Your vote: Big East expansion candidates

May, 18, 2011
5/18/11
4:04
PM ET
I promise I'm not going to turn this blog into a version of the "Family Feud," where all we do is take polls and then yell, "Survey said!" And I'm certainly not going to turn into Richard Dawson and kiss all the commenters (Eww).

But a couple of readers asked for another poll in addition to the ones we had last week, and it's an interesting enough topic that I am really curious as to where you guys stand. You know where this is going: Expansion madness.

First, let's find out where you stand on Villanova. The first poll question is a simple one: Should the Big East accept Villanova as its 10th football member?

If you just woke up from a six-month nap, the league informally invited Villanova to move up from the FCS level and become a full-fledged football playing member. After much internal debate, the Wildcats were ready to say yes at an April 12 board of trustees meeting until they heard that the Big East suddenly wasn't so sure it wanted them. Some existing football members expressed grave concerns about Villanova's viability as a BCS team, mostly over the stadium issue. The school hopes to play in PPL Park in Chester, Pa., which seats only about 18,000. A proposed expansion would bring it to about 30,000.

Of course, the whole reason Villanova was attractive in the first place is because the school is already a league member in all other sports. Adding the Wildcats in football appeases the basketball-only schools and eliminates the need to add an 18th (with TCU) member. But is it worth the hassle?

If you think Villanova is not a good choice for expansion, then move on to our second poll. I have come up with five possible answers:
  • Central Florida: You know the pros and cons here. UCF has a huge and growing student body, has new facilities, finished in the Top 25 last season and is in a desirable market (Orlando). The downsides: the potential negative effect adding the Knights would have on USF and Big East recruiting in Florida in general, and the recent NCAA allegations against the program.
  • Houston: The league wants big markets, and they don't come much bigger than Houston. The Cougars also provide a natural travel partner and rival for TCU and have had a fun team to watch under Kevin Sumlin. On the flip side, Houston is usually overshadowed in its own city by pro teams, Texas and Texas A&M, and it stretches the geographic concept of the name "Big East" to further ridiculous levels.
  • East Carolina: The Pirates have a dedicated fan base and a program that has been pretty consistently solid. It's not in a big market but could bring some attention in the Carolinas. On the flip side, have you ever tried to get to Greenville, N.C.?
  • Temple: The league likes the Philadelphia market, which is natural Big East territory. Unlike Villanova, Temple actually has a place to play at Lincoln Financial Field and has rejuvenated its program. Of course, the Owls already failed as a Big East member and were kicked out several years ago. Can that relationship really be healed, and will the program continue to grow without Al Golden?
  • None of the above. Are you in favor of some other unnamed candidates, like Memphis, Navy, Army, Southern Miss or somebody else? Or do you think the Big East should simply stop at nine teams with TCU? Then this is your choice?

Let everybody (including the league office in Providence) hear your voice.

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