At yesterday's meeting, potential candidates such as Boise State, Central Florida and Temple were discussed, but no consensus could be agreed upon which teams to invite first, or at all.
The basketball factions were adamant about not adding anyone, while the football faction argued that if the Big East is going to survive as a BCS conference, whose champion gained automatic entry to a BCS bowl it is imperative for Boise State, with its high national ranking was a necessity for survival.
According to sources familiar with the process, but not authorized to talk about any negotiations, the Big East is focusing on two areas, with SMU, Central Florida ,Navy and Temple as the primary schools being looked at. Air Force is also being considered, but that seems more remote of a possibility
"It's now a dog-eat-dog world in college athletics," he said, "and everyone is acting in their own self-interest. It's not about fit or academics or rivalries. It's about football and money, period."
Tranghese said "you can't cast stones" at Pitt or Syracuse because every football school in the Big East "didn't feel secure." He said that through the final years of his tenure in the commissioner's chair, he grew tired of the "belly-aching" from football schools that longed for bigger TV dollars and bowl contracts.
"They simply weren't winning enough games and kept pointing the finger at us to get them more money," he said. "The best way to solve their own problems was to win games, but the Big East hasn't been good enough in football. It was an incredible burden."
The Mohegan Sun has offered a financial deal to the Big East, which also according to these sources is far more beneficial to the league than what the XL Center is physically able to deliver.
ESPN’s offer has created a division among the conference’s schools. Some want to rebuff ESPN’s offer and take the conference’s media rights to the open market. The reason: The amount of potential bidders in the market has helped other leagues increase their media rights more than they initially expected.
Nobody I talked to seems to even agree on how many current Big East football schools are against it. I talked to one person at a clear anti-'Nova school who suggested as many as six others were clearly against it in March, but none to the point that the proposal couldn't be improved and objections dropped. Another Big East administrator said it was more like a few leaning against, but none being over-my-dead-body against. Villanova probably can't get in unless six of the eight current football members sign off.
From top to bottom, the Big East is as strong as any conference in the country, when you look at the eight teams and how competitive it is each and every week. - Randy Edsall, yesterday to ESPN.