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Report: Big East BCS AQ Status Solid Through 2015

According to a report by Tom Luicci in the New Jersey Star-Ledger and a similar report from Mark Blaudschun in the Boston Globe, the Big East's BCS automatic qualifying status as a football conference will be firm not through 2013, but through 2015. Blaudschun:

While the future configuration of the Big East football conference had been an ongoing debate since the announcement last month that Syracuse and Pittsburgh were leaving for the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big East's spot as a conference with an automatic bid is secure through at least the 2013 season and probably through the 2015 season.

""There's been a lot of talk about the Big East losing its bid,'' said one highly placed college official with knowledge of the BCS requirements."But as long as the conference exsists in football l the contract is iron clad for two years and there is also a two-year grace period (an NCAA rule) which extends it through the 2015 season. .

The BCS will soon begin discussions of a new contract which would start in the 2014 season. 

This would be a relief to the Big East and possibly the only thing the conference could use to lure possible expansion candidates. The only condition the Big East would have to meet for the grace period would be to have eight football playing members. Having BCS cover for the 2012, 2013, and 2014 seasons could possibly give the Big East a chance to get its house in order and bulk up its conference wide rankings for the evaluation that will come in 2014. Right now the Big East's champion has ranked well enough on average for to meet the BCS's standard. The problem is in the ranking of the conference in comparison to the other conferences, and in the number of teams that finish ranked in the final BCS poll. In order to get through the evaluation and retain its AQ status. 

What the Big East needs is to have more than one team pushing for the top ten, and then have some more of the current members or expansion candidates hovering anywhere from 15-25. If the Big East were to add Boise State as a football playing member, have West Virginia continue its improvement under Dana Holgorsen, and then get South Florida and perhaps Louisville, or any of the other members to also work their way into the poll, then the conference might have a chance to pass the new evaluation in 2014. Breaking into, and maintaining a place in the top 25, would be where potential expansion candidates like Central Florida, Houston, Temple, or SMU could help the most (in addition to the addition of Boise State at the top). 

Of course, none of this will happen should the conference simply melt under the loss of more teams. We won't know if that will happen until Missouri gets around to making its decision about staying in the Big XII or casting its lot with the SEC. Reports indicate that the decision could come last next week at the earliest.