As West Virginia and the Big East move closer to a settlement that will allow the Mountaineers to leave the conference for the Big 12 this summer, the rest of the Big East is bracing for the scheduling headache that will follow.
To compensate for the scheduling hole left by WVU, according to the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger reports, other Big East rivals may be forced to double up: Already, Rutgers and Syracuse are seriously discussing playing twice this fall, with the first game at Rutgers and the second at an as-yet undetermined location. (Both Yankee Stadium and the Carrier Dome in Syracuse are being considered as potential sites.) As of right now, only the first game would count toward the Big East standings.
It also leaves plenty of ambiguity about the rest of the league, but if the situation forces all Big East rivals to double up against a specific opponent, then Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville, Pittsburgh and South Florida would be in the same boat. USF could possibly schedule a game against Florida State, since West Virginia just canceled its Sept. 8 trip to Tallahassee and the Seminoles are looking for a replacement.
To address that problem, West Virginia has reportedly reached out to Boise State to see if the Broncos could come to the Big East a year early, though BSU president Bob Kustra has already ruled out an early move on such short notice. Boise State still plans to defect from the Mountain West to the Big East in 2013, along with Central Florida, Houston, Memphis, San Diego State and SMU. Navy is scheduled to join the conference in 2015.
Unfortunately, this isn't the only scheduling issue. Four Big East teams — Cincinnati, Pitt, Rutgers and Syracuse - still need a fifth non-conference game for 2012. The Star-Ledger reported that Rutgers is nearing a deal with Arkansas. The other schools could also go the FCS route, but having two on the schedule means they'll be required to win seven games for bowl eligibility instead of the usual six.
- - -
Graham Watson is on Facebook and Twitter: Follow her @Yahoo_Graham