The Big East confirmed that it intends to expand to ten teams in football on Wednesday. The conference already has a massive sixteen schools competing in basketball, most of any Division 1 conference, but its eight football schools make it the smallest 1-A football conference.
While the Big East has had more success on the football field than many recognize, it has seen a significant down year in 2010, and it makes sense to make a move to shore up its football competition. The prime suspects for Big East expansion are Texas Christian, Central Florida, and Villanova (currently a Big East non-football member, and one of the top 1-AA progams in the country).
However, consistently mentioned right there on the second-tier are your Houston Cougars. Is it possible? Does it make sense?
The Cougars are a long-shot, make no mistake. The cons to adding Houston include travel costs. Even with TCU as a traveling partner, Texas to New England is a big trip. However, the pros are significant, too. The Big East seems very interested in tapping into Texas recruiting and television markets, and adding a TCU-UH combo would represent both the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston markets. Adding the Cougars would obviously do a lot more to improve the quality of football in the conference than moving up a 1-AA school, and Houston has more football star power than UCF. It has also been speculated that Big East member South Florida might resent the inclusion of the rival Knights.
From Houston's standpoint, would such a move be a good idea? The Big East may not want to take on any more basketball teams, and it's unlikely that Conference USA would let UH hang around in other sports. Would dropping down to, say, the Southland Conference in basketball, baseball, etc. be worth the benefit of joining a BCS conference in football?
In a word, yes. For the love of God, Mack, work your magic. Find a way to make this happen.