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Sunday, August 14, 2022

Commentary

The Big What?


The Boston Globe reported on Friday that the Big East extended offers to UH, SMU, UCF, Boise State, Air Force and Navy. | Graphic by Joshua Siegel/The Daily Cougar

For a while, it looked like UH was going to be the only girl without a date to the dance.

The Boston Globe reported Friday that UH is one of the six schools who received an invitation to become a member of the Big East.

Big East officials will vote today on raising its exit fee to $10 million to help convince the six invited schools that it is a stable league, which is looking more and more like a bizarro reunion of Conference USA schools from the early 2000’s.

The move is not predicated on tradition or geography — few decisions in college athletics are — but to remain an Automatic Qualifier for BCS bowls and the money that comes from them. To achieve that, the Big East has to stray from its namesake.

The BCS’s contract expires in 2013, and there are murmurs that this edition of the Big East will not be strong enough to earn AQ status again — it might even have to compete with the new mutant C-USA/Mountain West mashup that rises from the ashes of this defection.

Despite the league’s odd sprawl from coast to coast, it should be in decent shape. Getting Boise is a coup, and gives the league credibility.

The conference will likely be split into two divisions with six schools residing in each. The west would most likely feature UH, SMU, Cincinnati, Boise State, Louisville and Air Force. While the east would figure to have UConn, Rutgers, South Florida, West Virginia, Navy and Central Florida.

Seven of those schools have been ranked at some point since 2009. No. 5 Boise, No. 15 WVU and No. 19 UH are all current top 20 teams; SMU is on the rise and Cincinnati is just two years removed from back-to-back Big East titles.

Even if it isn’t the Big 12, and it’s more like the graduating class of C-USA ‘04, UH is finally back in a prominent football conference with nowhere to go but up.

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