This Big East Conference is hard at work at becoming much more relevant where it matters most — in football.

ESPN is reporting that Brigham Young (BYU) is giving serious consideration to becoming a football-only member, bringing with it some serious respect and a built-in national following of fans second only to Notre Dame.

Boise State and Houston, currently ranked 10th and 11th nationally in the most recent BCS standings, are reportedly close to accepting invitations as well. Boise State would be football only, Houston for all sports.

The longer this conference realignment takes, the better the situation looks for the University of Louisville, which desperately needs the Big East Conference to retain its automatic qualifier status until 2014 and beyond. Adding BYU, Boise State and Houston would almost guarantee that while making the Big East stronger than it is now.

Other new members being mentioned have included Air Force and Navy in football, and UCF and SMU in all sports — all of them with strong commitments to their football programs. BYU would be a good replacement for Air Force, which is said to have been wavering of late.

Concerned about basketball? Don’t be. The Big East will continue to be a major basketball power, with the likes of Louisville, UConn, Marquette, Villanova, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, St. John’s, and Georgetown.

There may be advantages to shedding Syracuse, Pittsburgh and West Virginia from night in and night out grind of Big East basketball as well. But the football schedule is about to become even more challenging.

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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.