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Blue roundup: ESPN's role in conference realignment

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 1 2011 11:29 a.m. MDT

Last year, BYU and ESPN formed a partnership — and eight-year broadcasting deal. It allows the Cougars, who are in their first season as an independent, to be seen on a regular basis on national television.

There's been plenty of upheaval in college football realignment in the past year, and a USA Today report asks, is ESPN "the main force behind realignment in college sports?"

"For all that ESPN has lent to the growth of major-college athletics — through on-air exposure and with rights-fees payouts that schools have fed into stadium improvements, luxurious locker rooms and huge contracts for top coaches — there's an undercurrent of concern about the influence of the self-proclaimed Worldwide Leader in Sports," USA Today reports. "It's not just that its tentacles are everywhere: They're everywhere at once."

Speaking of conference realignment, the Big East is looking to expand, and BYU is a program the league is considering.

"They could also go back out west and pick up BYU which is an idea that is gaining momentum as the Utah-based school might be willing to join as a football-only member," writes Jim Williams. "That would be a great move to the Big East if BYU wants to leave their present independent status and join with Boise State, Air Force, SMU, Houston and Louisville in the West."

The Philadelphia Inquirer weighs in on Big East expansion as well. Here's a look at how realignment is affecting college basketball.

Finally, BYU is picked to finish third this season in this West Coast Conference preview.

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