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Boise State to Big East?

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

Colorado State.

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

sports.

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

miles away.

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.)

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