SO, WHAT does the shakeup in the Big East mean for Villanova and possibly Temple?

Well, a source familiar with the situation says the Big 12's apparent decision to try to remain intact has helped elevate Temple from "nowhere" to "at least on the board" in the expansion discussions.

"I think now they would have to be," the source acknowledged.

The source, however, went on to say it would "not be fair" to call Temple the "favorite" to become part of whatever configuration the Big East ultimately takes on.

For a while, it looked as if what remained of the Big East would simply merge with what was left of the Big 12. Not anymore.

The Owls, of course, were in the Big East for football only from 1991 to 2004, when they were asked to leave.

With the just-announced departure of Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the Atlantic Coast Conference, coupled with the notion that perhaps Connecticut and maybe even Rutgers could be leaving, too, the Big East needs replacements. East Carolina sent a letter of application to the Big East yesterday.

Some other potential candidates are Central Florida, Houston, Memphis and the three service academies. Citing a source with knowledge of the discussions, the Associated Press reported Navy and Air Force are the top choices for Big East expansion, but as football-only members.

Where Temple might stand among that mix is anyone's guess at this point.

"The rules have changed," the source said. "No one thought [the Big East] would be dealing with this. So you just don't know for sure about almost anything."

And at some point, there's always a chance that the basketball schools could opt to go their own way. Again, this has entered unknown territory.

In April, Villanova was set to vote yes to make the move up from the FCS level in football and join the conference, where it has competed in virtually every other sport for the last three decades. But it never got to a ballot, ironically, because Pitt convinced Rutgers and West Virginia to play a waiting game. So how is that working out for Rutgers and West Virginia? Just a thought.

Anyway, the Wildcats have lost their leverage, in large part because they can't be a viable member for several transitionary years. At the moment, the Big East needs more immediate answers, which kind of leaves the Main Line in a holding pattern through no real fault of its own.

The source indicated that Villanova still could get invited depending on how the realigment unfolds.

Check back tomorrow. There could be a totally different scenario floating around.