What Big East Expansion Means for Temple and 'Nova UPDATED

What Big East Expansion Means for Temple and 'Nova UPDATED

It was only a few months ago that game-changing conference realignment updates flocked to social media outlets like the salmon of Capistrano. Then, as is wont to happen, days and weeks of near-constant chatter gave way to weeks and months of inactivity and apathy. It was a great story for a while, but readers and writers (myself included) beat it so badly to death that even meaningful updates were briefly greeted with a collective "meh."

Perhaps it was that break in the action—or attention paid—that injected just a little bit of excitement back into today's confirmation that the Big East will add five more schools to its conference membership, expanding its reach from coast to coast. Boise State and San Diego State will join as football-only members while UCF, Houston and SMU will join as all-sports members. With Rutgers, UCONN, Cincinnati, Louisville and USF still on board, the deal will raise the football-playing membership from its current eight teams to its eventual ten.

Though, as we've told you before, this story is by no means at its end, and won't be for some time. So, what are we to make of this deal's impact on the future prospects of Temple and Villanova?

Okay, so maybe this is why we got tired of the story. As much as it would be relief to finally have an answer one way or the other for even just one school or the other, the Big East is going to remain in a state of flux for months, if not years to come.

While this deal certainly plugs some holes and provides a really fantastically fascinating prospect for both lovers and haters of the BCS (see Boise State's annual snubs versus the uncertainty still surrounding the conference's AQ-status), today's news should be seen more as a step in the middle of the proceedings than a legitimate end to the road.

In the short term, the conference will continue its wooing of service academies Navy and Air Force, who appear, for whatever reasons, to be far more interested now than they were only two months ago. Should it land both, the conference will reach its previously stipulated goal of 12 football-playing members and the problem would, seemingly, be solved. End game, right?

Eh, not quite. Though the Big East—along with the Big 12—has been the focus of the realignment universe for the past few months, it's been so for all the wrong reasons. The Big East has been in the news not because teams are clambering to join in the hopes of creating a super conference a la the SEC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and ACC, but because its current members are leaving in the hopes of joining one of the preceding powerhouses. Today's announcement, though a short-term plus for the conference, doesn't do much in the way of assuaging its long-term concerns.

Moving right back to those super-conferences, the ACC has been previously rumored to have an interest in expanding to 16-teams. Syracuse and Pittsburgh are already leaving the Big East for the Atlantic Coast, which, by the way, is what started this chaotic mess in the first place. If the ACC really is looking to expand once more, it's nearly impossible to believe the Connecticut Huskies and Louisville Cardinals aren't on the list of prime candidates. Believe whatever you want about Calhoun not getting along with so and so and the claims of school presidents about being loyal to their conferences; just don't be caught off guard when the ACC comes calling down the line. As for the here and now, even Navy and Air Force aren't done deals that would settle the conference's short-term aspirations.


Update: Reports have surfaced that Air Force has declined interest in the Big East and will be staying put in the Mountain West. With Navy's agreement still probable—but not yet confirmed—the conference is now in search of at least one more school to reach it's goal of 12 football-playing members.

Though Big East officials will be looking for another Western program to ease the travel concerns of Boise, San Diego and Southern Methodist, UCONN basketball coach Jim Calhoun has joined Rick Pitino in lobbying publicly that an all-sports invitation be extended to Temple. Separately, Brian Ewart of VUHoops was able to secure a quote from conference commissioner John Marinatto that Villanova's potential as a football member will be revisited once the conference gets its "footing established."

Thus, we reiterate our position from last evening...


As for Temple and 'Nova—this is supposed to be about them, after all—well, there's there in. The conference landscape is far from settled and its not unreasonable to believe the Big East has further losses to contend with on the horizon. Is there any lock-solid evidence that says "these" schools are leaving and that "these" schools would step in to fill the gaps? No, not at all.

The point is that when something—anything—changes down the road, we could all be right back to square one. And, suddenly, Temple University and Villanova football are put back on the drawing board along with every other school who may be able to fill a need.

The Big East hasn't secured itself a long-term solution, it's just found some friends to party with in this weird, intermediary middling process.

Boise State, say hello South Florida. Rutgers, meet San Diego State. Everybody else, pour some punch, take a seat and enjoy K-Billy's Super Sounds of the 70s.

Watch: Future Phillie Mike Trout does E-A-G-L-E-S chant at Linc

Watch: Future Phillie Mike Trout does E-A-G-L-E-S chant at Linc

Future Philadelphia Phillie Mike Trout is a bigtime Eagles fan so it was no surprise to see him on the sideline of Sunday's game against Sam Bradford and the Minnesota Vikings. 

Trout, who is a Millville, NJ native, drops a #FlyEaglesFly on his Twitter account pretty much every Sunday when the Birds are playing.

But this Sunday found Trout at the Linc and he used the opportunity to really show his support.

CSNPhilly cameras captured Trout participating in the classic "E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES!" chant at the completion of the Eagles fight song after a score. Catch the video above.

Trout got his money's worth on Sunday as Carson Wentz and the boys pulled out the 21-10 victory over the previously undefeated Vikings.

Josh Huff's 98-yard kickoff return for a TD certainly helped.

Eagles 21, Vikings 10: Standout plays

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Eagles 21, Vikings 10: Standout plays

Reviewing the standout plays from the Eagles' 21-10 victory over the Vikings:

1. First quarter: Pick your turnover
There were six in the first half and five in the first quarter -- four coming on consecutive possessions in the first quarter.

Carson Wentz threw two interceptions. Brent Celek may have been interfered with on the first, but the second was all on Wentz. He dodged the rush and actually had some time, but forced it into triple coverage.

Sam Bradford had one. He was hit by Brandan Graham, and Rodney McLeod came down with the pick.

Wentz and Darren Sproles botched a snap, but the Eagles got the ball right back when Connor Barwin hit Bradford's arm just before it went forward and Malcolm Jenkins recovered. Jenkins returned it for a touchdown, but after a review he was ruled down because Rudolph had touched him.

In the second quarter, Rodney McLeod stripped Bradford, Beau Allen -- in for injured Bennie Logan -- recovered and it led to a field goal.

2. Second quarter: Josh Huff's 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown
After Blair Walsh scored the game's first points with a 48-yard field goal that barely made it over the crossbar, Huff caught the ensuing kickoff at the 2-yard line and bolted straight ahead. 

He ran through Walsh, and just when it looked like Vikings CB Marcus Sherels might catch him, Huff stepped on the gas and flipped into the end zone for his second career kickoff return for a score.

Doug Pederson then elected to take the successful PAT off the board after Vikings safety Harrison Smith was flagged for roughing the kicker, and Wentz gave the Eagles two more points with a sneak.

3. Second quarter: Going for it on 4th-and-2 at the Vikings' 44
With 1:21 left in the first half, the Eagles lined up to go for it and tried to draw the Vikings offside. When that didn't work, they called timeout ... and then went for it again. 

Wentz dropped the snap, picked it up and sprinted left for six yards and the first down.

The drive ended when Caleb Sturgis hit a 35-yard field goal that followed yet another odd sequence. Sturgis, with 15 seconds left in the half, attempted a field goal, but the Vikings called timeout to ice him. Pederson then sent out his offense, and Wentz threw incomplete to Jordan Matthews in the end zone before Sturgis returned to hit the field goal.

4. Third quarter: Mathews' 27-yard catch/run/hurdle
On 1st-and-10 at their own 45, Mathews took a short pass and sprinted 27 yards, ending it by hurdling a Vikings defender. It matched the game's longest play from scrimmage to that point (Vikings WR Adam Thielen had a 27-yard catch).

On the next play, Wentz dropped the snap but picked it up and tossed it to Sproles for a 19-yard gain to the Vikings' 9-yard line. The play resembled Sproles' 73-yard touchdown catch/run Week 3 against the Steelers.

After Wentz dropped yet another snap (his third of the game in addition to the botched handoff), he hit Dorial Green-Beckham, who barely crossed the goal line for the game's first offensive touchdown, a 5-yarder. 

5. Third quarter: Jordan Hicks bats ball in Bradford's face
This play didn't have a major overall impact but was just symbolic of how the Eagles' D besieged Bradford all afternoon. Hicks chased down Bradford and whacked the ball after Bradford tried to throw it away. 

The Eagles sacked Bradford six times, forced him to fumble four times and picked him off once. He completed 24 of 41 passes for 224 yards, a garbage-time TD, which helped boost his passer rating to 71.6.

6. Fourth quarter: Stopping Asiata on 4th-and-1 at the Eagles' 6-yard line
Matt Asiata's 29-yard run on 3rd-and-14 would have had this spot, but the drive ended when Allen and company stuffed Asiata here to get the Eagles the ball back.

7. Fourth quarter: Sherels' fumbled punt
The Eagles went nowhere in the following possession, and Donnie Jones got off a non-Donnie Jones-like punt that Sherels tried to catch on a bounce, didn't, and Trey Burton recovered it. 

The Eagles followed by driving 47 yards in nine plays for a 21-yard field goal that made it 21-3.