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Big East mailbag

5/25/2011

There was a lot going on Tuesday with Andrea Adelson's coverage of the Big East spring meetings and such, so I didn't get to a mailbag. But I'm making up for it now.

We're going to talk about expansion -- naturally -- in this mailbag. But since it's looking like the league is in a protracted holding pattern on whether or not to add teams, I beg of you to ask about other, actual on-the-field topics for the rest of the summer unless there's more news on that front.

Matt from Louisville writes: Brian, you are commish for a day. Exclude the pipe dreams of ND, Big 12/ACC teams moving. Do you spilt and what teams do you target out of this bunch to bring the most TV dollars -- Boise, BYU, Army, Navy, UCF, Houston, SMU, or Memphis?

Brian Bennett: First off, let me say that John Marinatto has a much tougher job than most people realize. His charge is to try and satisfy all the member schools of the Big East, which is nearly impossible when you have 16 (soon to be 17) universities, some of which have vastly different athletic goals and resources than the others. So while Marinatto hasn't yet shown the bold and visionary leadership of commissioners like Larry Scott and Jim Delany, he's also got far less consensus behind him.

OK, now that I've got that out of the way, let's have some fun in fantasy land. If I were commissioner for a day, I'd rule with an iron fist. I'd want to keep the football/basketball schools together for the most part, since Big East basketball is so valuable. I'd tell Seton Hall and Providence sorry, your time has passed. Enjoy the Atlantic-10. DePaul, I'm not quite sure why we took you in the first place, but pack your things and get out.

That gets us down to 14 teams. Then I'd add UCF and Houston as full members to get back to 16 and up to 11 in football. I'd tell Villanova, go ahead and move up. As soon as you get going at the FBS level and figure out your stadium issues, you'll be No. 12 in football.

Finally, I'd make sure that no one from the league ever tried to write BIG EAST in all caps ever again, and then I'd settle in for a long nap.

Tony E. from Portsmouth, Va., writes: I have read multiple blogs about Big East expansion and I hate to be "that guy," but why hasn't Temple's name been coming up in the topic? The Big East is already very familiar with Temple and it gives the league the large metropolitan population/ area they love. Do you think Big East should be kicking themselves for dismissing them from the league in the first place?

Brian Bennett: I included Temple in last week's expansion poll, and the Owls finished last with 5 percent, behind none of the above. So there is not exactly a clarion call for Temple to come back to the league. The program does have advantages over Villanova in that it already competes at the FBS level and actually has a suitable stadium in Philadelphia. But I don't think the league regrets kicking the Owls out. The program was in shambles and had underperformed for years. Give crazy amounts of credit to Al Golden for bringing Temple back to respectability, but the school still hasn't proved it can maintain long-term success.

Steven from Storm Lake, Iowa, writes: I don't know if you've touched on it much, but why not add Appalachian State for football? I know they have been considering moving to the FBS, so why not? Geography works out (unless you're thinking about expanding television market). They already have made a name for themselves on the FCS and FBS level with the win over Michigan. You would think a team would want to come in and compete in an AQ conference right away rather than working it's way up through the Sun Belt or MAC. Doesn't it seem like this is a marriage that would benefit both parties, or am I missing something?

Brian Bennett: Appalachian State has been more successful on the FCS level than Villanova. However, the Big East doesn't need to reach and bring in a team moving up a level. The only reason Villanova is being strongly considered is because it's already a league member and doesn't require adding another school to the conference as a whole. Besides, if the Big East wanted to get into the Carolinas, it already has a strong candidate in ECU.

Jon from Southern Maryland writes: Call me crazy but what is the reasoning for not inviting Boise State in the Big East other than location?

Brian Bennett: Location, location, location. It's one thing to expand the Big East to Fort Worth, as it's an easy flight from most places to DFW and TCU is just one time zone away. It's quite another thing to expect teams to travel to Idaho and the Mountain Time Zone. However, if Boise State was interested in a football-only membership, the Big East should go for that. But most schools don't want to go that way.