Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

25 Oct 2011

Report: West Virginia 'Lined Up' to Leave for Big 12

On this week's edition of As the Conference Turns...

[BCS School located in undesirable conference] West Virginia has reportedly decided to leave [said undesirable conference] the Big East for the Big 12. This news will come as another blow to [The Big East] the Big East's hopes of keeping it's auto-qualifier status for the BCS.

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 25 Oct 2011

22 comments, Last at 26 Oct 2011, 5:27pm by Kyle D.


by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 11:51am

That seems like a decent fit, by the somewhat wacky standard of the day; one hour time zone difference, and academically similar to most of the other schools in the conference.

by zlionsfan :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 12:12pm

True. There are not many AQ schools looking for new homes, and of course the ones closest to the Big 12 are perfectly happy where they are.

The Big 10 is a better fit for WVU geographically, but I think that would be one-way interest at best, and of course they're "not looking at this time".

If this is true, that puts us one step closer to the Sunbeast!

by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 1:50pm

It seems as if the Big 10 fogies are only going to entertain further expansion if it includes Touchdown Jesus. My guess is that they want to draw the line at 14 teams, which would still allow every team to be on the schedule at least every two years. Who would be attractive besides Rockne U? Who knows? Maybe the only way Texas could be enticed to play nice with others, or others could stand to be with Texas, is if a counterweight with it's own network was in the conference.

by zlionsfan :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 4:23pm

I actually thought Pitt and Syracuse wouldn't be bad, but of course they're off the board now. Missouri is pretty reasonable, but there's barely any interest from the Big Ten. (I suppose they might have looked more closely if ND had decided to give up its half-ass arrangement with the Big East, but then they could well have chosen just Notre Dame and left Nebraska to wait.)

Texas would be a power play. I think that only makes sense if there's a run to 16. The problem is that now you can't get A&M to match them, and there really isn't another school in the state that has both good athletics and a decent academic profile. OU/OSU isn't quite the same, neither is KU/KSU, and beyond that you're pretty much looking at non-AQ schools.

It's just as well, I think. Twelve is probably as big as you can get with a 12-game regular-season schedule and reasonable opposite-division scheduling, and even then it requires a 9-game conference schedule unless you were smart and put rivals in the same division, and that's just for football. It's too big for most of the other sports, although there you can at least play everyone once.

by Bots Meat Commission (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 3:02pm

Yeah, WVU. Pffft, not NEARLY good enough academically to be in the same conference with FSU or Ole Miss or NC State.

I will never understand the "academic fit" argument. Yet another layer of lame sanctimonious hypocrisy from the College Football Industrial Complex (aka every single non-player making a nice living off the sport's unpaid labor).

by RickD :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 5:06pm

I read that to be more of a dig from the (12-team) Big Ten about the (10-team) Big 12.

The ACC punted on "academic standards" a long time ago.

From the standpoint of a Maryland resident, the feeling around these parts is that WVA should have been in the ACC long ago. They are natural rivals to UMD, UVA, and Va. Tech.

I think the Big East is pretty much dead as a football conference. It's pretty bad when Louisville, Rutgers, and UConn are the standard bearers. Oh, did I forget Cincinnati? My bad.

by Bots Meat Commission (not verified) :: Wed, 10/26/2011 - 10:27am

I'm a Terp myself, and come from a family with deep WVU roots, so I agree completely.

In my ideal world, WVU would ALWAYS play:

Penn State
Virginia Tech

by Drunkmonkey :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 12:13pm

Do does this make Louisville any more likely to look into joining the Big 12?

by mm (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 12:50pm

Louisville would be foolish to turn them down if they asked, but it looks like the Big 12 will stay at 10 teams. If they want to go to 12 then Louisville will likely be one of the 2 teams.

by Drunkmonkey :: Wed, 10/26/2011 - 4:49pm

Yeah, I completely bungled that. I meant to ask whether or not it was a possibility that the Big 12 would ask Louisville to join.

by Jericho (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 3:14pm

Publically, the Big 12 says they're cool at 10.

Privately, at least some want to get bigger.

Logically, 12 would make a whole ton of sense. The Big 12 needs stability, and more teams add stability. Granted, one should not add schools simply to add schools. But this isn't Arkansas State or Louisiana-Monroe (sorry to any alumni of those schools). Louisville is an existing BCS school with good athletics. BYU is not in a BCS conference, but similarly has good athletics. These two along with Cincinnati appear to head the short list of possible additions. These are wortwhile additions to a struggling conference.

You go to 12, you increase the foot print of the conference outside of Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas (and whatever Iowa State counts for). That means more TV markets and more network/cable TV money. Twelve also grants the right to a conference championship. That should make it financially worthwhile.

Also of note is that vulnerable conferences are trying to lock down their members. The ACC raised the exit fee. The Big 12 has arranged for 6 year promises of TV money. The Big East is trying anything to keep teams from leaving. Expanding now seems a lot easier than it might be in 2 years.

Louisville and Cincy should be doing everything they can to sell themselves to the Big 12 right now.

by Bill Curley (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 5:30pm

Iowa State counts for the Ames market. Well, maybe 75% of it. Otherwise, the only people outside of Ames who'll watch Iowa State are Seneca Wallace and Marcus Fizer.

by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Wed, 10/26/2011 - 5:24pm

If I were the Big 12, I'd be considering Colorado State and Air Force to help pull from the Denver TV market. And they'd make good geographic sense. Not sure that Cincy or Louisville brings much more to the table, though Louisville would be an asset in basketball.

by cisforcookie (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 12:18pm

it's a relief to know they won't be joining the ACC. now we just need to get on uconn and rutgers. superconference assemble!

by RickD :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 5:08pm

:( I've been a fan of Big East sports since the early 80s. If Rutgers and UConn go to the ACC, I'll have to learn a whole bunch of new teams to hate. Well, aside from the old Big East teams that already jumped off the sinking ship.

And of course, Duke, which is hated by every Right-Thinking American.

by Lance :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 2:25pm

As a Big 8/Big XII guy, I hate the idea of West Virginia joining.

Edit: Looks like lots of accounts are saying that this is a done deal. *Sigh*

by Solomon :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 7:39pm

Supposedly, Missouri is leaving the Big 12 for the SEC. Would it not be easier to have West Virginia join the SEC instead and have Missouri stay put? WVU would fit nicely with the mostly questionable academics in the SEC.

Notre Dame already told the Big Ten no twice over the last two decades. If I were the Big Ten, I tell Notre Dame no thanks. As a Big Ten fan, I prefer that Notre Dame stay out of the Big Ten and the conference remain at 12 teams.

Assuming the Big East loses its auto-qualifying bid, which conference takes it (if any)? Maybe the Mountain West-Conference USA amalgamation?

by Jericho (not verified) :: Wed, 10/26/2011 - 12:07pm

The Conference USA/Mountain West conglomerate would take the bid. Of course, that would have to wait two years until the current agreement expires. And it assumes the BCS basically remains the same. And assumes most of the "better" schools don't bolt the conference.

The Big East's idea is to lure the best football schools left and have them join it. It serves the dual purposes of weakening the Conference USA/Mountain West and strengthening the Big East. Apparently BCS points transfer to the new conference. As in Boise State's high finishes will benefit whatever conference it is currently in, not which conference it was in when it earned those births. Of course those schools could just stay put and likely steal the birth from the Big East. So the Big East has to make it financially worthwile.

by mm (not verified) :: Wed, 10/26/2011 - 1:46pm

"WVU would fit nicely with the mostly questionable academics in the SEC"

While both the Big 12 and the SEC has some schools with questionable academics, the SEC now has the better overall conference academically.

The Big 12 lost 2 of its best academic schools (Colorado and Texas A&M) as well as Nebraska, which was in the top half of the conference. Missouri would be another blow.

by Solomon :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 7:43pm

Personally, I would find it cool if U. of Cincinnati ended up in a non-AQ conference when all the dust settles.

by Cro-mags (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 9:00pm

Stick a fork in the Big East.

by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Wed, 10/26/2011 - 5:27pm

I guess it must be hard when the rats start leaving the sinking ship, but the Big East totally shot themselves in the foot with their move to increase the exit fee to $10 million. Like anybody is going to join an already shaky conference knowing they're going to try their darndest to make it impossible to get out if things deteriorate further?