The Big East is contemplating major changes, and Temple and Villanova's roles in the developments are currently murky. West Virginia could be jumping to the Big 12 to replace Missouri, leaving the Big East with more big shoes to fill after previous departure plans from Syracuse and Pittsburgh. The Big East is down to five FBS teams and will have to scramble to maintain automatic qualification (AQ) status in the BCS.
That leaves Temple, which would like to be admitted to the conference for both football and basketball, in a tenuous position. The Big East is contemplating a merger of three existing conferences into a 28- or 32-team league. Temple was listed in the plans for a 32-team league, but would not be included during the latest 28-team proposal.
If the Big East does form a mega-conference, the Philadelphia Inquirer wonders whether Temple's athletic future could hinge on its inclusion.
If it comes to that, Temple needs to be in that league, if the action breaks toward the three-league football merger. It's crucial for the school's long-term athletic survival, especially in football. We'd also guess that the larger league, with different voting blocs, would realize Temple has too strong a hoops program, has come too far in football, is in too large a market, to be left in the cold.
Villanova has reportedly tried to block Temple's admittance into the league, but the Inquirer reported Wednesday that Villanova would allow Temple into the league if it was pivotal to the league's existence.
The Inquirer also reports that Villanova would like to join the Big East for football "if if there is enough value in the future Big East television contract," but the leaked conference proposals do not include Villanova football.
-- For more on Big East expansion check out our full storystream and get reaction from the Villanova side at The Nova Blog.