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Friday, December 9, 2011
Big East loses in shakeup


The fallout from the Big East's shakeup in football and basketball this week will continue for weeks, if not months or years.

Fisher
San Diego State could be the Gonzaga of the Big West under Steve Fisher.

So after another week of changes, the basketball winners and losers can be summed up this way:

Winner
The Big West: Getting San Diego State is a major coup for this league. Steve Fisher's Aztecs are going to be an NCAA tournament team on a regular basis and a national player for getting marquee games. SDSU has a chance to be the Gonzaga of the Big West. The Aztecs won't be as good as the old UNLV teams that won a national title, but being the dominant player that can attract marquee games and attention for the Big West is a great get.

Loser
The Big East: You simply can't make this three-team trade (Out: Pitt, Syracuse, West Virginia; In: Central Florida, Houston, SMU) and not come out looking worse. The pool of teams the Big East had to choose from was small, but it still could have made a few more moves to appease football and basketball. The conference acquired new television markets, but the quality of play will go down and the matchups for the television partners won't be as palatable.

Biggest mess
The 2013 season: If Big East commissioner John Marinatto gets his way, the Big East will have 19 members for one season when the three new schools come aboard and Pitt, Syracuse and West Virginia have to stay. Big East associate commissioner Tom Odjakjian will have a thankless job as he tries to schedule a season that will keep him up at night.

The ongoing fight
West Virginia: The Mountaineers want to play in the Big 12. The Big East says they have to stay. This will likely end up being decided by a judge.

The unknown
Boise State: If coach Leon Rice can continue to improve the program, the Broncos can flourish in the WAC and become a player for a bid quicker there than in the Mountain West.

The potential
Houston, which has a solid recruiting class in 2012, and SMU have had their moments in the past, but the school that gets the tag as the one with the most potential of all the additions could be Central Florida. The Knights have a shot to make more of an impact in the Big East than South Florida has because of UCF's location and facilities. The Knights must stay out of the way of the NCAA's enforcement group after getting caught with violations that cost coach Donnie Jones the first three games of the C-USA season. Still, Jones has taken down Florida and Connecticut on neutral courts in each of the past two seasons.

The biggest question
When the 2014 season begins, will Louisville, Connecticut and Notre Dame be in the Big East? We just don't know.