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The Big XII East: An Alternate History

Six former Big East teams nearly ended up in the same conference as Baylor and Kansas.

Brandon Wade

Jason Kirk notes on the main site that ESPN's Brett McMurphy discovered an interesting nugget when talking with West Virginia's AD:

Luck's plan, which also had the support of Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich, was also to add UCF for a 12-team Big East divided into two divisions: West: Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, TCU and Louisville; East: UConn, Cincinnati, Rutgers, West Virginia, South Florida and UCF.

"I remember thinking: 'That's not a bad conference,'" Luck said. "And we would have kept the affiliation with the (Big East) basketball schools, because they loved the addition of Kansas. They (the Big 12 schools) also liked it. They were nervous as hell, too. We had a series of phone calls. That was sort of our best option."

The plan, which would have occurred in 2011 after Texas and Oklahoma nearly jumped ship, would have taken a couple big time basketball programs out of the Big East before the conference's ultimate break-up.

How would that look today?

2013-14 KenPom Ratings-

  • Louisville- 1st
  • UConn- 8th
  • Kansas- 12th
  • Iowa State- 21st
  • Cincinnati- 23rd
  • Baylor- 25th
  • Kansas State- 43rd
  • West Virginia- 68th
  • UCF- 164th
  • Rutgers- 166th
  • USF- 186th
  • TCU- 234th
6 Top 25 teams with Louisville, UConn, and Kansas fighting for the top spot every year. Very interesting...