Confused with all of this talk of conference realignment? Don’t worry. No one really knows what the outcome of all of this is going to be. Even the crew at College Hoops Scoops were left scratching their heads after news of Pittsburgh and Syracuse leaving the Big East and UConn reportedly right behind them.
Here’s what the College Hoops Scoops version of the Big East will look like after the Panthers and the Orange leave. Before you check out our alignment, let’s clear up a few things.
TCU will remain in the conference (for now), because it has nowhere else to go. Notre Dame will stay in the conference (for now), because it still has a few years left on its contract with NBC. If the Fighting Irish don’t renew that contract (Dick Ebersol was the force behind it), they’ll likely be looking for a conference to join.
Cincinnati and Louisville will stay in the conference (for now), because neither of the schools offers enough with their football programs to warrant a conference coming after them.
South Florida is the real question mark, because it is a program on the rise. Their recent win over Notre Dame proves they can be a quality program in a major conference. The question is where. There is nothing out there to suggest that South Florida is a wanted program. We will leave them in the new-look Big East for now.
DePaul, Georgetown Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John’s and Villanova are schools that either don’t have football programs or play football in the FCS division. Our new-look league doesn’t include West Virginia, UConn or Rutgers, who we assume will bolt for another conference.
Possibilities for teams 15 and 16:
Fordham: Yes, we know. Fordham has been bad for a long time. But Tom Pecora has the Bronx school headed in the right direction. It’s a long shot, but if any of the remaining FBS football schools in our new-look Big East (Cincy, Louisville, South Florida, Notre Dame, TCU) bolt, the conference may take Fordham because of its location.
Rhode Island: The Rams are a feisty bunch that can play with most teams on most nights. Under the College Hoops Scoops Big East realignment, Rhode Island would fit right in. Their location and rivalry with Providence makes the Rams an intriguing candidate.
Richmond: Arguably the third best team in the A-10 behind Temple and Xavier, Richmond has become a player recently and proved it with a trip to the NCAA regional semifinal last season. It was Richmond’s second straight trip to the NCAA and its third appearance in seven years.
UMASS: Umass has been down for a while, with its last appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 1998. But the Minutemen’s jump in football from the CAA to the MAC could prompt it to make an upward move to the Big East for basketball.
Hofstra and Stony Brook are long shots for the Big East under the College Hoops Scoops scenario. But if the schools with FBS football programs bolt, it could open the door for one of them down the road.
Memphis, Delaware, Old Dominion, George Mason, VCU and James Madison could all be on the short list, depending on what happens with the Big East’s remaining FBS teams.