The gong was banged on Mountaineer football twice this decade, both as a result of someone, or some entity, heading for the exit.
Miami, Virginia Tech, and Boston College took the first jetliner out of the Big East during the expansion of the Atlantic Coast Conference to twelve schools. Three years later, former West Virginia walk-on defensive back, savior, and native son Rich Rodriguez led his team to the doorstep of the BCS championship, only to bow to the man at Michigan.
All of the above royally pissed off Mountaineers everywhere. And, why not? How dare they leave?
Good question, especially in light of more ear-splitting cacophony in college football land to be encountered shortly.
This is it, boys and girls. You have to have a plan with contingencies, and you have to move quickly.
With regard to that battle of wits, and borrowing from G. Gordon Liddy, the West Virginia athletic department leadership has been, and remains, terribly unarmed.
We as a state would prefer to blame it on the them, those infidels who left, without looking within to figure out how we can not be so vulnerable next time.
Welcome to next time.
Let's start out west, where major continental weather patterns originate. To be sure, I'm talking about farther west than the Big Ten, but we'll get to the Tenners in a minute.
I'm talking the Pac Ten, which wants twelve. Let's say for the sake of brevity Colorado leaves the Big 12 for the Sunshine Lads (that includes you, Seattle). Utah makes it an even dozen. The XII looks to TCU.
The winds and snows continue to traverse the country as everyone's interest is whetted.
The Big Ten abandons Missouri as The XII digs a moat around the breadbasket of the nation. The Tenners look east. Pittsburgh grates Penn State's nerves. Syracuse doesn't wield the big stick it had at one time. That leaves Rutgers, conveniently placing the Tenners in the major metropolitan market of New York, New York.
Now we have the Big East seven in a time when everyone is looking for 12. But, wait, it gets worse. South Florida is imploding as we speak. Mr. Leavitt and his mania seem to be taking an entire university down. That makes it Big East six. And, there's your challenge, Mr. WVU AD and Mr. WVU President. You're an afterthought.
So, whose fault is this?
Who cares? Blindside blocks are within the rules.
In 2004, Big East football was the national laughingstock. 2005? The Mountaineers earned a huge upset of Georgia from the invincible Southeastern Conference.
Dodged that one, AD.
In 2007, Rich Rod leaves. Two weeks later, West Virginia craters Oklahoma, landing a head coach in the lap of the AD who had no prospects—zero.
There are major, inherently critical issues with West Virginia and its league. Concurrently, its top assistant, one of the top recruiters in the nation, has left for greener pastures.
The luck has probably run out, AD. Time to be proactive, to act and act decisively. WVU cannot wait for someone else to solve the Big East, and we cannot afford to wait another day without an answer to Doc Holliday's departure.
As well, the time has past for the Fraudriguez shirts, and waiting for him to fail in Ann Arbor does nothing for Morgantown.
There is a 60,000 seat stadium that needs butts in the seats seven times next autumn. Wishing ill of Miami, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Marshall, Michigan, Democrats, Republicans, and whatever evil lurks on the landscape will not work this time.
Provincial solutions are futile. Get moving!