The latest round of realignment started with the PAC-10 offering to invite UT and many of its rivals to create a PAC-16. It ultimately didn't happen, but I liked the boldness of it. In college football realignment, it's poach or be poached. Already there are rumors of the Big East teams getting invites (like Pitt to the Big XII). Why is the Big East standing still when it can run the same play that the PAC-10 used during the offseason?
The Big East should approach Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri with invites. That would bring the conference from next year's nine to the even 14 (for non-football it would go from 13 to 18). In fact, it would be best if the Big East could secure eight football schools in the Central timezone and eight teams in the Eastern timezone. Being the first or second to have 14 or 16 teams will make it less likely other conferences would poach the Big East or it would make the defections hurt less. For instance, if the Big East added enough teams to get to 14, but then lost two or three they could still have 12 (the option of moving Villanova up gives them a lot of flexibility) and be a safe league. Staying at 9 and losing two or three could be very problematic for the continued survival of the league.
I'm not sure how likely those five teams are to leaving the Big XII, but it doesn't hurt to ask. The Big East will be renogiating it's next TV contract soon and currently has some big media markets it can deliver. Adding those five would raise the price even higher, but of course you're dividing more of the pie. That ultimately is why I'm not sure it's in Oklahoma's best interest. I know Missouri wants to leave, but I don't think they will choose the Big East without it's former Big 8 brethren.The best chance the Big East has of getting Missouri (and the St. Louis and Kansas City markets) is to act now before the other conferences try.
Still, it's worth a shot. An aggressive posturing about expanding could change the perception of the Big East as the target. This in turn could portray the Big East as a conference schools should want to join.
P.S. While I'm not a TCU alumni, I am a season ticket holder. My wife and many of our friends graduated, so I've become indoctrinated in the cult so to speak. I've lived in Fort Worth since I was 10 so rooting for Fort Worth's team is very natural for me.