The Big East will ultimately expand to 14 football teams by the year 2015. For the 2013 and 2014 seasons, however, the conference will have just 12 teams for football, will begin divisional play, and will play a conference championship game at the home stadium of the highest ranked team. With that plan, the Big East will announce its decision for how to divide the league into the divisions for 2013 and 2014 while there are just 12 teams (the divisions will be adjusted once Navy and another member joins in 2015). According to multiple reports, the Big East will approve an essentially geographical divisional alignment, creating an East and a West division with the lone exception of Temple being placed in the west division. The divisions would then be:
East: Connecticut, Rutgers, Louisville, Cincinnati, South Florida, Central Florida
West: San Diego State, Boise State, Houston, SMU, Memphis, Temple
Big East commissioner Mike Aresco has stated on a number of occasions that the Big East will only play eight conference games, so expect the scheduling format to mimic what other conferences have done with divisional play. Since they're only scheduling for two years before having to re-work it all for a 14 team league, it's unclear if the Big East will have permanent crossover opponents in 2013 and 2014 or at all beginning in 2015. The presidents are meeting today in Rosemont, IL and should announce the specifics later today.
The essentially geographical divisions makes good sense for fans trying to wrap their heads around new divisions in a new conference with new teams they've had no previous relationship with. The ACC has been split into Coastal and Atlantic divisions for nearly a decade now and the average fan still has no idea which teams are in which division. The Big Ten was even more absurd in its divisional formatting by both not using geography but by also naming the divisions the ridiculous "Leaders" and "Legends" divisions. The divisions and names should be easy for fans to quickly pick up and envision.
Perhaps the best part of the decision to go with divisions based on geography is the possibility for the Big East to develop small-scale regionalism within its own conference. With home field based on the highest ranking, one additional motivation for teams will be to get to host the game in their own stadium in a climate they're comfortable in. In early December, the climate in Houston, San Diego, or Tampa is quite different than it is in Boise, Louisville, or Piscataway.