Conference Expansion: West Virginia Set To Join Big XII, Big East To Merge With Mountain West and Conference USA?

No reason why I chose this photo. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

It looks like the end of the Big East as we know it is here. According to numerous sources including Brett McMurphy of CBSSports.com and Pete Thamel of the New York Times, West Virginia has been conditionally accepted as the 10th and final member of the Big XII when Missouri officially leaves for the SEC.

With West Virginia leaving before Navy or Air Force could accepted an invitation to join the Big East, the Mountaineers will only have to pay 5 million dollars to the conference. West Virginia will also be subject to the 27-month holding pattern that both Syracuse and Pitt are tied to, and will wait until the 2014-2015 season before they move to the Big XII.

This was the blow that the other 5 football members of the conference feared the most. West Virginia has been the bell cow of the conference since Miami, Virginia Tech, and Boston College left for the ACC, and its BCS ranking has kept the Big East from losing its AQ status. Even if the conference gained the membership of Boise State, SMU, UCF, Houston, Air Force, Navy, and now most likely Temple, it would be highly unlikely that the conference would be able to keep its status as one of the Big 6.

And while Marinatto met with Boise State, SMU, Houston, UCF, and Navy this weekend according to the McMurphy article, Big East officials are reportedly meeting with the commissioners from the Mountain West and Conference USA on Wednesday to talk about a possible merger of the football schools to form one huge 28-32 team conference. This is going to be great!

We are going to get in on how this will affect USF in the future, but just as an overview it will not end well for any of us.

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