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College Conference Realignment: With Shaky Big East, SMU May Be Looking For New Home Soon

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

I don't think Newton was talking about college sports, but he might as well have been. With rumors swirling around the future of the ACC and Big 12, thanks to Florida State and the Big 12 appearing to share mutual interest, the Big East may soon have to worry about losing more schools to other conferences. Last year, the Big East lost Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the ACC, as well as West Virginia and TCU to the Big 12 -- before TCU had ever participated in any Big East event.

It's now safe to wonder if SMU will be looking for a new conference home sooner rather than later.

Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated wrote about the potential challenges that the Big East faces going forward.

When the BCS was created prior to the 1998 season, there were six major conferences. Now, there are four: the Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC. The ACC is No. 5, and the Big East is No. 6. If the Big 12 chooses to expand and a school climbs uphill from the ACC, the resulting shuffle will harm the Big East. With the exception of non-football member Notre Dame, everyone in the Big East is at the mercy of some other league. That makes it quite difficult to plan for the future.

"All we can do is take what we have," South Florida football coach Skip Holtz said. "We don't have the luxury to project five years down the road and make our decisions predicated on that. We're making our decisions on where we are today."

Staples notes the geographical absurdity of the Big East, which does nothing but promote uncertainty. After expanding last year, the Big East is now slated to have San Diego State, Boise State, SMU, and Connecticut share a conference. That's not exactly laying the foundations of a secure collegiate conference.

Still, all the Big East, and SMU, can do is wait. Wait until Florida State and the Big 12 either make it official in time, or break off their flirtation later in the summer. Suffice to say, if the Seminoles bolt, another major shift in college conferences is coming -- and the clock might finally strike midnight on the Big East as we know it as a consequence.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.