September 26, 2017

Hey, Is That The Big 12 I Hear?

So West Virginia University is finally headed to the Big 12….a move sure to cause upheaval in the Big East and in turn in the smaller conferences as well. A move that surely will have WVU fans taking some lumps as the Mountaineers struggle to get acclimated to the much more talented Big 12!

First with the Big East. They will almost certainly have to invite some schools that may have not been on their main list–example Temple. Temple currently plays in the MAC for football and the Atlantic 10 for basketball. The Owls along with Memphis from C-USA , according to Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino, would make a great fit for an all-sports conference membership to replace departing Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the ACC. The other schools that will be left in the Big East would have the invites sent to the likes of Boise State, Navy and Air Force for football only membership and Houston, SMU and Central Florida for all sports.

As for the smaller conferences, they would struggle to find replacements for these departures to the Big East and may not have any quality teams left out there to replace them, leaving them with less revenue and trying to survive on.

As for WVU’s entry into the Big 12, they may look forward to some tough goings in the beginning as they must get up to the talent level of the other league teams. Yes, WVU has talent in other sports and they have talent on the football team–for the Big East, but not the type of talent on the football team to hang with Big 12 schools week in and week out. Yes, they can go and win face to face matchups in bowl games and in-season games, but to match that talent every week on the field…they are just not there yet!

Now don’t get me wrong, this will be a good move for them as it will open up some recruiting areas that they are not current players in–like Texas and Oklahoma. However, it will take a few years to get those recruits that do flow through to Morgantown to reach the same talent level as the other Big 12 teams. Until then the WVU faithful, that like that win now feeling that the school has them used to, are going to have to get used to a few more losses here and there. They will have to refrain from calling for coach Dana Holgorsen’s job as he has a big job ahead of him in getting them prepared for Big 12 play.

Look forward to some exciting times in Morgantown and get ready for the fury of the Big 12!

Missou’s Declaration Perpetuates Realignment Unrest

Just when the mad flurry of rumors and speculation regarding conference realignment seemed to quiet and settle into a temporary sanity, the University of Missouri stoked the fire. After meeting earlier this week, the University’s curators emerged with the now famous rhetoric: We’re exploring all options in the best interests of the University.

Translation: Missouri is not committed to the Big 12. We’ve always wanted to go to the Big 10, but we may go to the SEC also. In the meantime, we’ll smile and wave … and basically keep NCAA Division I football in a state of unrest.

Though the remaining Big 12 teams seemed to have ironed out differences and TV revenue sharing, Missouri’s posturing keeps the conference on edge and causes more frustration for the Big East.

The SEC has declared itself content at 13 teams with the addition next season of Texas A&M. Logic dictates that the conference will even its number of member programs, but the SEC acts at its own pace and discretion, insulated at the top of the college football world.

The Pac-12 has declared itself not interested in short-term expansion, and its long-time Rose Bowl dance partner, the Big 10, has closed doors too.

So the effect of Missouri’s announcement is that the Big 12 cannot presume on the school’s continued membership. At nine schools plus Missouri – for now, it wants to add programs and stabilize. Candidates recently rumored to be brought aboard include Texas Christian University and the University of Louisville. TCU is scheduled to join Louisville in the Big East next season, but the destination is no longer as appealing with the defections of Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the ACC – and Connecticut a very public ACC wannabe.

The Big East, like the Big 12, wants to shore up its ranks. Its location, history and football reputation however make it the least likely destination for football programs of stature, and a wait-and-see destination for any program really. It may be imprudent for any school to enter the Big East in its tenuous status of present.

So, Missouri’s opportunity seeking keeps college football on the alert in a conference alignment situation seemingly unable to find contentment.