So about that open invitation thing ...
Turns out the reported open invitation is all part a larger Big East "dream scenario" that includes the conference adding TCU, Boston College, Maryland and a 12th football member -- Villanova or Central Florida. That's according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Paul Zeise, who sat down with Pittsburgh athletic director Steve Pederson at Big East Media Day:
"I had a long talk with Steve Pederson today about what it is exactly that he and Oliver Luck and the rest of the athletic directors from football-playing schools really want and he made it simple -- they want a league where every single year they don't have to worry about losing members to other leagues and that means they need long-term stability.
The dream scenario would be the current league, plus TCU and BC and Maryland and if three schools of that quality were added, then a 12th school could be a Villanova or Central Florida and the conference would clearly be better."
This setup, presumably, would be a much better "dream" setup for the conference than, say, luring Notre Dame away from football independence and adding the Irish as an all-sports conference member or poaching Penn State from the Big Ten.
So you just might be asking yourself how the Big East plans on counter-raiding the ACC and snatching up the conference's two northernmost, large market programs. Well, that's easy -- by throwing gobs and gobs of money at the two programs:
"That brings the question - what exactly could the Big East offer Maryland and Boston College that they don't already have in the ACC?
Well, money, and that's where the high stakes poker game with television networks that the Big East - at the prodding of Pederson and company - comes into play."
Hey, if the promise of dollar signs from yet-to-be-signed TV media rights contracts could help Dan Beebe keep the old Big 12 gang together, why couldn't it help the Big East lure BC and Maryland away from their cushy digs in the ACC?