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Memphis, Central Florida To Big East "Highly Likely"

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So says the dreaded "multiple college football sources" who have spoken with an Orlando TV station.

Local 6 Sports Director David Pingalore is reporting that multiple college football sources have said that the University of Central Florida and Memphis could be invited to join the Big East conference as soon as next week.

According to Pingalore's college football sources, the invitation is highly likely.

The Big East would like to have the 19th largest TV market in the country -- Orlando -- which UCF would provide.

Two weeks ago I would have ignored this on principle.  These days...who the hell knows.  I'm too numb to all the rumors and discussion to even argue it.

I can assure you that, if this happens, it has little to do with the coveted nature of the Orlando TV market.  It has a lot more to do with the fact that Memphis and UCF are two warm bodies in the Eastern half of the United State who are both willing to drop their pants to become BCS schools. 

On one hand, it is the right move for the Big East.  The football side of the conference needs to grow or die.  Plain and simple.  Because Villanova is a bunch of morons and won't go FBS with football and Notre Dame has more power than the entire Big East commissioner's office, the conference has no choice but to look outside the existing members.

Football-wise, neither is a feather in our cap.  Then again, remember how sad UConn and South Florida looked when we took them on.  In just a few short years they're both respectable bowl teams.  So in the same way folks shouldn't look at the current state of SU football as the be-all-end-all, the same can be said of both school's potential. 

Basketball-wise, Memphis isn't what they were two years ago but they're still a respectable program that plays in a quality arena.  As for UCF, I'm not entirely sure they have a basketball team.

On the other hand, what does this really solve?  If the Big Ten decides tomorrow that it still wants to go 16 or that it wants to force Notre Dame's hand by decimating the Big East, it can and will do so.  Like Voodoo Five says, every single one of the Big East's current eight football member will gladly jump if asked.  And bringing in Memphis and UCF doesn't change that one bit.

If this goes down, Marinatto and the Big East will play up the awesomeness of a 10-team Big East that puts on the same level as the Big 12 and other BCS cronies.  They'll say the conference is safe and Paul Tagliabue can explain why, although Long Islanders don't want to watch Rutgers play Minnesota, they're dying to watch Rutgers play Central Florida (Knights vs. Knights!).

But the truth is, the Big East is merely doing what it should have done two years ago.  Complacent to the point of absurdity, the conference is lucky to still exist and yet still lacks the creativity to do anything other than the obvious.  The conference expansion madness might be over for now, but it's just for now.  Why would the Big Ten suddenly not be interested in NYC now?  And they certainly still want Notre Dame.  It's only a matter of time.

If Memphis and UCF join the conference, we will welcome them with open arms.  But I hope they don't get mad if we all leave shortly thereafter.  Nothing personal.

Via Deadspin