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Big East Expansion Talk and the (Extra) Big Finish

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Brian: While we were away, we seemed to have missed quite a lot of fun and commotion. The mainstream media - starting with the NY Post - manufactured a "Big East to re-raid ACC story," rumoring that either Maryland or Boston College would jump from the ACC and become the ninth football member of the Big East (give 'em hell, ATL). Perhaps the rumors are stemming from Big East football coaches clamoring for a ninth team to ease scheduling constraints, or maybe it’s an attempt to sweep under the rug the embarrassment that is not placing one football team in the Top 25 of either major poll.

Now we all know that BC isn't rejoining the Big East Conference, despite what out-of-touch Carolina news writers would have you believe. Sorry, Caulton, there is no "second-guessing" here at Boston College.

Let the record show that the Big East football conference coaches are in favor of expanding, but they say that that ninth "team" isn’t out there. They are looking for a team that adds value, an athletic, academic and financially successful future. I guess beggars CAN be choosers.

So instead of wasting words on the Big East to re-raid ACC story - which is, at best, a non-story - paint the picture for me. In all likelihood, the Big East will expand to a ninth or tenth team at some point. So who you got? And what is going to become of the already bloated 16-team basketball conference?

Jeff: Like you said the Big East will expand and it will only be a question of who joins and what happens with basketball. I think they would probably like to get a team like Central Florida to join because it would add another Florida team and at least give USF one short road trip down I-4 every other year. Also, UCF would probably be agreeable to joining for football only. Schools with better programs would only agree to come on for both sports.

Brian: In my opinion, the Central Florida to the Big East ship has sailed. Not enough winning on the gridiron of late and too many bridges burned, including buying out of football series with Syracuse, West Virginia and Pittsburgh. Not to mention that South Florida will likely do everything in its power to prevent UCF from joining the conference.

The other likely teams to steal from a mid-major conference would be East Carolina or Memphis. The Memphis question is interesting, and Big East officials will be paying close attention to how Memphis fares in basketball in particular post-Calipari. I highly doubt that the Big East would look in the direction of the MAC - with a school like Buffalo - after having had to deal with the failed experiment of Temple in the Big East.

Another option is recruiting a I-AA that is willing to make the jump to I-A. Delaware, New Hampshire or Massachusetts come to mind. These would likely have to be football-only members like Temple was until 2004. This option would certainly be intriguing to BC fans. The inclusion of UNH or UMass would put a second I-A BCS Conference team in New England, and there wouldn't be any bad blood between the school and the newest member of the Big East.

My money is on East Carolina joining the Big East as a football-only member in the next few years. As long as they keep winning in Conference USA, they will be an attractive option for Big East football to gain market share in ACC country and bridge the geographic gap between South Florida and their next closest geographic Big East member (Louisville/West Virginia). If ECU wanted to join the Big East for all sports, I'm sure the league would have no problem giving the boot to a DePaul and sending them either back to Conference USA or the Horizon League. Conference USA could easily backfill ECU's slot with a MAC team (already with an odd 13 football members) or a Sun Belt team.

With East Carolina, I would imagine the conference also has some option value in bringing on a 10th football school in the future. The Big East could later bring on a close geographic neighbor to ECU in the Charlotte 49ers fledgling FBS program, set to start in 2013.

Granted, this is all conjecture and fun to play out in our heads. Two things are certain though. Maryland and Boston College aren't going to be jumping onto the Big East train anytime soon, and this mega-mega conference proposal makes absolutely 0 sense.

Twice the Big Finish for the price of one (catching up edition)

Jeff: You coming down to my neck of the woods for the ACC vs. SEC men’s hoops battle next year?

Brian: Nope. If I'm going to make it down for a basketball game in South Carolina, I'd rather go to a game that means a lot more to the program. Namely, a road game at Littlejohn Coliseum.

Brian: Masik Collegiate Fragrances has introduced a line of colognes and perfumes that capture the essence of universities such as Penn State, LSU, and North Carolina. (Florida, Georgia, Auburn, Tennessee and Bama fragrances are on the way!). Curious: if this catches on, what would Boston College cologne smell like?

Jeff: That is an answer I will never find out.

Jeff: When we recruited and signed the best football player from Maine, things didn’t turn out particularly well. Is it gonna be any different with the best football player from the state of Delaware?

Brian: Yes. I’ll go out on a limb and say Delaware is a better recruiting state than Maine, and the cornerback position doesn’t have nearly the impact on the game as the quarterback.

Brian: Vegas lines are out on a few opening weekend ACC football games (no line for BC vs. Northeastern since we snack on a I-AA opening weekend). Most surprising opening line?

Jeff: I am surprised that NC State is giving 3.5 points to USC after getting destroyed by the Gamecocks in last year's opener. More is expected of the Pack this year but a pick 'em is what I expected.

Jeff: First Raji is holding out up in Green Bay, now he is officially a Packer. Did Raji's 12 day holdout make any sense?

Brian: I understand the tactic of holding out until Eugene Monroe signs, but in the end, Raji signs for $28.5 mil and Monroe is still holding out, right? Make sense? Not particularly.

Brian: NC State was dealt a serious blow yesterday when they learned that linebacker Nate Irving will be out for the season due to injuries. How concerned should the Eagles be about the Wolfpack defense now?

Jeff: Darren Evans and Irving go down this week. I don't wish injuries on anyone but hopefully all the Eagles' bad fortune is out of the way and it's time for it to fall on some other teams.

Jeff: Fifth-year seniors Rich Gunnell, Mike McLaughlin and Matt Tennant were elected captains for the 2009 season. That cool with you?

Brian: Yep. Would have been nice to see Herzlich there this season as he is the emotional leader of the team, but there is always next season.

Brian: HD thinks BC will be one of ten bowl teams from the ACC for the second straight year (albeit the 10th at-large bowl berth). Give me one reason why HD is crazy to think the ACC will again send 10 teams bowling?

Jeff: Maryland. After they miss a bowl this year, who will replace them?

Jeff: ACC Sports Journal asks "What is Frank Spaziani's (offensive) football philosophy?" More TOB, or more Jags?

Brian: Sounds like more TOB, especially if Shinskie gets the nod. Sounds like he is more a TOB prototype QB than cut of the Jags (Davis/Tuggle) mold.

Brian: Yesterday, Boston Globe BC beat writer Mark Blaudschun tweeted "BC is playing its opening two games starting at 2 p.m. Who starts football games at 2 pm? One reason: it allows fans to play golf in a.m." Seriously? How many Eagles fans do you know that want to get a round of 18 in before kickoff?

Jeff: Going to the game? None. Not in attendance? All of 'em because they probably don't care to watch BC-Northeastern on their computer if they can get it anyway.

Jeff: BC just missed Dick Vitale's early preseason top 25. Do you think we should be a preseason Top 25 team?

Brian: Based on the talent we have returning to the Heights, absolutely. Based on our showing in last year's NCAAs, absolutely not.

Brian: Last season's ACC men's basketball tournament netted $22.9 million for the city of Atlanta. Surprised?

Jeff: Nope, there were a ton of people there and they got a piece of my wallet too.

Jeff: From yesterday’s practice notes, I read that Steve Aponavicius made a 48-yard field goal. Does this surprise you as much as it does me?

Brian: Maybe he is finding extra range with age?

Brian: Gobbler Country is going week-by-week and predicting each ACC team’s seasons. After week 4, he has the Eagles at 2-2. Tell him why he’s wrong.

Jeff: We've never lost to Clemson as an underdog. We will certainly be an underdog this year.

Jeff: Last one, if you could be Tiger Woods or Matt Ryan, who would you be?

Brian: My love for Matt Ryan runs deep, but c'mon. Is this even a real question?