That noise you hear is a combination of a sigh of relief in Providence, R.I., and maybe a muffled grumble in some corners of the conference.
The Big Ten+2 will remain the Big Ten+2, per a rather anticlimatic statement out of the conference’s winter meetings.
As far as the Big East office is concerned, this is a relief. Not a major relief, I don’t think, because the Big East wasn’t freaking out about expansion issues. It’s still a relief to some degree because there now exists a sense of finality that was not certain before today. Remember when the Big XII was salvaged in June as key schools chose to stay put? The Big East wasn’t necessarily off the hook and knew a pendulum was still suspended above. WVU A.D. Oliver Luck called it a “truce in this whole skirmish.”
”I think I’ve said this before, but I don’t think it’ll be a permanent situation. I think the Big Ten is still interested in further moves.
“I’m not sure why they don’t feel comfortable now with 12 teams (after adding Nebraska), but as far as I can tell – and I ask this sincerely to you – but they have not made a statement to say, ‘We’re done now. We’re not going to cast a wandering eye south or east,’ have they?
“I’ve not seen them swear off further expansion. I think everyone can take a deep breath and say, ‘Wow, we got out of that little skirmish OK and without too much wear and tear,’ but I don’t believe it to be permanent.”
The Big Ten+1+Nebraska has now says it’s done and won’t cast a wandering eye. If you choose to believe that, it preserves the Big East with Pitt and Rutgers and Syracuse or whoever was suspected to be heading to that other conference. If nothing else, it can take away skepticism that might be possessed by, say, UCF or Houston or Villanova.
So, what of this news? What prompted it? Why stop at 12 when 14 or 16 seemed so attractive once? What happens next?