ON THE TOPIC of Villanova and Big East football expansion, WVU athletic director Oliver Luck is like many of us.
Not completely sold on the idea of the Wildcats joining. Not completely against the idea.
"It's an attractive option," he said Tuesday. "Is it the best option available? I don't know."
Luck, of course, has only been at the WVU helm a couple of months. He said he wasn't asked to vote on the decision by the league to again extend an offer to the Wildcats. Maybe that's because this has been in the works for a while.
"We've talked about this with Villanova for over 13 years," Big East commissioner John Marinatto said Tuesday. "I think since we first started, when Connecticut joined, [Villanova has] seen the opportunity. They're now looking at it in a much stronger light."
The idea is to land eight annual conference games - four at home, four on the road - for Big East schools. As it stands, some teams have four home games, while others have three.
Notre Dame was and is the prize invitee. The Fighting Irish, however, have never shown interest. After that, names like East Carolina and Memphis have been thrown around. I personally like the idea of Memphis. It has that southern name football fans seem to so love. But when I did a little research, I found Memphis has but the No. 50 national TV market.
On the other hand, Philadelphia has the nation's No. 4 TV market, and Philly is where Villanova sits.
So slam dunk, right? The Wildcats are already in the Big East in basketball and other sports. The bursting-at-the-seams basketball league wouldn't have to expand. Easy, right?
"[Adding Villanova] is certainly interesting on a couple layers," Luck said. "Philly is a big market. But it's like Boston. For years it's been a pro sports town. And if any [college team] has that market, it's Penn State."
Exactly. In Philly, it's the Eagles. It's the 76ers. It's the Phillies. It's the Flyers. It's Penn State.
Breaking through that logjam is nearly impossible. Keep in mind the Big East once had a team - Temple - in that market and booted it out. Heck, the Wildcats don't even have a place to play that would satisfy FBS standards. Villanova Stadium holds 12,000. It can't really expand.
Perhaps the most logical landing spot for the team would be the 18,500 BPL Park near Chester, Pa. And, just in case you're not an MLS fan, that's a soccer stadium for the Philadelphia Union.
Among the other spots being discussed is Franklin Field. That, however, is just so Temple. Something the Big East and Villanova must do if they proceed is distance themselves from Temple comparisons.
What Villanova has going for it, however, is wealth. It's where the rich, preppy kids from the surrounding areas flock. They've paid for a program that won an FCS title last year and just reclaimed the top spot in the (are you ready for this?) Sports Network/Fathead.com FCS Top 25 poll.
The Wildcats are coming off Saturday's "impressive'' 35-0 win at Lehigh. The gut punch: They fell to No. 2 for a week after losing to Temple 31-24.
So the school and Big East would have to do some serious branding around Philly if this is to move forward. The school would also have to reach into those deep pockets.
There's the stadium issue. Facilities like weight rooms would have to be upgraded. The school would have to move from 63 scholarships to 85. Because of Title IX, it would have to increase scholarships in women's sports. The list goes on and on.
"Villanova is a good FCS team," Luck said. "The flip side is it's a relatively small school. It's been in the Big East, so, in that sense, it's one of us.
"But the people there would have to make a serious financial commitment. We're one of the few schools in the country that made money last year.