West Virginia Football: Mountaineers Eyeing the Big 12, Part 2
In part one, I summed up speculation from rumors I had gathered that said WVU would strongly consider a move to the Big 12. There were rumors; however, the information was very difficult to come across because the majority of universities were protecting themselves, working behind the scenes.
In recent days, realignment is all over the news, thanks to the guys in Washington D.C. For one, you would think the senators would be focusing on something more important than sports (the economy anyone?), but that is a different discussion.
Tuesday evening, the news was that WVU will be holding a press conference the following day to announce its plans to leave the Big East. I was ecstatic for my school to leave what has been a mess for college football.
It appears the move to several “super conferences” is inevitable; West Virginia is simply being proactive. In my previous article, I said that if Athletic Director Oliver Luck could pull this conference switch off, he would be hitting the ball out of the park. Well, Luck just gave his best Albert Pujols impersonation with this move. The Mountaineers are perfectly suited for the football side of things, and will thrive in basketball.
Today, we live in a world where money drives everything. Football and basketball make millions of dollars for universities across the country, and in the BCS era, few have matched the Mountaineers successes. West Virginia will receive tremendous amount of upgrades, along with an increase in funding from the conference. With a TV deal, WVU will receive millions of dollars in revenue that it is not currently receiving in the Big East.
In fact, part of the reason the Big East is in its current situation is because the league turned down a multi-million dollar television deal with ESPN. Now with access to a major network, WVU will have the potential to blossom.
Will WVU be able to compete in the Big 12 when it joins the conference?
There are many advantages to WVU joining the Big 12. For starters, Dana Holgorsen and his staff will be able to do damage in the state of Texas when it comes to recruiting. Also, Daron Roberts, a first-year assistant is an excellent recruiter and has ties to both Maryland and Texas. Starting RB Dustin Garrison, a Texas native, has thrived in Holgorsen’s offense, quickly emerging as a starter. Look for many Texas prospects to have an increase in interest in the Mountaineers.
Incoming QB commit Ford Childress is lighting it up in the high school ranks in Houston, Tex. Childress is the ideal trigger-man for the Dana Holgorsen spread. He has good size at 6’4" and has a very quick release while keeping consistent accuracy. These recruits are rooted in Big 12 country, and that was before the Big 12 talk was considering expansion.
Why is this smart for the Big 12?
This move makes great sense for a conference that is trying to increase its stability. The Texas Longhorns have lobbied on the behalf of WVU, and their reasoning is simple. The Mountaineers are a proven winner and with stars such as Geno Smith and Tavon Austin, they have the playmakers to compete with anyone. To date, West Virginia has by far had the most success against the highly touted LSU defense.
With a new system and a new conference, the Mountaineers will be on the rise, and a lot has to do with the aggressiveness of Oliver Luck.
West Virginia went to work immediately after the announcement of Pittsburgh and Syracuse decision to leave the Big East. Oliver Luck reached out to the SEC, ACC and Big 12.
Many people thought that the ACC was never an option, that is not true. WVU was indeed considered for membership, but was blocked in late September. These schools sited recruiting reasons.
As for the SEC, WVU nearly closed in on the 14th spot in the conference; however, Missouri was a preferred option. That is not to say the Mountaineers didn’t have support. Alabama head coach and West Virginia native Nick Saban was lobbying on behalf of WVU; however, that did not stop WVU from being shut down. WVU did not make the jump to the Southeastern Conference because the SEC was more worried about money than actual play on the field.
With West Virginia’s departure, it will be very interesting to see what the Big East will do next. Louisville is in the news for several reasons as well, as news leaked that Kentucky senator Mitch McConnell was attempting to block or delay WVU’s entrance into the Big 12.
Ironically, Louisville basketball head coach Rick Pitino is lobbying to replace the deflections from the Big East with basketball schools such as Memphis or Temple. Even the mighty Notre Dame Fighting Irish could entertain the notion of a possible move to the ACC.
This year has been a historic one in college football, and it is not even bowl season yet.
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