STORRS, Conn. — Connecticut football coach Paul Pasqualoni says he's excited about the prospect of a more western Big East conference.
Speaking to the media in advance of next Wednesday's conference game at Pittsburgh, Pasqualoni said Friday he believes adding Boise State, Houston, SMU, and Air Force along with Central Florida and Navy would be a great thing for the Big East.
"I'm hoping that's the way it goes, the sooner the better," he said.
The conference has announced plans to expand to 12 members. The plan includes Navy, Air Force and Boise State as football-only members and Central Florida, Houston and SMU for all sports, though that has not been made public by the league.
Navy is an independent. Air Force and Boise State play in the Mountain West Conference. UCF, Houston and SMU are in Conference USA.
Big East Commissioner John Marinatto said this week that no invitations have gone out and he could not give a timetable for when the conference hopes to complete its expansion work.
Pasqualoni said he envisions a Big East conference with an eastern and western division. He said schools would then play every team in their own division, and have three cross-division games each year, minimizing the need for cross-country travel.
"One year you are going there twice, the next year you are going there once," he said. "You get a chance to be down in Houston, you get a chance to be in the (Dallas-Fort Worth) metroplex. I'd love it."
It would also open up recruiting in states such as Texas, where Pasqualoni has some ties. He coached last year for the Dallas Cowboys.
"I kind of know a few guys in the metroplex-Dallas area," he said. "So go down there to play SMU, go up by Kincaid's, get the kids a great hamburger. I think it would be, without exaggerating, I think it would be one heck of a deal personally. I love Connecticut's place in that."
The Big East currently has six football members committed to the conference beyond this season, and eight schools that do not compete in the league in football, including football-independent Notre Dame.
Pittsburgh and Syracuse have accepted invitations to join the Atlantic Coast Conference, and TCU — previously scheduled to join the Big East in 2012 — instead will join the Big 12.
UConn quarterback Johnny McEntee, who is from California, said it would be fun to play teams such as Boise State, which are closer to home — but as a fan, he's not excited about realignment.
"I'd like to see it how it used to be," he said. "But, I think it's too late for that. So, whatever they've gotta do. Just trying to make the money, I guess."