Last fall, it seemed like Big East football was just a trustees-vote away for Villanova, but after facing some push-back from football members of the Big East in April, things changed. Now, the Big East has been reportedly making overtures to various members of the Big XII conference and it would appear that Villanova football is on the back-burner.
Mike Jensen tweeted yesterday, "Current odds of Villanova going to Big East football: 29 percent."
The Philadephia Inquirer journalist left it at that, he didn't tweet what he based those odds on, if they were based on information he heard directly or on rumors floating around. He followed by setting the odds for Temple at 7%.
The Big East members were set to add Iowa State, Missouri, Kansas and Kansas State last summer, when the Big XII was on life-support following the departures of Nebraska and Colorado. The conference survived, however, with 10 members until recently, when Texas A&M decided that the Longhorn Network — a 24-hour all UT cable television network operated by ESPN — was something it just couldn't live with. The Aggies withdrew from the Big XII and are now planning to join the SEC in 2012.
That move has Oklahoma looking to join the Pac-12 conference and to bring Oklahoma State with them, creating a situation where Texas and Texas Tech could get nervous about trying to rebuild the conference and go elsewhere, leaving the rest of the conference to find new homes.
Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas State, Kansas and Missouri would be left, and Missouri would reportedly be an interesting addition for the SEC to balance their membership at 14.
Since April the Big East has been connected with any number of schools not named Villanova, and if they were to add some combination of three Big XII leftovers, it would be a move to exclude Villanova from the Big East football conference; a move that would no-doubt force Villanova athletics to downgrade in status in the somewhat-likely event that a 20-member basketball conference were to cause a league split.
Without a I-A football program or an obvious alternative means of upgrading to that level, Villanova's athletics could be ultimately "starved" to death if it were to land outside the high-revenue and high-exposure world of a power-conference.
Then again, there is no guarantee that the Big East won't ultimately accept Villanova football and 29% odds as set by Mr. Jensen are probably better than the odds for a lot of Big East candidates. There is also no guarantee that a 20-team Big East couldn't work — nobody thought that a 16-team conference would have worked.
There are thousands of different possibilities for what could occur. Some good for Villanova, and others bad. If the Big East adds Kansas and Missouri in the wake of a Big XII collapse, even without a football invite for Villanova, the basketball conference would become that much stronger, for example.
As with the rest of college sports outside of the Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC, Villanova's conference future is currently very-much in-question. The Big East is an option for as long as the Big East exists and maintains the hybrid model, but how does the administration feel about that option? How do you feel about that option? Do Villanova fans still believe in the Big East?
I prepared a short survey for our readers to voice their opinions on conference realignment issues. Vote in the following polls and then expand on your opinion in the comments.