Since the expansionpalooza that wasn't in 2010, there have been two conferences on deathwatch -- the Big 12 and the Big East. We've been keeping tabs on the Big 12 collapse, so let's check in on our other patient.
and the , two bedrock members of the Big East Conference, are engaged in talks about joining the Atlantic Coast Conference, according to a source with direct knowledge of the talks.
The fact that nobody is even issuing "we're happy in the Big East"-style non-denial denials is as close as you're going to get to confirmation of something like this. And keep in mind that conference realignment is always one step ahead or one step behind the latest reporting, so it's hard to tell how far along this is.
On some levels, this is not a surprise. You might recall that Syracuse was one of the first targets when the ACC raided the Big East in 2003, before Virginia politicians got involved and forced the Cavaliers to lobby heavily for Virginia Tech. (Given the two programs' trajectories in recent years, the Hokies might have been the better choice.) And, as we noted, the Big East has always been vulnerable given its precarious perch in territory that makes some of its schools easy pickings for the ACC and the Big Ten, among others.
One of those others is potentially the SEC. Some West Virginia fans, if not administrators, have been making googly-eyes at the SEC ever since that league started talks with Texas A&M -- on the theory that if the Aggies join the 12-team conference, the best shot at balancing things out is to add a team from the SEC East. And if the ACC is only getting stronger, the pressure on the SEC to look at West Virginia is only going to grow. Which would finish off any hopes the Big East has of surviving, even on the slim odds that it could make a go of it minus Syracuse and Pitt.
The report doesn't specifically mention whether the ACC is or isn't in contact with Texas -- though that would certainly be one reason the league would be reaching out to other schools. And if Texas and the two Big East schools are coming, then there almost has to be a 16th. But that's way down the path of speculation.
What we now reportedly know is bad enough for the Big East. And we're talking about a league that hasn't had much going for it over the last eight years.
For more on the Big East's chances to ward off this raid, check out Big East Coast Bias. For the Syracuse perspective, check out Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician, and get a read from Pitt fans on the situation at Cardiac Hill.