Villanova Close To Joining Big East In Football, According To Report

Just when you thought it was safe to come out of the safehouse in which you've been hiding until the conference expansion wars are over -- here come Villanova and the Big East to rudely correct you. According to Sporting News, Nova is on the verge of jumping from FCS to the big money of the BCS, and becoming the tenth Big East football team.

A Big East source told Sporting News that Villanova is the "clear leader" in the conference’s goal of expanding to 10 teams, but that the university still is trying to complete a revenue plan of $25-30 million in startup costs.

Villanova announced it would have a decision by April, but the process could be moving along faster than expected.

While it's not even in the same subdivision as the other Big East members right now, Villanova has its advantages over competitors like Central Florida. For one thing, the Wildcats are already a part of the Big East in basketball, avoiding the issue a school like UCF has of trying to find another place for its hoops program. This also avoids adding yet another team to the mammoth Big East basketball league.

Nova is also closer to more of the conference's football members than UCF, with South Florida the exception -- not that the Big East has ever shown much interest in the idea of geographic identity.

Whether Villanova would help the conference hold onto its BCS tie-in, which has seemed to be hanging by a thread ever since Virginia Tech and Florida State departed for the ACC, is another matter. But it could be moot, with TCU likely to bolster the league's case to keep its ticket to the big-money games.

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