Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

21 Feb 2012

ESPN: WVU, TCU Will Be Big 12 Contenders

West Virginia and TCU are the new kids on the Big 12 block, but are they ready to contend immediately? The numbers say yes. According to Program FEI, the conference upgraded by trading in Missouri and Texas A&M, and according to retro-projections, both teams would have been in position to win recent Big 12 championships. Oklahoma and Texas are big dogs, but West Virginia and TCU will be consistent winners.

Posted by: Brian Fremeau on 21 Feb 2012

1 comment, Last at 22 Feb 2012, 12:30pm by Lance


by Lance :: Wed, 02/22/2012 - 12:30pm

I don't have access to the article, but I'm somewhat skeptical of these claims. While it's hard not to have an upgrade over the A&M of the last decade, one wonders how recruiting changes when these two teams switch conferences. The whole football recruiting process is somewhat opaque to college football outsiders. I actually was recruited for D-1 athletics, but it was for track and field, and it was almost 20 years ago. I'm guessing that things are different now (even for track and field), and that the type of recruiting that goes on in big time sports is and was radically different than for the little stuff.

This conference change will have an impact on two factors that, it seem to me, are important in recruiting. First is the question of how big a deal is it to a kid to be playing in a certain conference? Does going to WVU when it's in the Big East (and thus, staying closer to home, and playing in rivalries that you, as a kid grew up investing in) change when it's WVU in the Big XII? It's perhaps less of a deal for TCU, when a number of the schools they're now going to play are ones that local kids are already familiar with.

A second question is if WVU's switching to the Big XII gives major Big XII schools (like OU and Texas and now, perhaps, OSU) a sort of Trojan Horse to tap areas that may, previously, not been pursued. One wonders if the 2- and 3-star kids from VA, PA, MD, etc., that Texas or OU might have overlooked (assuming that they go for the most highly recruited kids regardless of geography) now become targets. And given the pedigree of Texas or OU, they now seriously consider them, whereas before, they're just looking at those Mid Atlantic schools only.

We'll see, I guess.