This Week On As The BCS Turns: Soviet Big East Raids You

↵This week's mega Big Ten Expansion news turned out to be a big dud. Jim Delany got up and turned a press conference into a "chat/filibuster," according to SI's Andy Staples, deadening a random conference room with the special brand of no-speak that only the true masters of PR have at their disposal. This was the meatiest morsel he could pull out of that half-hour: ↵

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↵⇥"It's possible," Delany said, "that we may act in a way that it would be more than a single member." That's his first public acknowledgment that the league might expand beyond 12 teams. ↵⇥

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↵There is emphatically nothing to see here. Bloggers like myself can put the insane Rube Goldberg conferences away until next year; the Big East can nervously put another candle on its birthday cake. College football writers around the country sigh disgustedly, toss their apocalyptic realignment scenarios in the trash, and go about the business of cranking out way-too-early top 25 lists. ↵

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↵But wait! What's this rumble coming from the most unlikely of places? Could it be… more expansion talk? Could it involve former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue getting enormous amounts of money for zero tangible deliverables? Hark! ↵

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↵⇥“The idea was to think outside the box," said Big East commissioner John Marinatto. “Look at different ways of doing things. Try and see what possibilities are out there. I don’t know what that is. It could be anything." ↵⇥

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↵⇥Marinatto said Tagliabue would start work immediately, and all areas of operation would be discussed, including expansion. When asked if he could envision the Big East — which already seems maxed out at 16 teams in basketball — actually getting bigger, he said, “Anything is possible." ↵⇥

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↵What a country. In Soviet Russia, Big East raids you! ↵

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↵Let's immediately agree that adding teams to the creaky 16-team Big East basketball conference is a nonstarter unless outliers like DePaul and Marquette are kicked screaming into a local mid-major—not likely—and that any expansion would be a rickety football-only addition of a Conference USA school that doesn't care about its basketball program enough to pitch a fit. This is all of them except Memphis. The Big East could add Central Florida, East Carolina, Marshall, or Southern Mississippi without throwing the league into geographic disarray. In doing so, they would accomplish… er… nothing. None of those schools has done much other than win an odd CUSA title, if that. None would do anything to raise the profile of the conference. ↵

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↵There's another school that might make a ramshackle sort of sense: Troy. Troy expands the geographic profile of the league, has outgrown the Sun Belt (they're 26-3 in the league the last four years), and could hypothetically scrabble out a living as a middling Big East team. They're already sort of competitive against BCS schools, but the emphasis is on "sort of." The Big East would have to be desperate to proactively add them, but, yeah, they're desperate enough to throw money at Paul Tagliabue just so it looks like they're doing something. Anything is possible. ↵

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↵"Possible" does not mean "likely," though, and the noise from the Big East is probably just noise. Given the way the rest of the expansion natterings have gone, I wouldn't put it past the whole enterprise to be just noise. I guess it's better than deciding which Big East team to slot in at #25 (UConn!) in April, but only just. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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