The Big East will not go down without a fight.
With the conference reeling after the defections of Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the ACC, the Big East was compelled to make a move.
The Associated Press reported on Monday that the Big East and the Big 12 have been discussing a merger, which is contingent on Texas and Oklahoma leaving the Big 12.
Speculation has run rampant that if Texas and Oklahoma leave, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech are likely to follow them. That would leave the Big 12 with Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri and Baylor.
“Those conversations are alive and ongoing,” a source told the AP.
With Pittsburgh and Syracuse gone, the Big East would be left with just seven football teams for the 2012 season; Cincinnati, Connecticut, Rutgers, Louisville, South Florida, TCU and West Virginia.
Even if a deal is struck, Big East fans shouldn’t celebrate yet, however. It’s been widely reported that West Virginia, UConn and Rutgers will follow Pittsburgh and Syracuse out the door. West Virginia has been linked to the Big Ten, SEC and ACC. UConn has been connected to the ACC, while Rutgers had been discussed as a candidate to join the Big Ten.
Big 12 fans will have to wait to rejoice, too, as Missouri has been rumored to be on the Big Ten's wish list.
A merger without UConn, West Virginia, Rutgers and Missouri would leave the Big 12 and Big East conference with a combined eight teams. The Big East could then turn to the MAC to maybe convince schools like Temple or Buffalo to jump ship, while the Big 12 could look to conference USA and make Houston or SMU an offer.