MIAMI ( – The former conference home of the Miami Hurricanes, the Big East Conference, has voted to extend invitations to a number of schools to join the fledgling conference.

The Big East announced the expansion plans Tuesday, but neglected to say exactly which schools will receive invitations. The list is believed to consist of Boise State, Air Force, and Navy as football-only members and Houston, SMU, and UCF in all sports.

The key school for the Big East to land, in order to keep its automatic BCS qualifying spot will be the Boise State Broncos.

But, the big question Boise State will have to ask is: what is the benefit of joining a nearly defunct football conference?

Boise State has made it an annual rite of passage for the school to be in the thick of the BCS national championship hunt each year with little help needed from its conference.

Boise can reap the financial benefits and stay in an easier conference and still be in the thick of the BCS each year, without the Big East.

A bigger question for the Big East will be what happens with West Virginia, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse. The Big East said it’s sticking to its contractually mandated 27 month waiting period before the three schools can join their new conference.

The true reason behind the Big East’s untenable stance is not known, but West Virginia wants to go to the Big XII next year and has sued the Big East to get out of the contract.

West Virginia’s suit centers on the Big East allowing TCU to leave the conference by paying a penalty.

TCU was set to join the Big East next year, before the Big XII came calling. West Virginia wants a similar easy road out of the conference and is using TCU’s exampled against the conference in court.

For the Big East, losing Pittsburgh, West Virginia, and Syracuse is almost the final nail in the casket of the conference’s automatic BCS berth.

With the conference having to try to lure second-tier schools into the conference, it looks like the conference’s glory days are over.


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