU (or another private school in the region)
Midwest: ND, Marquette, DePaul, Cincy, Lville, USF
Mideast: Pitt, WVU, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Villanova, Navy
Northeast: UConn, Syracuse, Georgetown, St. Johns, Providence, Army
Northeast plays Mideast and either Midwest or West. Alternate years. West plays Midwest and either Mideast or Northeast. Alternate years. 16 conference games.
The Big East shall either eat or be eaten. If you don't think you can eat... just give up.