Have read the article on ESPN, and I do take them to task by suggestion Central Florida as a "possible rival"... considering we've beaten them all four times we've played. Western Kentucky has been a bigger rival, for God's sake...
The idea of adding Villanova (Pennsylvania school) is good and reasonable, considering Villanova is an East Coast program. The article's suggestion of bringing in TCU (Texas Christian) to give TCU a spot on a BCS conference seems more... wrong-headed. Wouldn't Texas Christian find a spot in the Big 12, especially with Nebraska jumping ship for the Big 10 (which itself is a Bad Idea. The geographics of that move makes no sense at all)?
The Big East's argument is to find football-only programs, because they don't want to add more teams to the 16-squad conference for basketball they've already got. But that begs the question: don't any of those schools have a football program (say at I-AA level) that would want to bump up to the majors (so to speak)?
So let us take a look. The Big East schools with basketball but not Division I-A football are:
Marquette (Wisconsin: no football at all)
Georgetown (DC: has a football team Division I-AA)
Notre Dame (Indiana: there might be a football team, but nobody's heard from it in years)
DePaul (Illinois: no football at all)
Providence (Rhode Island: no football at all)
Seton Hall (New Jersey: no football at all)
St. Johns (New York school: no football at all)
Villanova (which is looking to move up)
So from that list, Villanova and Georgetown have the I-AA teams, and you'd think Georgetown ought to be getting the offer from the Big East to move up...
If you can tell, there may be a problem with moving up: the costs. There's a very good reason why nearly every other Big East basketball program has no football program to go with it: they all dropped the sport for financial reasons. Granted, a lot of these schools dropped football back in the day when there was little TV funding to spread around, but the cost of STARTING UP a program from scratch is enormous. The lack of any local stadium could hurt as well (given the national economic woes, there's no justification to build a vanity project like a football stadium).
So on that basis alone, the Big East shopping about for existing programs make some sense.
But I still wonder: can't the Big East as an organization help any of these schools with restarting a football if they so desire? Granted, they'll have to work up from Division II or III into Division I-AA and then the I-A level, but arrangements could be made.
And: Georgetown already HAS a program, and there's a good-sized stadium (or two) within driving/Metro distance to "borrow" as a larger-scale location. DC/Northern Virginia is a decent media market. Why isn't the Big East courting them alongside Villanova?
And while Notre Dame seems to have made it very clear they want their football program independent, they need to understand something: this isn't 1940 anymore. The glory days of being the crown jewel of the college football world are long gone. They can barely keep up with the other mega-programs in terms of recruiting. They are losing to NAVY now on a regular basis (this is akin to Florida losing to Vandy more than twice in a row). And sooner rather than later, NBC is gonna drop that special contract as Notre Dame's home channel and chase after larger prey (like whole conferences). If Notre Dame wants to remain relevant in the BCS world (and more likely in the oncoming reality that is a playoff system between the major conferences), they ought to consider moving into the Big East and start up some happy healthy rivalries with Cincy, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, and an old-time friend in Rutgers.
But not a rivalry with us, man. We'll stomp them like we stomp Central Florida. That's no rivalry at all :-)
So if I were the Big East guys, instead of chasing after TCU (which is too far West: look guys, anything West on the map of the Mississippi River ain't East, got it?), I would be adding Georgetown and Villanova as bump-ups to Division I-A and convincing Notre Dame to shift their football from Independent (where they are dying) to Big East (where they can flourish). And to make it an even 12 teams for a superconference status, we'll need one more.
(looks at the map)
Hey, East Carolina is just sitting there for the taking! (what's that screaming noise coming from Orlando...?)