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It was the ACC, which has an agreement to send its champion or another highly rated team to the Orange Bowl in the new postseason system.

Both the Big East and ACC have two teams ranked in the latest AP Top 25, though future Big East member Boise State is also in the rankings. The Big East’s record against nonconference opponents from the FBS is 14-10 this season. The ACC’s is 13-14.

But the Big East is in transition, and it is unclear how its latest incarnation will play out.

Pitt and Syracuse are leaving for the ACC. Boise State and San Diego State will become football only members in the Big East next season. Memphis, Houston, Central Florida and SMU will join in all sports.

The new Big East will span all four time zones, and the quality of its football members could be at the very least on par with what it has been in recent years, before West Virginia left for ther Big 12.

Its long-term viability, however, is uncertain. The Big East has been negotiating with ESPN on a new TV deal, but if a deal is not struck by the end of the month, the conference will be free to negotiate with other networks.

“We’ve had several networks express interest in Big East product,” Aresco said. “I can’t speculate on what will happen in the next week or so.”

The conference is hoping to land a long-term contract that will at least be in the ballpark of the multibillion dollar deals the other power conferences have signed in recent years. The ACC’s new deal with the ESPN will allow the conference to pay its members about $17 million per year.

Aresco said the Big East also hopes to present a football divisional alignment to its members for approval next month. “We’re leaning, more or less, toward an east-west structure,” he said. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be entirely east-west. We clearly want the western teams to be playing together.”

Notre Dame, which competes in the Big East for everything but football and hockey, is also set to join the ACC. The school would like to move next year, but Big East bylaws require it wait until 2015.

Aresco and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbick have had preliminary discussion about a deal to let the Fighting Irish go early.

Aresco said the Big East would be interested in guaranteeing future football games for its members against Notre Dame if the Irish have room on their future schedules with five slots already taken by ACC schools.

“That’s something we would certainly consider,” Aresco said. “If Jack wanted to explore it we would certainly explore it. I don’t know how much flexibility they have.”


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