Expansion fever is all the rage, so I will aggressively pursue answers to all of your questions.
First up: Missouri. You all heard the news that the school is looking at its conference options. Whatever the Tigers decide to do impacts the Big East in some way. Because it is no secret the Big 12 had Louisville on its list of teams to contact when Texas and Oklahoma were looking to leave. If the Big 12 has to replace more than just A&M, could it look to more than one Big East school? If Missouri stays in the Big 12, will the SEC look to the Big East for a future 14th member or will it stay at 13 for the moment?
Next up: West Virginia. There have been so many rumors about the Big 12 and SEC that it is hard to even keep track. But they are only rumors. Nothing has been substantiated. So where do I see West Virginia? In the Big East until something changes.
How about some questions?
Mike in Cincinnati writes: Why couldn't the Big East do something a bit more radical and make a West Division? It would make for more competitive football and give some schools that deserve inclusion in a BCS division a chance. I guess one problem would be, would they all be able to join as football only? Or maybe, get more radical and just do it as a new conference and let the Big East rest in peace. West - Boise, BYU, Tulsa, Houston, TCU, Air Force, SMU. East - WVU, USF, Cincinnati, Louisville, Rutgers, Navy, UConn. Maybe replace UConn or Rutgers with UCF depending on the situation.
Andrea Adelson: The Big East is never going to just say goodbye to basketball. So that is first. Second, how would this new alignment keep AQ status? This is basically a new version of C-USA.
Joe in Oklahoma City writes: What happened to the BE "aggressively" pursuing expansion? Not a rumor, peep, murmur, rumbling, etc. on any schools being approached/discussed. I am concerned that the BE is being way too passive. What is going on?
Adelson: The Big East is not in a position of strength right now. I really believe the league does not know whether it will be able to hang on to all its members. That uncertainty means future members do not want to give a full commitment to join. I will give you Navy as an example. Navy was all set to join before Pitt and Syracuse left. Now athletic director Chet Gladchuk wants to know who exactly will be in the conference before he moves forward. I still think nearly all depends on the moves the Big 12 and SEC make.
Mike in Caldwell, N.J., writes: Hi Andrea, Why doesn't the Big East merge with the Big 12 to form the Big 16? Mizzou will most likey be the SEC's 14th team, leaving 8 teams there. All the Big East would have to do is is add Navy or East Carolina or UCF and the league would be as follows.......Big 16 East would be Rutgers, UCONN, WVU, Cincy, USF, Louisville, & TCU. Big 12 West would be Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State.
Adelson: What is in it for the Big 12? I realize the league is not on the strongest ground, but as long as Texas and Oklahoma stick around, they survive. It doesn't matter if they add one team or eight. And what happens to basketball?
Matt in Oklahoma City writes: Hi Andrea, Good job on covering the soap opera that is the Big East. My question is why in the world am I hearing SMU? They're in the same market as TCU. I would think Houston would be the No. 1 or 2 pickup if they're looking to add another market, not to mention they're undefeated and building a new stadium.
Adelson: Thank you, Matt. I don't think being undefeated matters. SMU is a natural rival for TCU (something missing from this conference) and also is on an upswing under June Jones. Perhaps it appeals to the conference to get their other sports into the same area for a TCU-SMU swing for travel purposes.
Alex in Pway, N.J., writes: OK, Andrea, I gave you a chance, but standing by the ridiculous prediction that Syracuse will make a bowl game is inexcusable. How do you see SU beating anyone other than UL and UConn in the conference, going 2-5 will not get them into a bowl game. I am not even saying RU should be in that spot, I am saying there is no justification to think SU will even be 6-6. I would argue being at home versus Rutgers and unable to hold a lead against a true freshman QB in Gary Nova is just awful.
Adelson: You were one of several to ask about my bowl projections this week. Yes, that was a bad loss for Syracuse. The Orange do have Tulane this weekend, which I predict gets them to four wins. That means they only need two to become bowl eligible. Is it really such a stretch to see that happening? Not to me. As for Rutgers, the Scarlet Knights made almost as many mistakes at Syracuse, have major problems with their run game and offensive line and now have no idea who is going to play quarterback. There are way more questions for Rutgers to answer moving forward than for Syracuse. That is why I stuck with the Orange to get into a bowl game.