The long time runt of the BCS conferences, the Big East, is contemplating continuing their expansion after agreeing to add TCU for the 2012 football season.

The Big "Least" has long been on the low rung of BCS hierarchy. Most college football fans put the Big East on par with the MWC rather than the Big 12 and SEC. However, the Big East may be looking to change that public perception.

The Big East has added reigning Rose Bowl Champion TCU to their now 9 team football conference, but there are talks that they may want more.

The Big East now has 9 members who play football and 17 who play basketball. The Big East is clearly a basketball powerhouse, but it's football that generates money for schools. This is where the problem lies, the schools who want to add another respectable football program have to also appease the current schools who only play basketball.

Stephen Dunn, Getty Images

TCU was added purely for football. They were added to try and regain some of the Big East's respectability in football and to try and solidify their position as a deserving recipient of a automatic BCS bowl bid.  We expect TCU to become immediately competitive in football in the Big East but most don't expect them to win a conference basketball game in the next 5 years. Now, the basketball schools desire a team more balanced with football.

That leaves very few options to make all the schools happy. With the imminent downfall of the Big 12, Kansas and Kansas State look to be the favorites. However, in the unlikely event the Big 12 has any longevity many are hoping for purely basketball member Villanova to upgrade from the FCS and become a competitor in football. Many, also, have a pipe dream Notre Dame will start playing football, as they already play basketball in the Big East. UCF and Houston are also being eyed for expansion. Both schools would give the Big East a presence in a pair of major media markets, Houston and Orlando.

The Big East is reviewing their options for deals with ESPN, NBC and Fox to air their football games. If the Big East hopes to come close to the Pac-12's 3 year $3 Billion deal with ESPN and Fox they need to bolster their slacking football programs.

Big East Commissioner John Marinatto had this to say:

"We now have a golden opportunity to secure our long-term security. We can again achieve equity with the other major conferences. ... We can't make a mistake this time." -AP


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