Never a dull moment in college football — on or off the field, it seems. The same week we hear news of Temple entertaining the Big East‘s desperation plea to get to eight members for 2012, now there’s murmurs the move may actually be a preemptive one for Louisville‘s possible departure.
According to SBNation and BYU‘s Rivals site, DeepShadesofBlue, it looks as if the Big12 is in talks of some sort with both the Cardinals’ and Cougars’ administrations. While it’s no secret that Louisville’s wanted out for quite awhile now, the fact that BYU’s back in the fold is nothing short of surprising. If you’ll recall, TV issues sort of halted discussions last fall — specifically, the Big 12′s partners weren’t thrilled with the Salt Lake City market and BYU wasn’t ready to fold its operation back into a conference, just months after leaving another one. But now, apparently, those thoughts have adjusted a bit:
“Talks between the two parties have ramped up over the past couple of weeks however, with discussions revolving around the possibility of BYU and Louisville being added in time for the 2013-14 athletics season. Such a move would get the conference back to its original number of 12 member schools, and provide it with the opportunity to hold a championship game for football in December of 2013.”
So there’s that. The Big 12′s pursuit of both schools of course has multiple reasons behind it. Expanding by two allows them to have a championship game again. Louisville would provide a bridge between the core of the conference and West Virginia. And BYU would cut off the last realistic bridge from the Pac-12 to the current Big 12 schools. Most of all, interim commissioner Chuck Neinas isn’t exactly opposed to the expansion idea. For the Cougars, they get a wider distribution of their games, an easier road to the money bowl games and a better home for Olympic sports in the Big 12. Louisville, of course, gets to leave the increasingly fractured (and consistently terrible) Big East in the dust for much greener pastures.
As for the Big East, they appear to be aware of their continued instability, hence why they’re continuously making moves just to stop the bleeding, rather than shore up the league. No current or future school associated with it can say with a straight face they don’t have one eye on another option (except maybe Temple), leaving it in a perpetual state of turmoil. Though Louisville’s departure won’t bury the league, it’ll be another blow to its credibility it just can’t afford to withstand much longer.
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