Blog Entry

Big East additions: what do they bring?

Posted on: December 6, 2011 3:41 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2011 6:05 pm

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The Big East will go a long way towards remaining a solvent football league this week when, as reported by's Brett McMurphythey announce the additions of Boise State, San Diego State, Houston, UCF and SMU.

The additions will bring the conference's total number of football-playing members to 10, with Nos. 11 and 12 possibly soon to follow. But just as importantly, the expansion also gives the league a bona fide headliner--Boise brings their impeccable record at the non-AQ level, national recognition, and their attention-grabbing status as the No. 1 lightning rod for the FBS's ongoing haves-vs.-have-nots discussion.

But what do we know about the other four teams joining up? What do they bring to the table? What issues might they have to deal with? We've broken it down team-by-team:


PROS: The Cougars are riding a Case Keenum-led high, having won 22 games in their star QB's last two healthy seasons, including the program's first bowl win since 1980 in 2009. But Houston has plenty going for it off the field, too; their location smack dab in the middle of one of the country's largest television markets (this is going to be a repeating theme) and most fertile recruiting grounds should pay the Big East dividends both in their TV negotiations and on the recruiting trail. If the Cougars themselves can capitalize on their new BCS status on the trails in Houston and nearby Louisiana, they could be a power for years to come.

CONS: What happens when Keenum and head coach Kevin Sumlin --as seems increasingly likely -- both depart for greener pastures? This is still a program that, as mentioned, has just one bowl win in the past 31 years and was in truly sorry shape when Art Briles (with Sumlin in tow) arrived in 2003. The wrong hire in the wake of Sumlin's exit could return the Cougars to their doormat days in a hurry. And as nice as the Houston market is, the Cougars still need to make more inroads into it; fulfilling a promise to expand or replace 32,000-seat Robertson Stadium would be a plus.


PROS: As with the Cougars, Dallas-based SMU has the advantage of being located in one of the nation's biggest metro markets, a major plus for the television bean counters. But the Mustangs also have an administration that hasn't been shy about throwing its financial support behind its formerly woebegone program, and that's not a "Pony Express" joke; the school opened Gerald J. Ford Stadium just 11 years ago and four seasons back ponied up the cash (that pun's intended) to lure June Jones from Hawaii. Result: three straight bowl bids after a 25-year drought, some of the best recruiting classes in Conference USA, and noticeably increased fan interest and attendance.

CONS: If the Mustangs can hang onto Jones, or replace him with another smart (and duly expensive) hire, they have more than enough potential to be a respectable member of the Big East for some time to come. (The league's higher-ups have to appreciate that the Mustangs defeated Big East deserters TCU this past season.) But the Dallas market and surrounding recruiting grounds are so ultra-competitive, turning SMU's resources and location into a legitimate BCS contender may take quite a few years and even more support from the SMU fanbase, which was called out by an SMU player this season for its lack of enthusiasm.


PROS: If there's any school that's put its money where its mouth is when it comes to supporting athletics, it's UCF, which opened the $55 million, 45,00-seat on-campus Bright House Networks Stadium four years ago amongst multiple other major facilities upgrades. Though a 5-7 2011 season has been a major disappointment for George O'Leary's program, this is still a team that's won two C-USA titles and earned three bowl bids in the past five years. As the second-largest school in the country in terms of enrollment and the only major college football program in the sizable Orlando market, a move to the Big East and a few years of consistent winning could give the Knights the push on the recruiting trail needed to become a legit BCS contender.

CONS: Of course, that's all assuming the NCAA Committee on Infractions doesn't give the program the USC treatment in the wake of the recent allegations against exiled athletic director Keith TribbleThough the Orlando market is an obvious TV positive, the Knight's central Florida location is both a blessing and a curse; while there's plenty of athletes available around which O'Leary (or his successor) can build a successful program, there's also few (if any) areas of the country where the competition for those athletes is more cutthroat. A few NCAA-hamstrung poor seasons could deal the program a blow that could take it years to recover from.


PROS: Long regarded as the "sleeping giant" of the Mountain West, the Aztecs finally went some way towards waking up with a 9-4 2010 season and just their second bowl berth in 19 years--a campaign that resulted in an attendance surge that ranked amongst the nation's best. Despite the loss of head coach Brady Hoke and multiple NFL talents, an 8-4 year and New Orleans Bowl berth wasn't a bad follow-up. Thanks to their access to California's bountiful recruiting grounds and the TV-friendly San Diego market, another good year or two for Rocky Long should lay the foundation for success for years to come.

CONS: As much potential as SDSU has on paper, this is still a program with just four bowl appearances and one win since 1969; just because it looks like it should be easy to win here doesn't mean it is. More than any of the other addditions save Boise, SDSU will add a sizable chunk to opponent's travel bills. And Long, already 61 years old, may not be the long-term answer at head coach; if he's not, will the Aztec brass be shrewd enough (or spend enough) to find another Hoke?


Since: Dec 5, 2011
Posted on: December 7, 2011 2:54 pm

Big East additions: what do they bring?

good article. 


Since: Nov 27, 2008
Posted on: December 6, 2011 9:34 pm

Big East additions: what do they bring?

I am from New York City and I now live in San Diego ......  funny but when Im down here in S.D. I dont feel anywhere close to N.Y.. Want to tell me how SDSU is now a part of the Big EAST when its about as SOUTH WEST as you can get in the U.S.A.. Better change the conference name ...... How about The Big Travel .............. 

Since: Nov 9, 2006
Posted on: December 6, 2011 8:59 pm

Big East additions: what do they bring?

San Diego State should have been invited into the PAC 12 along with Boise State. But........that makes too much sense!

Since: Dec 6, 2011
Posted on: December 6, 2011 8:29 pm

Big East additions: what do they bring?

I like the move, if they can effectively make it work with that many schools spread so far apart. It will give college football fans regular seasons match-ups that we would have never seen without this move. I do believe they help their case as an AQ with Boise State. The only concerns I have are the logistics of all that traveling and fatigue on the teams from that travel, especially am or early noon games.

Since: Nov 29, 2006
Posted on: December 6, 2011 7:22 pm

Big East additions: what do they bring?

80% of statistics are made up.  LSU didn't want to Alabama because they present the most problem for them.. Early Vegas line was that LSU was a 10 1/2 favorite over OSU and a 3 1/2 over Alabama.  Hmmmmmmmm.   These 80 % of the fans are from west of the Mississippi River, a land where no defense is played.

Since: Mar 17, 2008
Posted on: December 6, 2011 7:12 pm

Big East additions: what do they bring?

I like it, but its a little late, and Notre Dame will still be a problem for Big East football. I do hope the Big East makes it and these teams that are coming in are as respectable as any ACC team. I hope they keep their AQ status, or get rid of all AQ status for all conference's. NCAA is going to have to work on this BCS thing, 80% of the fan votes were for OK St, the only state to vote different was Alabama, wonder why, even Louisiana voted for OK St.

Since: Sep 6, 2008
Posted on: December 6, 2011 6:24 pm

Big East additions: what do they bring?

This is the way BSU answers the pundits calling for them to play on a NATIONAL level.  The only reason BSU was extended a bid was as a play by the Big East to maintain the AQ status.  

Since: Oct 30, 2011
Posted on: December 6, 2011 6:23 pm

BCS Stinks

If you are upset with the BCS selections call the Sugar Bowl  (504 824 2440).  I think it is our responsibility as college football fans to call.  You can respectfully voice your thoughts.  I called and can confirm they will answer.

Since: Nov 21, 2011
Posted on: December 6, 2011 5:46 pm

Big East additions: what do they bring?

What happened to Air Force and Navy . And lets not forget Temple and Army ?

Since: Jun 12, 2007
Posted on: December 6, 2011 5:25 pm

Big East additions: what do they bring?

Since when is San Diego in the East? This will mean more cross country flights for the student /athlete and more missed classes. The logistics makes no sense. Dallas, Orlando, San Diego, and New York. Only in College Football

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or