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Big East, Boise State unsure on union

Associated Press / October 14, 2011

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The Big East is considering adding Boise State football to help bolster the conference’s chances of retaining its BCS automatic bid, though both sides still need to be persuaded that it’s the right move.

A college football official, who spoke yesterday to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the Big East’s plans, said some Big East presidents are resisting adding Boise State and the school itself has reservations about joining a conference in flux.

The Big East said earlier this week it would like to expand to 12 football schools and split into two divisions, which would allow the league to play a championship.

The official said that some Big East leaders believe the priority in expansion should be bringing in programs that will ensure the Big East remains an automatic qualifying BCS conference when the current Bowl Championship Series television and bowl contracts run out after the 2013 season.

Boise State could be just what the Big East needs. The Broncos have had one of the winningest programs in college football recently, going 71-5 since 2006.

The BCS has a formula for evaluating the strength of a conference that takes into account the final BCS rankings of each team in a league. Even if Boise State joined the Big East next season, its final BCS ranking of 10th while playing in the Western Athletic Conference last year, and its ranking this season while playing in the Mountain West Conference, would count toward the Big East’s ledger when it is reviewed after the 2013 season.

Boise State is 5-0 and ranked fifth heading into this weekend’s game at Colorado State.

Losing its automatic BCS bid could cost the reeling Big East millions of dollars in revenue.

Navy and Air Force also have been targeted as football-only members, and the Big East is considering Temple from the Mid-American Conference and Central Florida and East Carolina from Conference USA as members in all sports.

Ole Miss sits four

Mississippi will face No. 2 Alabama tomorrow without four offensive players. Starting running back Brandon Bolden, center A.J. Hawkins, guard Alex Washington, and wide receiver/return specialist Philander Moore were suspended one game for “breaking team rules,’’ according to Rebels coach Houston Nutt . . . Virginia Tech starting outside linebacker Jeron Gouviea-Winslow will miss the remainder of the season with a sprained left foot . . . The North Carolina Secretary of State’s office wants a court to force the NCAA to turn over documents from its investigation of UNC’s football program to see if the state’s sports agent laws were broken. The investigation cost former athletic director Dick Baddour his job. Tulsa AD Bubba Cunningham is expected to be hired soon, a source familiar with the situation told the AP.