BYU is now the newest team on the Big East's radar.
According to coach Bronco Mendenhall in his weekly news conference on Monday, the Big East has approached BYU about giving up its football independence and joining the conference's soon-to-be Western division along with Boise State and Air Force.
There is a push and there are conversations that are in place for the Big East to convince or to have BYU join that conference, Mendenhall said. I trust our athletic director [Tom Holmoe] and President [Cecil] Samuelson to deal with all of that. I have been informed along the way. At some point there will be a decision with what our intentions will be.
A move to Big East would be quite sudden for the Cougars as the team is in its first year as a football independent after recently leaving the Mountain West Conference. Last month, BYU flirted with joining the Big 12 to replace Texas A&M, who left to go to the SEC. But, it was nothing more than just that -- a flirt.
The recent departure of Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the ACC and West Virginia to the Big 12 leaves just five teams in the Big East. So, as a result, the Big East wants to add Boise State, Air Force and Navy in football only and SMU, Houston and Central Florida in all sports. However, it would still need another member to eventually have an even 12 with an East and West division, and that's where BYU would come in.
Adding BYU would not only even out the conference, but it would also give the Big East a historically successful football program and allow the league to further bolster the West division. That, in turn, would create a rivalry with Boise State, a team, along with BYU, looking to finally become an automatic qualifier for a potential national title game.
TCU, another team seeking AQ status, was originally slated to become the 12th Big East team in 2012. However, that did not fall through, and the Horned Frogs ended up joining the Big 12 along with West Virginia.
Mendenhall said that he is not involved in conference realignment negotiations and that there does not seem to be any timetable on a possible decision on the part of BYU to join the Big East.
I don't know how fast nor do I think a time frame is relevant at this point, he said. Certainly there are plenty of questions on our part that are in place but with the landscape changing, the main benefit I can see on a short term scale would be inclusion to the BCS system.
That is up in two years and whether the Big East can hold that spot with the new teams going in, my guess would be yes.
With all the new teams set to join the Big East, the conference will likely need national power schools such as Boise State and perhaps BYU to retain its BCS status, which expires at the end of the 2013 season.