DALLAS - SEPTEMBER 24: Wide receiver Aldrick Robinson #24 of the SMU Mustangs is tackled by Greg McCoy #7 of the TCU Horned Frogs at Gerald J. Ford Stadium on September 24 2010 in Dallas Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Conference Realignment: Big East Expected To Invite SMU On Monday, According To Reports

Conference USA and the Mountain West decided to form a football-only alliance consisting of 22 teams, but SMU may not be long for C-USA if they get an invite to the Big East.

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Conference Realignment: SMU Could Be Part Of 32-Team Superconference

In the latest twist in the conference realignment derby, the Boston Globe got its hands on a document outlining an audacious strategy for the Big East to keep its AQ berth in the BCS, even after hemorrhaging most of its traditional football programs.

Despite upping its exit fee to $10 million and extending three football only offers (Boise State, Navy, Air Force) and three all-sport offers (SMU, Houston and Central Florida) in the last few weeks, the Big East is still in perilous shape. Many within the conference believe the Big 12 will poach West Virginia to replace Missouri, who are rumored to be headed to the SEC.

The newest plan would divide the conference into four divisions: West, Mountain, Central and Big East. 

SMU would be in the Mountain Division, along with fellow C-USA members Tulsa, UTEP and Houston as well as Mountain West members Air Force, Wyoming, Colorado State and New Mexico.

Each division would have a round-robin schedule between its eight teams, with the winners of the four divisions playing each other in a two-week tournament to earn the league's BCS berth. 

As of now, this fairly radical change is still on the drawing boards, but it does indicate how far the Big East is willing to go to keep its AQ berth in the BCS.

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Conference Realignment: Big East Reportedly Plans To Up Exit Fee To $10 Million

In a move designed to re-assure potential expansion targets like SMU and protect themselves after the ACC helped themselves to Pittsburgh and Syracuse, the Big East is planning on doubling its exit fee to leave the league to at least $10 million.

It's a necessary step if the conference has any chance of remaining stable enough to keep its AQ berth when the next BCS contract is negotiated in 2013, as several of its schools are reportedly still being targeted by other conferences. 

The SEC is unlikely to stay at 13 teams long-term, and they have been linked closely to Big East member West Virginia as well as Missouri. Strangely, a Tigers' departure might be worse for the Big East, because that would likely prompt the Big 12 to expand from nine teams back to 12, instead of sticking with 10 if Missouri stays.

Two of their main targets in that scenario would be Louisville and West Virginia, and their departure would leave the Big East with only four football-playing schools: UConn, Cincinnati, South Florida and Rutgers. And with Connecticut still angling to get a bid into the ACC, at that point, the Big East might not be more appealing to schools like SMU and Boise State than their current arrangement in the newly created merger between Conference USA and the Mountain West.

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Conference Realignment: Texas Vs. Texas A&M First Major Casualty

Texas and Texas A&M won't see each other again on a football field after this Thanksgiving until sometime after 2018. With the Aggies leaving for the Southeastern Conference in 2012 and the Longhorns' administration stating they're full-up on non-conference opponents for the next six seasons, a series that's been played uninterrupted since 1915 is the first major causality of conference realignment. 

Exactly who's to blame for the annulment will be the cause of great debate in the coming months and years: Who was more impertinent? Texas, for trying to lord above its other Big 12 members with a specialized revenue deal and television network, or A&M, who packed up and left a century of history and tradition seemingly just to spite the 'Horns? 

ESPN's David Ubben says there's plenty of blame, and it has to be shared by both schools:

Sorry, guys. This one must be shared. 

And drink it in, Lone Star State rivals, because it might be the last time you share anything for awhile, save a mutual disdain for one another. 

This may return at some point in the future. In time, I'm betting it does. But the loss of this heated, annual rivalry is the most disheartening consequence of any in recent college football realignment move. 

As much as fans were clamoring to see Wyoming and New Mexico come to Austin in 2012, I'm betting all sides would have understood if those contracts had to be broken to make room for the Aggies. Pay to get out of those contracts? No, Texas shouldn't have to because of the Aggies' choice, but I'm also betting Texas A&M might have been willing to chip in on the cost to keep the rivalry going. 

If nothing else, it would have forced A&M to quite literally put its money where its mouth is. 

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Conference Realignment: Big East Expected To Invite SMU, Others, According To A Report

After report after report that the Big East is expected to invite six schools on Monday to strengthen their football league and to keep the Big East's BCS bid. This report that the Big East is inviting teams is coming from the associated press:

Along with Boise State, which would be invited only to play football in the Big East, the league also wants to invite Air Force and Navy as football-only members and Conference USA members Central Florida, SMU and Houston to join in all sports.

The official, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the league wasn't announcing its plans publicly, said he is confident the league's members are ready to move forward with the plan.

Last night, SMU voted yes on an alliance between the Mountain West and Conference USA in a football-only partnership. The alliance was set up to create solidarity between the two leagues, but the assumption is that SMU will accept an invite to join the Big East if offered.

For more on Big East expansion head over to Big East Coast Bias.

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Conference Realignment: Conference USA, Mountain West Create Football-Only Alliance

Conference USA and the Mountain West decided to form a football-only alliance consisting of 22 teams.

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