Morgantown, West Virginia – Make no mistake about it, the Big 12 Conference as we know it is dead.
An emergency conference call was held yesterday evening with all of the Big 12 leaders invited, and Oklahoma and Texas representatives chose not to attend, making it known that they have one foot out the door to the SEC.
Losing Oklahoma and Texas is obviously monumental because they are the two most important programs in the Big 12, and it’s unlikely that the Big 12 can remain a Power 5 conference in their absence, regardless of what other schools they attempt to bring in from other conferences.
UCF, Houston, Cincinnati and BYU have been mentioned as potential replacements for Oklahoma and Texas, but the Big 12 is clearly desperate and grasping at straws. Any combination of those teams joining – if in fact they would be interested in joining the Big 12 – would simply not be good enough for the new Big 12 Conference to remain a Power 5 conference.
In other words, West Virginia is on a sinking ship and an exit plan is necessary right now.
College football analyst Pat Forde described the remaining teams in the Big 12 as the “Tagalong Eight” with little to no hope for a relevant future in the college football landscape.
With that said, West Virginia is perfectly equipped to handle this mess with Director of Athletics Shane Lyons and university president Gordon Gee, who will not sit idly by as their future is destroyed.
Best Case Scenario for West Virginia
The ACC is such a no-brainer for West Virginia. Geographically, it’s a perfect fit and would immediately bolster recruiting. Travel for West Virginia’s passionate fanbase would be made easier. Rivalries with regional schools like Pitt, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and old Big East rivals Miami, Syracuse, Boston College, almost makes too much sense.
For this to happen, West Virginia will need to prove their worthiness to the ACC, and Lyons and Gee will certainly be able to make a compelling case.
The potential addition of West Virginia would make fifteen teams, so the ACC would need another willing school to join as well. The ACC has openly stated that it would like Notre Dame, but Cincinnati makes a lot of sense if Notre Dame is unwilling to join.
The absolute best case scenario for West Virginia is the ACC with either Cincinnati or Notre Dame joining as well.
Worse Case Scenario for West Virginia
Remaining in the Big 12 Conference would be a disaster for West Virginia and any of the remaining programs in the conference. Without Texas and Oklahoma, unfortunately the conference is not much better than the current American Athletic Conference (AAC) and would almost certainly lose its Power 5 distinction.
While it’s understandable for the Big 12 to try to rally the troops and do what it can to stay afloat, West Virginia cannot and must not stay in this lost cause of a conference that will soon be in shambles.
To remain relevant, West Virginia must focus its entire attention on the ACC, the place where it belongs and where it should have always been.