Friday, October 28, 2011

West Virginia Headed To The Big 12

West Virginia accepted an invitation to the Big 12 today. The Mountaineers want to start playing in the Big 12 in the 2012 season, but the Big East will hold the Mountaineers to the 27-month exit notification period which will keep the Mountaineers in their current conference until the 2014 season. Pittsburgh and Syracuse also cannot leave the Big East for the Atlantic Coast Conference until the 2014 season. The Big East is left with only five football members: Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville, Rutgers, and South Florida. Will the Big East survive as a football conference? The Big East is guaranteed an automatic qualifying bid to the BCS through the 2013 season no matter what happens. Even if the Big East can bring in some new members to keep the ship afloat, they will likely lose their autobid to the BCS once the current contract expires after 2013.
Missouri has been expected to be leaving the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference, but there are rumors that legal matters are holding up the move. Despite this, West Virginia is slated to be the replacement for Mizzou. The Big 12 has said it is comfortable with a ten-team conference and is not looking to expand further at this time.
West Virginia geographically is a bad fit for the Big 12. It sits way out in the Appalachians while the rest of the conference runs vertically up the Great Plains more or less. The closest Big 12 school to Morgantown is Iowa State at approximately 870 miles distance. The Mountaineers will be flying west a lot, and games to be played at Mountaineer Field will raise travel costs for visiting Big 12 schools. The rising cost of travel for the Olympic sports is unpractical. However, West Virginia should be competitive in both football and basketball in the Big 12.

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