Rutgers joins UCF, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville and USF in the “East Division” for Big East football beginning next season, the conference officially announced this afternoon. Making the decision to break into divisions is not new, but they are now formally set for next year when six new teams join the conference and two depart.
The “West Division” is comprised of the conference’s new faces – Temple, Boise State, Memphis, SMU, Houston and San Diego State. The winners of the East and West divisions face off in the first formal Big East championship game at the site of one of the participating teams.
“We are very pleased with the result and the announcement of the new geographic divisional structure for the future of Big East football,” said Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti. “This composition allows us to continue to build on strong existing rivalries while providing a platform for new rivalries. Most of all its great for our fans keeping a majority of our games in the East"
The Big East will announce its 2013 football schedule Dec. 3 after the Big East’s athletic directors’ meeting in New York.
Divisions will be revisited in 2014 when Navy joins the conference for football only.
“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,” said commissioner Mike Aresco. “This unique combination of nationwide scope and regional flavor reflects our commitment to innovation in response to the changing landscape in college football, while honoring a tradition of success on the field and in the classroom.”
Rutgers will play five games within its division next year and eight total conference games – nine if the Scarlet Knights qualify for the championship game.