According to the New York Times two of the cornerstone members of the Big East, Pitt and Syracuse, are engaged in talks to join the ACC. Although this would likely go against former Frog (and Pitt basketball coach) Jamie Dixon's will- as Dixon was instrumental in securing TCU's Big East bid in the first place- finding a stable place for Pitt athletics in the superconference era appears to be overriding AD Steve Pederson's desire to please his all-star coach. If this move happens in conjunction with a West Virginia defection to the SEC most people would immediately close the book on the Big East football futures- the Big 12 has clearly illustrated the instability that comes with losing two of your foundation members. However, even with losing Pitt and Syracuse (who have been to a total of 1 BCS game between them since 1999) I wouldn't write off the Big East- and as an extension TCU's BCS conference dreams just yet.
The Big East has proven resilient in the past, absorbing the defection of three key members on the football side by quickly snapping up several eastern CUSA team to restock the ranks- which drew the ire of we Froggy folk when Louisville and USF got in while we did not. Nothing happens in a vacuum, and the fate of the Pac-14/16 will play in heavily to TCU's fate at this point. That said the fate of Texas will heavily influence just what is to come of the other conferences, and may well ultimately decide our Froggy fate as well. Texas is the lynchpin to the Pac 12 expanding to 16- there simply aren't two more targets in the western half of the nation who make sense for the Pac after 0U and Okie State, and Tech's non-tier I status means that Stanford and Cal won't swallow the Lubbockites without the big fish that is the Longhorn athletic department in tow. If Texas goes to the ACC, Tech probably gets in as well and with Syracuse and Pitt that fills up the ACC. Here's where it gets interesting. Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State* are homeless, so making a quick grab for these big state run universities will be key for the Big East's survival. Those three will take the Big East to ten teams, but to get to 16 we're likely talking about another CUSA- possibly MWC raid. Houston, Central Florida, East Carolina, Southern Miss, Boise State and BYU get the call in this instance. Given that this number of teams in addition to the current basketball members would be untenable, at this point you would probably see the football members break off from the basketball members, forming a new conference that could claim a spot in the BCS/Playoff that will likely result in the end from this conference realignment madness. The divisions would could break down like this:
North: Cincinnatti, Rutgers, West Virginia, Boise State, Connecticut, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State
South: TCU, BYU, East Carolina, South Florida, Central Florida, Houston, Southern Miss and Louisville.
Ideal? No, but survival is rarely pretty. All we need is a new conference name: The Big Leftovers?
*For the purposes of this discussion, I'll say Mizzou is the SEC's 14th team. If it's West Virginia instead, then you can replace them with Mizzou for the purposes of this discussion