The Big East was blindsided with the news about Pittsburgh and Syracuse being accepted to the ACC; however Big East commissioner John Marinatto was quietly being proactive and reached out to teams before he knew he was going to lose the two flagship programs. Those two schools were to be Navy as a football-only member and then Air Force, per CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy:
No official invitation was extended by the league, but both parties had extensive discussions about Navy joining the league in football only and it very well could have happened in the next couple of weeks, college football industry sources told CBSSports.com.
Besides Navy, the Big East also was targeting Air Force and league sources felt confident both schools would have been Big East members, perhaps within the next year - that is until Pitt and Syracuse announced they were leaving for the ACC.
The name Big East would be a very loose term, as the league would have had teams in the Mountain, Central and Eastern time zones. As of now ,adding Navy and Air Force is not looking like an option that the Big East is going to do, but, rather, they are looking at merging with what is left of the Big 12.
For more on the Mountain West and possible expansion, visit the Mountain West Connection.