PROVO UT - SEPTEMBER 1: Large signs hang outside Lavell Edwards Stadium where it was announced that BYU football will become independent in 2011 separating from the Mountain West Conference September 1 2010 in Provo Utah. The remaining BYU sports will become affiliated with the West Coast Conference in 2011. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
According to a report from Keith Pompey with the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Big East has not given up on adding BYU or Air Force as the conference's 14th football playing member. The conference has sought a 14th member for football to balance the conference out once Navy joins in 2015. The prevailing wisdom is that the Big East would like an additional member in the west to balance the conference out geographically with future members Boise State, San Diego State, Houston, and SMU. That's where BYU and/or Air Force come in. Pompey writes:
Teams will play eight-game league schedules once the conference expands from eight teams to 12 in 2013. The conference is expected to grow to 14 teams in 2015. That's when Navy joins for football only. Brigham Young or Air Force is expected to join Navy, according to multiple sources at the spring meetings.
This news comes as a surprise given that both schools have previously stated that they would not be interested in playing football in the Big East. In terms of a known quantity and name recognition, BYU would be the best addition the Big East could possibly make, and such an addition would surely drive up the value of a future television contract as well. BYU would likely only be willing to work out such a deal if it becomes convinced that scheduling as a football independent is impossible heading into a world of nine-game conference schedules and mega-conferences.
Air Force would also be a valuable addition with its location in the west and its existing relationship with Navy, Boise State, and San Diego State. The Big East has previously received broadcast partner feedback that Air Force would be a valuable addition but the Falcons have up to now refused the Big East's attention.