The Big East made it official Tuesday that the conference will adopt East and West divisions of six teams each in football beginning with the 2013 season and a conference championship game was formally approved at league meetings in Chicago.
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, which had been rumored to be the case.
Connecticut will play in the East Division along with UCF, Cincinnati, Louisville, Rutgers and USF. The West Division will be comprised of Boise State, Houston, Memphis, San Diego State, SMU and Temple.
“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,”l Aresco said in a statement.
“This unique combination of nationwide scope and regional flavor reflects our commitment to innovation in response to the changing landscape in college football. 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.”
According to a Big East release, in this new structure, 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.
Aresco noted that the new alignment will likely be revisited after the 2014 season, when the U.S. Naval Academy and possibly other schools begin play in the Big East.