While watching the USF-Nevada game on Saturday, I coudn't help but wonder: back in 2011, when everyone was going everywhere, and C-USA and Mountain West tried to form an alliance, I though, why isn't the Big East looking to make an alliance with the Mountain West?
Let's say Marinatto calls up the MWC commish and says a) we need to add schools, but for football only, b) you get in on AQ status and c) you still have your own league for other sports, so the teams in the MWC don't have to find new homes for non-football sports.
The Big East had eight teams, and needed to add schools for football but not for other sports. At the time, the Mountain West had seven teams. If they added, say Nevada, here would be the 16-team football conference for 2013:
Big East Division: Cincinnati, Connecticut, Houston, Louisville, Memphis, Rutgers, South Florida, Temple
Mountain West Division: Air Force, Boise St, Colorado St, Nevada, New Mexico, San Diego St, UNLV, Wyoming
The above is much better than what either conference will have in 2013. They could play a nine-game schedule, with each team playing seven division games and two inter-division games, and an on-campus title game.
This wouldn't have stopped TCU, WVU, Pitt and Syracuse from leaving, but it would have avoided the need to add fringe-y programs like SMU and UCF to the Big East, or San Jose St or Fresno or Utah St to the Mountain West. Those teams just water down both conferences, especially the newcomers in basketball for the Big East. Had they made this arrangement, we would have a very solid 13-team basketball conference, only adding Memphis and Houston, two historically good programs.
It would have saved SDSU and Boise from having to find new conferences for other sports, and also saved the WAC from extinction
The C-USA-MWC alliance fell apart because they wouldn't be able to recoup fees from departing members in any new conference. That wouldn't be the case with the Big East, because the MWC would keep Boise St and San Diego St, and the TCU fees would be recouped because they left for this season.
Back when Mike Tranghese was commish, he showed leadership by contacting C-USA to make an amicable and stable transition benefiting both CUSA and the Big East, and college sports. Had Marinatto showed the same leadership, we would avoid the tumultuous next few years in the Big East