Then West Virginia announced late last month that it was ditching the Big East for the Big 12, leaving the Big East with five long-term football members and opening another spot. Adding BYU then became a priority.
Now that BYU is off the table, the Big East will move on to other schools.
Temple, which plays in the Mid-American Conference and was once in the Big East, has been trying to get back in. East Carolina, another C-USA school, publicly announced it had applied for membership last month, and C-USA rival Memphis has also been pushed by some in the Big East for its excellent basketball program, most notably Louisville coach Rick Pitino.
But Boise State, which is nearly 1,900 miles away from the closest current Big East member _ Louisville _ would prefer the Big East bulk up its new western division.
Provo is 382 miles from Boise, Idaho.
CBSSports.com reported Tuesday that San Diego State of the Mountain West is the Big East’s next western target.
The Big East has been trying to convince potential members that joining will lead to more television revenue, greater television exposure and access to an automatic BCS bid.
The Big East is one of six conferences with automatic qualifying status in the Bowl Championship Series through the 2013 season. But beyond that, there is no guarantee the conference will have an automatic BCS bid.
Even if the Big East can complete its expansion plans and bring in seven new schools, the new-look league might not debut until 2013. There are stumbling blocks that could prevent most of the potential new members from joining next year.
Marinatto has been adamant about making Syracuse, Pittsburgh and West Virginia honor the Big East’s 27-month notification period, which would keep those schools in the league until 2014.
West Virginia has sued the Big East in its effort to join the Big 12 by next football season. The Big East filed its own lawsuit to force West Virginia to stay.