PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- There are plenty of items on the agenda for the Big East spring meetings, which begin Monday and run through Wednesday. Here is a brief primer on what the league's administrators, coaches and interim commissioner Joe Bailey will have on the table.
1. Conference stability. Though a league official told Joe Schad that Boise State has reaffirmed its commitment to the conference, you can bet that is going to be among the topics discussed. The Big East needs Boise State to join in a pretty bad way, and the Broncos must find a home for its non-football sports now that the WAC appears to be on the brink of collapse. Boise State is the big-ticket school the Big East needs moving forward. But beyond Boise State and the non-AQ schools joining, the Big East needs to know that all its member schools are committed so it can move forward in a meaningful way. That goes for teams like Louisville, UConn and Rutgers to name three. All of the new members -- Boise State, San Diego State, SMU, Houston, UCF, Temple, Memphis and Navy will be represented at the meetings. Syracuse and Pitt will not be there.
2. Commissioner search. The Big East has to find a new leader for the conference and fast, what with BCS negotiations set to continue in June and TV negotiations set to begin in September. What will the consensus be among those in attendance about the type of person they want in charge? How will Bailey assist in getting the Big East the best leader it can find among a rapidly changing landscape?
3. TV contract. The Big East has to get an excellent TV deal when it begins negotiations in September. First and foremost, it needs to be in the same ballpark as the deal that it turned down last year; and it is going to have to be in the same ballpark as the ACC to really be able to move forward. How will the Big East negotiate, which TV partners are interested, and will this finally lend stability to the league?
4. BCS, playoff. It appears to be a certainty that a four-team playoff will be coming to college football for the 2014 season. Which format does the Big East approve? More importantly than that, how does the Big East keep its seat as one of the top-six conferences in terms of BCS revenue distribution? The league is in danger of falling out of that grouping. That leads to the next topic.
5. Bowl tie-ins. The recent news that the Big 12-SEC champions would play in a bowl game is not good for a league like the Big East. Colleague Mark Schlabach writes: "And what about the depleted Big East? It's pretty clear the Big East is no longer sitting at the same table with the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC, after it lost Pittsburgh, Syracuse, TCU and West Virginia to other leagues. Now the Big East might not even be sitting in the same room as the other BCS conferences." The possibility of a Big East-ACC matchup might be on the table, but Schlabach writes, "That matchup has really worked out well for the Orange Bowl. Maybe they'll increase the stakes by giving the winner an at-large invitation to the NCAA men's basketball tournament."
6. Divisional alignment. Lost among all the hot topics is divisional alignment once the Big East expands beyond eight teams for 2013. All reports point to Temple joining the West with Boise State and San Diego State, along with Houston and SMU. The other team moving out West has not been completely determined. Once Navy joins for 2015, then there will probably be more shifting. Of course, the Big East may look totally different in 2015 so ...