BYU's entrance into the Big East may be imminent

On Tuesday night, ESPN's Joe Schad reported that BYU was in negotiations to join the ever-changing Big East as a football-only member.

With the league losing West Virginia and TCU to the Big 12 as well as Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the ACC — no matter the timetable of the moves — league commissioner John Marinatto has been in crisis mode as he attempts to replenish his league with viable new members.

Houston, Central Florida and Southern Methodist are reportedly already set to join the Big East, but Air Force and Boise State are in a holding pattern as they see how the western portion of the conference would be structured. And BYU is seemingly a big part of that equation.

The Falcons and Broncos could soon be getting some clarity on the Cougars' plans, as Jay Drew of the Salt Lake Tribune writes that Bronco Mendenhall's Cougars could be leaving their independence behind and joining the Big East as a football-only member possibly within the next day or two. Boise State, then, would make its intentions of joining the league known with a solid western partner on board.

Earlier this month, Mendenhall noted that change could be on the horizon for his program, which is in its first year as a football independent.

"With the landscape changing, the main benefit I can see on a short-term scale would be inclusion to the BCS system," Mendenhall said. "That is up in two years, and whether the Big East can hold that spot with the new teams going in, my guess would be yes. I can't speak as to what we are going to do other than just to verify we have been approached."

Mendenhall also said just last week that BYU and Boise State should be in the same league in the future as geographic "natural rivals."

The only issue that potentially complicates matters for BYU is its television contracts, which is seemingly always the case for any team on the move in the conference realignment arms race.

Meanwhile, Air Force is reportedly still weighing its decision, which would affect the direction of Navy, which is also being wooed by Marinatto.

It is unclear when any of these expected moves would officially take place in terms of league play — whether it is next year, in 2013, or possibly even 2014.

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