I've long said the Big East's highs and lows tend to be exacerbated by the league's small size. When West Virginia, Louisville and Rutgers all rose into the top 10 in 2006 and stars like Ray Rice, Pat White, Steve Slaton and Brian Brohm were pushing for the Heisman, we in the media were rightfully trumpeting the conference's rise from the ashes; but if the 12-team SEC ever had three good teams and a bunch of also-rans, we'd be ripping it. Four years later, the entire league is struggling. No Big East team is currently ranked, and that might be the case the rest of the season. Obviously, that would never happen in the Big Ten.(Mentions how easily Big East coaches are poached.)
It's hard to maintain success with such instability, which means the Big East will inevitably have to make some changes. Some of the schools may need to start investing more heavily in their programs (no small feat in the current economy) to make it enticing for good coaches to stay. But most likely, the league will need to expand. We know the Big East has been discussing just that, with TCU in particular. Even a 10-team league provides greater assurance of having at least a couple of bell cows in any given year to help avoid debacles like this season.
Highs and lows just look worse or better when you're an 8-team league. This is still my go-to board for pointless Internet Big East expansion talk.