By RALPH D. RUSSO
AP College Football Writer
NEW YORK (AP) - The Big East is considering adding Boise State
football to help bolster the conference's chances of retaining its
BCS automatic bid, though both sides still need to be persuaded
that it's the right move.
A college football official, who spoke Thursday to The
Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not
authorized to discuss the Big East's plans, says some Big East
presidents are resisting adding Boise State and the school itself
has reservations about joining a conference in flux.
The Big East said earlier this week it would like to expand to
12 football schools and split into two divisions, which would allow
the league to play a championship.
The official said that some Big East leaders believe the
priority in expansion should be bringing in programs that will
ensure the Big East remains an automatic qualifying BCS conference
when the current Bowl Championship Series television and bowl
contracts run out after the 2013 season.
Boise State could be just what the Big East needs. The Broncos
have had one of the winningest programs in college football
recently, going 71-5 since 2006.
The BCS has a formula for evaluating the strength of a
conference that takes into account the final BCS rankings of each
team in a league. Even if Boise State joined the Big East next
season, its final BCS ranking of 10th while playing in the Western
Athletic Conference last year, and its ranking this season while
playing in the Mountain West Conference, would count toward the Big
East's ledger when it is reviewed after the 2013 season.
No. 5 Boise State is 5-0 heading into this weekend's game at
Losing its automatic BCS bid could cost the reeling Big East
millions of dollars in revenue down the road.
Last month, Pittsburgh and Syracuse announced they would be
leaving the Big East to join the Atlantic Coast Conference. That
left the Big East with six football members: Louisville,
Cincinnati, West Virginia, Rutgers, Connecticut and USF.
The Big East also has eight schools that do not play football:
Villanova, Georgetown, St. John's, Providence, Seton Hall,
Marquette, DePaul and Notre Dame.
The Big East has been holding conference calls all week,
including Thursday, to discuss expansion issues. Complicating
matters in the Big East are the at times conflicting agendas of the
football schools and the other members.
Aside from Boise State, Navy and Air Force also have been
targeted as football-only members by the Big East, and the league
is considering Temple from the Mid-American Conference and Central
Florida and East Carolina from Conference USA as members in all
SMU and Houston from CUSA also are possibilities, allowing the
Big East to regain the presence in Texas it thought it was going to
have with TCU.
Having the Texas schools, along with Air Force, which is in
Colorado Springs, Colo., in a western division of the league, would
give Boise State some reasonable road trips. The closest current
Big East football member to Boise, Idaho, is Louisville - 1,879
Last week, TCU reneged on its decision to join the Big East in
2012 and instead joined the Big 12.
The official said Boise State has concerns about the commitment
of the Big East's current members.
The Big 12 could be in the market to expand again, especially if
Missouri leaves for the Southeastern Conference, and Louisville and
West Virginia are among the schools it would consider adding.
Also, UConn has interest in joining the ACC if that league
expands past the 14 it will have when Pitt and Syracuse join. The
Big East has said it will hold Pitt and Syracuse to the league's 27
months' notification rule and the two will not be allowed to join
the ACC until 2014.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)