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A look at the viable Big East expansion candidates

Written by Colin Dunlap on .



By now, everyone knows about the meeting that took place on Tuesday where the Big East decided to take a serious look at moving forward with an increase in football playing schools from eight to 10. This would be tremendously beneficial to making out a schedule and, for West Virginia, would most like get rid of what many view as that pesky Marshall game (if that happened, what in the heck would Chuck Landon be left to be infatuated with?)

Anyhow, back on task -- the Big East expansion.

Seems the primary suspects are easy to figure out: Villanova, TCU, Central Florida, Houston, Temple, East Carolina, Memphis and Navy.

With those eight schools seemingly the ones in which two will be selected from, looking at everything, which two would make the most sense to add?

To me, and some people think I might be nuts in saying this (because I know a good bunch of you probably want TCU), but I think that Villanova and Central Florida would serve as the best options. Here's why: By process of elimination, we can get rid of Temple (can't ever get over that they were booted from the league once) and Navy (service academy ball is great for nostalgia-driven people like Beano Cook, but it does nothing to strengthen your league.)

Now, let's eliminate Houston. While their market is enormous (and I'm guessing Oliver Luck would have trouble getting tickets for all his friends in that city for a WVU-Cougars game), the University of Houston was, is and always will be, third fiddle behind Texas and Texas A&M in those parts. Unless you add TCU to give them a natural rival in the league, Houston makes zero sense.

To me, I see Memphis and East Carolina as having major shortcomings that would eliminate them: ECU is kind of in the middle of nowhere and Memphis' facilites are not very good.

So that leaves one more in my process of elimination exercise ... TCU. While the Horned Frogs are clearly very good right now, and have many things going for them (Texas recruiting, warm weather, good TV market, they want in the league for chance to earn BCS bid), one wonders if their success is program-driven or coach-driven? Gary Patterson is a great coach, one of the finest in the country, but one wonders if, when Bill Snyder retires at Kansas State (and that can't be far off), if Patterson will make the jump to his alma mater and the place where he served as a graduate assistant. One would think, if Manhattan, Kansas comes calling, Patterson might jump at the chance. And, with that, would TCU's program nosedive? Also, if TCU is to join the league, there is, quite simply, no geographic rival (unless Houston is also brought in).

That's why I'm going with UCF and Villanova as my most logical candidates, as the ones that make the most sense at this juncture.

But, I want to hear from you, too. I want your feedback. Post on here your thoughts as to which two programs should be extended invitations to this Big East --- and make a solid case as to why.

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