We all owe the Baylor Bears and *gasp!* Ken Starr a debt of gratitude. I've read an awful lot of expansion news over the past year and a half, and in everything I've read South Florida isn't mentioned (Sean Keeley's article today at TNIAAM is the exception, and I'm pretty sure he's being sarcastic, again). Why is this? Let's look at the likely scenarios after the jump:
Big XIIish collapse: This is going to happen, and it will happen first. Texas A&M (even with the pending litigation) is going to leave for the SEC. When that happens, the rumors are that at least Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will leave, probably for the PAC 12/14/16. The remaining scenarios are more speculative, but my feeling is that Texas goes independent and leaves everyone else in the lurch so they can cash in on The Longhorn Network.
SEC expansion: After Texas A&M joins, the SEC will look to add at least one more member. Virginia Tech, Missouri, and West Virginia all fit the profile of the SEC. If Missouri joins, there will probably be no further problems for the BEast, at least immediately. However, the biggest threat to South Florida is if WVU leaves, and recent rumors have that school as the front-runner for number 14. The ACC will then feel the need to expand (this will also happen if VaTech bolts for the SEC instead of WVU).
BIG 10/12/14 expansion: After the SEC has its way with the BEast, the BIG 10/12/14 will expand to at least 12 teams. Notre Dame will not join a conference, leaving Syracuse, Rutgers and Pittsburgh as the likely front-runners. I would guess Syracuse and Rutgers would join.
ACC expansion: The ACC will be just proactive as the last go-round that brought USF to the BEast, though the get the last choice because no one will leave the BEast for the ACC if the BIG 10/12/14 hasn't made their move yet. This means the ACC will look to add a combination of Syracuse, UCONN, Rutgers and Pittsburgh (two of whoever's left after the BIG 10/12/14 expansion). Any or all of these, in conjunction with the loss of WVU, means the BEast will be on its last legs.
Conclusion: no one wants USF in this round of expansion, since the SEC already has UF (they own the Tampa market just as much as USF) and the ACC will still have both Miami and FSU. The BEast will dissolve with the loss of any combination of WVU, PITT, Rutgers, 'Cuse and UCONN, leaving Louisville, Cincinnati, South Florida and TCU to pick up the pieces. The resulting watered-down league (including some amalgamation of Houston, KState, UK, Baylor, Missouri, etc...) would be competitive, but probably not garner enough support to keep AQ status during the next BCS negotiations.
So thank you, Ken Starr. Keep fighting the good fight.