ESPN reported on Jan. 1 that Boise State will not be going to the Big East after all. The team that promised to give the conference their best football program will now remain in the Mountain West. This is the second school, following TCU, which backed out of an agreement with the conference, which is slowly disintegrating.
San Diego State might also back out of the deal to join the Big East, but their fate remains unclear at this time.
The Big East was, at one time, the best college basketball conference in the nation. However, teams like Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame and Louisville all left the conference, stripping them of most of their basketball power schools. In response to this, the "Catholic 7" also announced they were leaving to start their own basketball-only conference.
Those schools include Marquette, Villanova, DePaul, Georgetown, St. John's, Seton Hall and Providence, which effectively turned the Big East from a powerhouse into a minor conference in the world of college basketball. San Diego State and Boise State were supposed to be keys to helping the conference retain some of its basketball stroke.
Eliminating those two schools, the teams committed to the Big East in 2013 include Connecticut, Cincinnati, South Florida, Temple, Louisville and Rutgers, plus newcomers Memphis, Central Florida, SMU and Houston. When Rutgers and Louisville leave in 2014, East Carolina and Tulane will join. This is not the makings of a BCS Conference, and looks more like Conference USA.
If Boise State and San Diego State remain behind in the Mountain West, and there is reason to think they will, that conference will grow closer to a legitimate BCS Conference than the Big East. The Mountain West has a new television contract with CBS Sports Network, and schools will be able to sell packages of their games to other networks, a huge perk. Also, any team that plays in a BCS games, and the upcoming playoffs, will get to keep half the money they earn for themselves, instead of splitting it evenly with the conference.
Meanwhile, the Big East has no new television deal, and won't until the restructuring settles down. The latest defection by Boise State hurts their value even more.
"This realignment thing has been a constant issue," Big East commissioner Mike Aresco said. "We think things are clarified. We have some clarity."