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Conference Realignment: If latest rumor is true UConn is either screwed or saved

There's a rumor floating around that Cincinnati, Louisville, TCU and West Virginia are working on a plan to defect from the Big East and join the Big XII, leaving UConn, Rutgers and South Florida as the last remaining football schools in an obliterated conference. It should go without saying that this could be very, very bad for the Huskies, who have actively campaigned for an ACC invitation while maintaining that the Big East was a backup option.

If those four schools bolt then the Big East is no option at all. You can add service academies and directional schools from the south until you're blue in the face and it won't matter, football in the Big East will be dead. If that's the case UConn may be forced to make a jump to a far inferior conference to keep football afloat (or lash a pile of castoffs on to the Big East's carcass - either way it's not good), or, in an even worse scenario, have to go it alone as a football independent, and even that assumes that the remaining Big East basketball schools do not run off to form their own "No-UConns Club."

So that's the nightmare scenario. Luckily for the Huskies, there is a reason to look positively on all of this.

You see, a Big East implosion could force Notre Dame's hand. We've known for a while that the ACC would consider adding UConn if the Irish came with them, but that left the huskies trapped: They couldn't leave the Big East without the Irish, but the Irish had no incentive to leave the Big East. If the Big XII defection comes to pass the Irish will have to look at the readjusting college landscape and see if it really makes sense to park all of their non-football sports in A) a joke of a league that would force the proud Golden Domers to play Eastern Carolina in every sport or B) A small-time basketball-focused league headlined by Georgetown, Villanova and not much else. Money isn't a motivator for Notre Dame, it's pride, and while not having an independent football program would hurt, so would being reduced to an afterthought in every other sport.

Make no mistake, UConn would be in a very vulnerable position. They may be the favorite to make the jump if Notre Dame does, but you can bet that Rutgers would start fighting like hell to grab UConn's spot. There's also the risk that Notre Dame decides they'll preserve their football independence at any cost.

Still, there is one definite bright spot: we're not South Florida. Those guys are screwed.