There has been a lot of talk about Temple going back to the Big East for all sports. In fact, with the authorization to get to 12 teams, there's almost no way for them to make it without Temple. The conference could also go the other direction, but for now let's assume Temple is headed to the Big East.
UMass, which is in the transition stage of moving from the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) to the Football Bowl Subdivision level, also has a large stake in the outcome. According to sources at UMass, the agreement that puts the Minutemen into the MAC is directly linked to Temple, another football-only member.In other words, this is a very nervous time for UMass. Moving to FBS status involves a huge investment, and if you did it only to end up without a conference, it could be a huge issues. The Globe says it puts FBS membership in "serious jeopardy." In fact, you'd be hesitant to move to the next step if you didn't know you had more than two years.
According to the agreement, if Temple, which is high on the list of potential candidates to move back into the Big East, leaves the MAC, the conference can then use an option that could put a 2-year limit on UMass's membership. Other options include leaving the arrangement as it currently exists, or taking the Minutemen in as a full member.
Of that group, the 2-year limit seems most likely and would cause the greatest uncertainty for UMass, which is trying to morph itself from an FCS level program into the more desirable FBS competition, which includes both bowl games and potential affiliation with the higher paying BCS conferences.
The MAC without Temple and UMass makes more geographic sense, but is now lacking two major new areas. There would still be 12 teams, and the conference would keep the playoff game.
Note, also, what isn't in the article, which is the mention of any other MAC team heading to the Big East, something that was a quiet fantasy in the last few years.
There are still other ways it could work. Temple might not join the Big East for whatever reason. And the MAC could reconsider the two-year provision--though the contract isn't that old and there must have been a reason they wanted it in there in the first place.
Still, there is at least a small set of dominoes waiting in the MAC.