I must admit that even I wanted to see a school like Memphis or ECU in the Big East a year ago. Even I want to see the Big East being proactive. We all say why isn't the Big East proactive here. But can we look at the bigger picture for a minute.
No expansion candidate is a perfect fit. All BCS ready schools are in the MWC. Some say that we should invite a school and let the grow with BCS recruiting similar to Cincinnati. Fact of the matter is Cincinnati compared to ECU and Memphis are totally different situtations. Cincinnati is practically a MAC All Star Team. Its no coincidence that during the Bearcats rise that the Mac steadily has declined. The local Memphis and ECU area simply doesn't feed recruits like the Cincinnati area. Shoot Cincinnati doesn't even need to compete with OSU for recruits and they should be a top 3 school in the Big East. Can we say the same for ECU and Memphis. Looking deeper at the candidates and ECU and Memphis have 1st year coach's so things could get worse or better for those programs.
I'm a big advocate of Temple but they're also not the answer. There is no guarentee that Golden is going to stay at Temple. They're fan support is slowly growing but its not where anyone wants it to be.
Now lets look at UCF for a moment. Face value they may be the the best choice. They're located in the epicenter of football recruiting and a nice media market, plus they have a massive amounts of alums. Lets dig deeper for a moment. Adding UCF holds back the growth of USF because they'll be competing with each other for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th tier recruits in Florida. Almost every school in the east taps into Florida for recruits from Alabama, Georgia, to the Big East schools. Adding UCF not only hurts USF for recruits, but also our own schools. We need USF to start growing into the program we expect it to before we add UCF.
Lets talk about Big East Network for a brief moment. Look where the snowbirds and Northeast transplants are located. They moved mostly to the Carolina's and Florida. Most of those transplants and snowbirds are also Big East school's alumni. That tells me that a Network(if created) will most likely be provided in Florida and the Carolina's with/or without schools in those area's. The demand for a Big East Network is already in those states.
Remember one thing Big East fans(and CUSA fans that are lurking), we just don't have room for error here. The Big 10 added Nebraska, the Pac 10 added Utah and Colorado. All those schools are highly respected and won a BCS Bowl or National Title the past 20 years. Adding the so called normal prospects doesn't help out cause to grow. Each prospect has a glaring weakness, wether its market size, level of play on the field, first year coach's ect.
The major eyepopping problem here is that the Big East is probably going to be forced to expand. You have the Pac 10, Big 10, Big XII all going to a 9 game conference schedule. I'm not sure if the ACC and SEC are far behind. Thats a problem because we're not going to have enough quality opponents to fill out our conference schedules. We need one of the normal prospects to seperate themselfs from the pack. Temple seems to the the prospect to do that if they can win a few MAC titles in a row. Larry Porter can certainly get Memphis on the right track.
There are 2 prospects that are superior to the other prospects out east. Those 2 prospects are TCU and Houston. But the problem with those 2 schools are that they are 2 far west. I think they could instantly compete in the Big East. But could geography really be the problem here?