The Big East, with wise forward thinking, is looking toward a football upgrade in 2012-13 when TCU joins the league.
The soon-to-be 17-team conference also has designs on a financial enhancement in its television contract, which runs out with the 2012-13 basketball and 2013 football seasons.
Yes, 2013 - the Year of the Snake in Chinese - should be a pivotal one for the Big East, but for reasons other than the aforementioned.
Before the conference goes through the give-and-take of telecast negotiations for a hybrid, 17- or 18-team conference (with another possible addition for a 10th football school), the pigskin players should consider something similar to a proposal before the West Virginia Legislature.
There, rookie Del. Larry Kump (R-Berkeley) has introduced House Bill 2698 to allow Eastern Panhandle voters to consider whether they want to change the state geography by returning to their roots - Virginia.
Yes, that's secession ... and it has a much better chance of happening in the Big East than in our Eastern Panhandle.
When he spoke to the Rotary Club of Charleston in mid-December, first-year WVU Athletic Director Oliver Luck talked about the Big East and its "obvious divide" between the football and non-football schools, saying it was "challenging to deal with all of the diverging viewpoints."
In football expansion, with one more team expected soon to join TCU and the incumbent eight, Luck said the football schools "are concerned not only about the quantity of teams, but also the quality."
So it should be, and if the football group would break away from the Big East, those schools' revenue would increase significantly because they'd not only be sharing with fewer partners, but they'd also have plenty of hoops legs to stand on even without some of the longtime dribblers.
Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville, Pitt, Syracuse and WVU (all with RPIs of 37 or better on Wednesday) have the makings of a pretty powerful basketball bunch. That leaves Rutgers, USF and TCU and whomever the footballers bring in as a 10th member. Villanova adds significant value in basketball, but not football.
However, as long as the deep Providence roots are running the Big East as they have for more than three decades, the conference isn't going to fracture on its own - nor is football ever going to get out from under basketball's golf umbrella.
I understand that the NCAA Tournament shares - or "units" as they are called - can be a major sticking point if left behind or split in some sort of exit negotiations, but it's time that the football schools go their own way.
And why do a new TV deal with whatever network if some of the power brokers at schools in the conference figure on breaking away a year or two after the new contracts kick in?
Yes, the Big East's reputation is founded on hoops, and the football was pretty dreadful this past season, but football still drives the dollars in major college athletics.