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October 28, 2011

Was in the middle of working on this post. It was going fine. Nearly finished. Exploring the idea of the rumors that both Louisville and WVU were going to announce a move to the Big 12 by next week. What it would mean to Big East survival (or not), that the departures could accelerate chance of Pitt getting to the ACC sooner — or have to wait longer b/c they need the bodies, and whether the possibility of 11 teams in the Big 12 suggested that maybe Notre Dame to the Big 12 in all but football could be a reality.

Then… KABOOM!

West Virginia has been invited to join the Big 12 Conference, college football industry sources told CBSSports.com Friday.

The Mountaineers will accept the invitation, sources said. The Big 12 is expected to officially announce the invitation later today.

The Big 12’s board of directors voted Friday morning and chose West Virginia over Louisville. They will stay at 10 schools, a source said.

So now we are back to where things were on Tuesday.

That’s a shame for Louisville (and for Pitt and Syracuse).

There were a lot of rumors percolating yesterday that with such a divide over WVU and Louisville within the Big 12, that the Big 12 was actually going to take both schools.  There was a good deal of logic to it. While the conference would have been at the odd 11, the consensus has been that eventually both schools were going to be invited at some point. With the division by the members on the merits of each, just move up the timetable and finish it. Especially if they do it piece-by-piece it would be more likely that the Big East would insist on keeping the members in the conference for at least one extra year to preserve BCS AQ status. Meaning WVU (and Pitt and Syracuse) won’t leave until at least the 2013 season.

Of course Texas — which was backing WVU over Louisville — was also rather adamant about staying at 10. Keeping the TV money pie smaller. In the end what Texas wants in the Big 12, Texas gets — regardless of who is the conference commissioner.

That still doesn’t change the fact that the Big 12 looked ridiculous. Really, really ridiculous.

Can we please some have some honor in the league? Can we please some have some leadership? Can we please conduct business with just a smidgen of decorum?

Okay, that’s nice in theory, but that ship sailed in expansiopocolypse a long time ago. See, the ACC-Big East in 2003, Pac-10-Big 12-Big 10 in 2010. Or just the past few months.

After this nonsense, it’s clearer than ever that the only the desperate would be interested in the Big 12.

Um, have you seen the Big East? There’s a reason why WVU and Louisville are ready to shank each other in the prison yard that is the Big East to get to the halfway house of the Big 12.

After this nonsense, it’s clearer than than ever that getting anyone to trust this leadership, be it interim commish Chuck Neinas or defacto commish DeLoss Dodds or any school president, is fruitless. After this nonsense, it’s clearer than ever that it’s a waste of time trying to talk Missouri into staying.

Yeah, though the SEC did jump the gun, just a bit (Bad vendor! Bad, bad vendor!).

Talk about turning something good into something rotten. Remember the glee down in Fort Worth when the Big 12 added TCU? Same kind of thing spread over West Virginia on Tuesday; the Mountaineers and their fans were thrilled at the prospect of joining the Big 12. Only to have the brakes applied the next morning.

If West Virginia makes it back to the good graces of the Big 12, rest assured the glee will not be so grand. West Virginia had a revelation. Let this be a lesson learned, Mountaineers. If you get into Conference Chaos, sleep with one eye open.

Just like their sheep and sisters.

There is no doubt that WVU will go to the Big 12 regardless of how humiliated they were and the questions it raises about the long-term (or even short-term) stability of the Big 12. Let me put it this way. If it had been Syracuse and UConn heading to the ACC, Pitt would be jumping to the Big 12 just as eagerly. But they do get to feel wary about the way it has happened. Maybe even a little self-righteous outrage at the treatment. And even getting T.Boone’d:

You liked the addition of TCU to the Big 12. What about the possibility of West Virginia?

Well, I’ve got to be convinced on West Virginia. I haven’t seen anything on the school. But TCU was easy. That was like coming home.

What are your concerns about West Virginia?

Morgantown … as I remember, you’ve got to fly into Pittsburgh and then drive a couple hours. That’s pretty isolated.

West Virginia would like you to know that it is only a 90 minute drive. Not a full 2 hours. Plus, they do so have their own airport. Everyone still uses prop planes to get around the country, right? Don’t worry. Give the invite and WV politicians will find the money to pay for airport expansion.

By the way, how funny is it that T. Boone Pickens. The man who’s school is in Stillwater. The man who’s conference has such other cosmopolitan and easily accessed places like Manhattan, Kansas, Ames, Iowa and Lubbock, Texas finds Morgantown, isolated.

Now the political involvement by Senator Mitch McConnell seemed quite sudden based on early reports. Prompting the measured, calm and non-partisan reactions you would expect from a Senator that while governor of West Virginia meddled in WVU’s coaching contracts, helped hire Bill Stewart, mandated the Coal Bowl between WVU and Marshall, and appointed his puppet as school president. Well, at least after someone apparently told him to shut-up, because he wasn’t helping.

Turns out, Senator McConnell wasn’t acting at the 11th hour. He apparently has been pushing Louisville to the Big 12 for several weeks. Great piece, plenty of details.

Sources familiar with the Big 12 Conference’s deliberations said McConnell has been quietly doing his bidding for Louisville behind the scenes — even as West Virginia was thought to have the inside edge at joining the conference. For weeks, he’s methodically called up top university officials and presidents to make the case for Louisville, talking up the university’s state-of-the-art facilities, how his hometown is a sports friendly city that can easily host visitors for major events, according to people involved with the talks.

Which may explain that for the past couple of weeks, before Texas decided on WVU a sudden change in reports, Louisville was considered the leading candidate to come in to Big 12 to replace Mizzou when they left.

Meanwhile, the Big East — for lack of a better word — leadership has been making its rounds to pitch Air Force, Boise State and possibly BYU to join the Big East. UCF has authorized their president the right to join the Big East (or, you know, anyone else who might call). And just because, a Tennessee congressman took a minute on the House floor to beg the Big East to let Memphis join.





OK, so it’s 21 mil. And I saw that before. Thats what I get for posting with a hang over and not staying current on the board.

Ug.

Comment by thestumper 10.29.11 @ 9:45 am

When you’re on the Titanic, you don’t stick around to get another look at the view, you get the hell off the ship!!!

Comment by Dan 10.29.11 @ 10:13 am

Hey Big Guy, why would we want to win another Big East Championship anyways????

We allready won one last year, right???? LOL!!!

Comment by Dan 10.29.11 @ 10:16 am

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