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USF at Boise State in 2012?

Posted Feb 10, 2012 by Joey Johnston

Updated Feb 10, 2012 at 01:32 AM

Could the University of South Florida Bulls be playing on Boise State’s fabled blue turf this season?

Maybe so.

Late Thursday, the Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail reported that West Virginia University has reached a conditional agreement with the Big East Conference and a settlement cost of $20-million to cover its departure and a jump to the Big 12 by July 1. Part of the agreement reportedly would cover a buyout for Boise State to leave the Mountain West Conference. That would allow the Broncos to replace West Virginia and join their new football-only home in the Big East in 2012, one season earlier than expected.

USF was scheduled to play at West Virginia this fall. Neither the Big East nor the Big 12 has released its football schedule, although reported the Big 12 schedule would be announced on Friday.

The potential arrangement could leave USF in the unusual position of playing TWO games west of the Rocky Mountains. The Bulls recently scheduled a home-and-home series against Nevada with the first game scheduled for Reno, Nev., on Sept. 8.

West Virginia announced last fall that it was jumping to the Big 12, shortly after Pittsburgh and Syracuse decided to join the ACC. Big East commissioner John Marinatto, citing the league’s bylaws, said all three schools were bound to the conference for a 27-month waiting period, meaning they couldn’t leave until July 1, 2014. West Virginia then sued the Big East, which promptly filed a countersuit.

If West Virginia’s early flight to the Big 12 is successful, it’s unknown how that would affect the plans of Pittsburgh and Syracuse, which have maintained they will honor the Big East’s waiting-period stipulation.

The Idaho Statesman reported that Boise State was exploring the possibility of placing all its non-football sports in the Western Athletic Conference for the 2012-13 school year.

After the defections, the Big East moved to complete a revamped 12-team football lineup, adding Central Florida, Houston, Memphis and SMU for all sports in 2013, while bringing aboard Boise State and San Diego State for football only. Navy plans to join the Big East in 2015, when the league would presumably have enough football-playing members to stage a championship game, perhaps in New York.

Boise State was 12-1 last season with a victory against Arizona State in the Las Vegas Bowl, plus a season-opening win against Georgia. Broncos coach Chris Petersen is 73-6 in six seasons, including Fiesta Bowl triumphs against Oklahoma (following the 2006 season) and TCU (following the 2009 season).

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