Commissioner Michael Tranghese and his trusty sidekicks are working on creating a twelve-team football and basketball "New Big East" Conference. As a source very close to the action told me on Friday afternoon, "They're further along than you might think."
Here is the twelve-team conference that is in the works and would come to be in the 2005-06 season if everything goes according to plan. Again, this is not official, but it seems to be the direction that the Big East is heading in barring any major bumps in the road.
The league would be split up into two divisions of six, possibly in the way I listed them above. As a result, a conference championship game would be held every year.
Obviously the X-factor in this whole proposal is Notre Dame, as they have historically been very reluctant to relinquish their independent status. The deal in place would basically allow them to be Notre Dame with the lucrative TV contract and all the frills they currently enjoy, while providing them a chance to play in a conference championship game. If the Pac-10, Big-10 and ACC ultimately expand to twelve schools and the BCS system is done away with and replaced with a "tournament of champions" of sorts, Notre Dame will have to join a conference to be eligible for postseason play. The Big East has been courting ND since the ACC invited BC, Syracuse and Miami two months ago.
The remaining current Big East basketball schools would merge with Xavier, Marquette, Dayton, St. Joseph's and others to form a basketball-only league.
-Look for the Pac-10 to expand to twelve teams as well.
Michael Chevallier is the publisher of EagleInsider.com. He can be reached
at EagleInsiderGuru@aol.com for thoughts on the New Big East Conference.