|Photo via Profootballtalk.com|
I recently asked Noah Wygal, who runs the P90X/ Insanity Blog, to provide some commentary on the conference realignment talks after reading several of his Tweets on the subject. I thought that his views echoed mine, and since I'm slammed at work this week, he could share WVUPros thoughts on the matter.
At this point expansion is almost a dirty word. Speak it in front of any WVU fan and they are likely to snap. On the verge of one of the biggest games in WVU history vs No 2 LSU this weekend, all eyes or on conference expansion. A lot has transpired over the last few days. Let’s take a second to recap where we are right now.
A couple of weeks ago it seemed like a forgone conclusion that WVU was SEC bound, worst case scenario, maybe we ended up in the ACC. All was good, everyone was happy. Then all of a sudden reports started surfacing that WVU was not only rejected by the ACC, but also the SEC. Those rumors were promptly proven to be false in a release from WVU stating the opposite. Now the latest domino fell, the PAC 12 decided not to expand. Which means the Big 12 is staying together... for now. So that means there will be no Big East/Big 12 merger.
What does all this mean for WVU? No one really knows, and if they do, they aren’t saying anything. Oliver Luck released a statement about expansion earlier this afternoon that never pledged allegiance to the Big East. This situation is changing so fast, that since I started writing this story ESPN is reporting that we are one of three possible candidates for Big 12 expansion! Is your head spinning?
I think it is safe to assume that the majority of WVU fans want no part of the Big East, regardless of who they bring in to replace Pitt and Syracuse.
So let’s look at where we may end up. Best case scenario, Texas A&M still goes to the SEC as the 13th team. That gives the SEC an odd number of teams, and NCAA rules state that in order to have a conference championship game you must have an equal amount of teams. Since the Big 12 is seemingly staying together that means Missouri is likely to stay. So does that open the door for an SEC invite for WVU? Let’s hope so.
The second best option seems to be the one that recently popped up. We go to the Big 12 with Air Force and Louisville. One big question about this move would be the same one we are facing in the Big East. Do other schools have their eyes on another conference? Even if they did the Big 12 is certainly a better option than we currently have. Everyone and their brother are reporting that WVU’s poor academic standing would keep us from qualifying from the ACC. Is it a coincidence that there were several releases about how WVU is now in the Top 100 in the nation academically. This is a long shot, but with everything else that has happened who knows.
Maybe a third, far less likely situation, we defy the academic gods and get an ACC invite. I know this might sound farfetched, but WVU went out of the way to mention that they were not denied entrance into the ACC. Now that could simply mean, they haven’t asked to join recently.
The last and least attractive option is to stay in a reconfigured Big East. Have you seen the options that are being thrown out as possible candidates for expansion? Yikes. I do not know about you, but adding Army, Navy, ECU, Houston, UCF etc. sounds like an obvious downgrade from Pittsburgh and Syracuse. Also we have to worry now about TCU choosing to possibly remain in the MWC.
Like it or not we are standing at a crossroads in WVU athletics. We are on the verge of either joining a power conference or being in a considerably better situation financially and competitively, or taking a major step back and staying in a retooled Big East. The bottom line here is that we need to put our faith in Oliver Luck, and trust that he is going to put WVU in the best position it could possibly be in. Buckle your seatbelts, because this is far from over.
***I would like to thank Noah for his contribution.
What are your thoughts on the matter? Feel free to leave a comment below.