Could the Big East look to Army and Navy in its quest to expand?
CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy reports that the league could be interested in just such a plan to add the service academies. He quotes an unnamed college football industry insider who says the Big East could add Army and Navy on its way to growing to 12 teams.
"I believe the league will approach the academies first and if they turn the Big East down, then they'll approach the other candidates," the source is quoted as saying. "There are a lot of hurdles to overcome. The Big East would have to convince them that's where they want to be."
This isn't the first time the idea has been broached. The Big East considered Army and Navy a couple of years ago but ultimately the talks broke down. While there are advantages to adding the academies, there are also major questions about it.
Amy and Navy certainly fall within the league's geographic footprint. Navy has experienced lots of success in recent years, and Army is on the way back up after making a bowl game last season. While they might not qualify per se as "big market teams," both are name-brand entities that would definitely have drawing power among current and ex-military personnel.
But there's also concern about whether the two academies, whose missions are so much different than other Big East schools, could hold up under the rigors of a full conference schedule. Right now, both are independents who can schedule whom they want. Navy played Georgia Southern, Louisiaina Tech, Duke, Central Michigan and Arkansas State on its way to the Poinsettia Bowl last year; Army got to seven wins in part by playing Eastern Michigan, North Texas, Duke, VMI and Kent State.
Both would have to be football-only members, and there's no doubt they could make more money as part of a BCS conference. But is that truly what they want to do? And how would the traditional, year-end Army-Navy game be handled in a league format? Can you really ever picture Army or Navy in, say, the Orange Bowl?
I've written about this before and have come to the conclusion that it's not a great fit for either side. What do you think?