By Gary Parrish
The next move in the ongoing game of conference realignment has been made.
And the Big 12 made it.
Which is why the Big 12 seems poised to survive in this eat-or-be-eaten world of college athletics while the Big East continues to get picked apart by anybody and everybody. Pittsburgh and Syracuse announced last month that they're leaving for the ACC; that took the Big East down to seven football-playing schools. Now TCU, according to my colleague Brett McMurphy, is headed to the Big 12 and leaving the Big East with just six football-playing schools ... at least one of which (Connecticut) has made it clear it would like to find a new home, too. Meantime, the Big East has done nothing of note. The league is just sitting there taking punches to the face, one after another, and, consequently, sooner or later, it'll be down for the count and in no position to adequately recover.
The possible additions of Army and Navy won't fix the Big East's problems.
At this point, I can't imagine anything really will.
What the Big East should've done is tried to take advantage of the Big 12's turmoil last month and offered invitations to any Midwest school willing to leave the Texas-Oklahoma fight behind. It might not have worked, obviously. But if we've learned anything over the past few years it's that one way to strengthen yourself is to damage the competition, and that's something the ACC highlighted when it targeted Pittsburgh and Syracuse. The Big 12, under new leadership, also understands this approach. But the Big East never has and apparently never will. So it can add Army and Navy if it wants, and perhaps East Carolina, Temple, UCF and SMU, too. But the decision to be reactive rather than proactive has put the Big East in a nearly impossible situation, and, truth be told, the storied league has only itself to blame.