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November 13, 2012
Big East decides on two six-team divisions
After meetings in Chicago among all current and future member schools, the Big East Conference has charted a course for football divisions starting in 2013.
Big East commissioner Mike Aresco announced new East and West divisions of six teams each with a new Big East Championship Game.
"This new alignment gives the Conference and its fans the best of both worlds - national exposure that is a result of the Big East being in six of the top 10 U.S. media markets - with a schedule that focuses on spirited regional rivalries," said Aresco.
The Big East Football Championship Game will be played between the East and West champions at the home field of one of the participating teams, not at a neutral site, promising an exciting fan experience.
"This unique combination of nationwide scope and regional flavor reflects our commitment to innovation in response to the changing landscape in college football," Aresco said, "while honoring a tradition of success on the field and in the classroom."
Aresco continued: "Combined with the extension through 2026 of our historic relationship with Madison Square Garden for the Big East Basketball Championship, the new Big East Football Championship Game will provide two signature events of national significance in college sports."
The East Division will consist of five current members with one addition: Louisville, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Rutgers, USF and UCF.
The West Division will consist of one current member and five new members: Temple, Boise State, San Diego State, Houston, Memphis and SMU.
Aresco noted that this alignment will likely be revisited after the 2014 season, when the U.S. Naval Academy and possibly other schools are added to the league.
Per the Big East press release: Each team will play eight conference games per season, of which five will be against divisional rivals. The home and away opponents for each school will be announced after the Big East athletic directors' annual meeting in New York on Dec. 3.