After months of “will they or won’t they” closed door negotiations, the Big East announced Wednesday that Boise State, Houston, Southern Methodist, San Diego State and Central Florida will be joining the conference in 2013.

With the conference now stretching coast to coast, Big East Commissioner John Marinatto said the Big East will be the “first truly national college football conference.”

The conference’s expansion evolved out of desperation after Syracuse and Pittsburgh said they were leaving for the ACC while West Virginia announced its departure for the Big 12, leaving the conference with just five football-playing members.

Boise State and San Diego State will join the Big East only for football and will remain in the Mountain West for all other sports. Houston, SMU and UCF are leaving Conference USA and joining the Big East in all sports. The moves will take the Big East up to 18 teams total and 10 that play football.

The conference has already stated its goal to get to 12 teams in football, and negotiations are reportedly ongoing with Air Force and Navy. The Big East only holds a BCS automatic invite through 2013, and the conference hopes that the addition of Boise State and a potential conference championship game will allow them to maintain enough football credibility to keep that invite.

Still up in the air, however, is what the Big East will look like next season. West Virginia officials are suing to be let out of their Big East contract so the Mountaineers can join the Big 12 next year. However, the Big East has said it intends to hold West Virginia to the 27-month notice period required by the contract.

[The Star-Ledger]

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