Whither West Virginia
Last night, the Confidential unwittingly entered into a Twitter-battle with a West Virginia blogger. The Confidential noted that West Virginia had become responsible for two things lately: bad expansion rumors and bad football. One such twitterer came to the forefront, presumably seeking to take credit for being the blogger that was the source of those rumors. Some day, the Confidential will appear on some “show” to discuss expansion, i.e. whether this blogger had sources providing rumors that, while not coming true, were rumors that could have been true, had something not happened. Or something like that.
But a bigger question remains… what is the deal with West Virginia? And is the West Virginia-Big XII marriage a happy one?
Three questions actually.
#1. Is the Big XII happy with West Virginia?
The Confidential tends to think this is not one of those black-and-white answers. Of course, the Big XII is pleased with many of the things that West Virginia has brought to the table. But it was hoped that West Virginia would bring high-quality football. To date, that has not been the case. And this past weekend, West Virginia was embarrassed by previously hapless Maryland. In contrast, Louisville’s star keeps rising. The Cardinals won a national title in hoops. The football team won a BCS game (West Virginia lost to Syracuse in the Pinstripe Bowl) and is in line for another one this year (WVU is in danger of not even qualifying for a bowl). The Big XII cannot be thrilled.
#2. Is West Virginia happy in the Big XII?
Look… the Mountaineers avoided the AAC. This is like asking someone whether he is because he married a model who gained 15 pounds, when he picked her over a woman who started at 250, and has only gained more weight and a mustache since then. Avoiding the AAC alone was a win. But being part of Texas and Company has not been perfect. The football team and basketball team have been mediocre. The money is good, but that’s about it. Is WVU getting a recruiting boost? We’ll find out.
#3. Is an ACC-WVU marriage feasible?
Well, what if WVU and the ACC talked. Would WVU prefer the ACC over the Big XII–even with a revenue drop? Would the ACC accept WVU? As to the former, WVU would have to strongly consider the merits of an ACC with Pitt, Syracuse, BC, Virginia Tech, etc. The regionality alone would help WVU recruiting. Texas is a nice source for recruits, but Florida is even better. Ask RichRod. As to the latter, it is tougher. The ACC should not be holding out anything for Notre Dame. In the meantime, WVU would add big games and decent rivalries. Even with a few down periods, WVU does not stay down for long. If that happens, it will be because of the Big XII issues, not because of WVU directly. And if Notre Dame ever wanted in, UConn would be standing behind them waving “hello.” That would be an acceptable 17 & 18. We are beyond the point of neat, 12-team conferences anyway. 16, 18, 20. Do #’s matter anymore? And WVU fits in with the region. It would add a football name to the North part of the conference, without being worse academically than Louisville. While it likely will never happen, an argument certainly can be made that it should happen for the betterment of both WVU and the ACC.
As for the Big XII, they have bigger problems. The folks over at Frank the Tank continue to talk about Texas and Oklahoma and Kansas having eyes on the Big 10 (and vice-versa). Would Tulane really be worse than West Virginia? What Tulane lacks in performance, it makes up for in market access. If the SEC is going to encroach on Texas, perhaps the Big XII should encroach on Louisiana. And there are other options, obviously.
The bottom line is that realignment talk never ends. And even the past realignment is not beyond debate.
What do you think?