Morgantown, West Virginia – Zach Barnett’s terrific article “It’s time for the Big 12 to be the Big 12″ touched on several important ideas for the Big 12 Conference moving forward.
To begin, Barnett suggested that the Big 12 should go out and replace Texas and Oklahoma with BYU, Boise State, UCF and Cincinnati today.
BYU is, according to Barnett, the best non-Power 5 school in the country, Boise State is a natural rival to BYU, UCF is young, up-and-coming program and Cincinnati has played in multiple conferences and won everywhere they’ve been.
BYU, Boise State, UCF and Cincinnati added to the remaining eight teams in the Big 12 makes up a pretty respectable conference and is an option that should certainly be considered.
Here’s Barnett’s idea for dividing the conference:
Big 12 East: West Virginia, Cincinnati, UCF, Iowa State, Kansas and Kansas State
Big 12 West: Oklahoma State, Baylor, TCU, Texas Tech, BYU and Boise State
One of the most interesting parts of Texas and Oklahoma leaving is that it instantly makes West Virginia far more important and valuable to the Big 12 Conference.
With the Sooners and Longhorns off to the SEC, West Virginia becomes the most marketable program with the most passionate fanbase in the conference.
In Barnett’s article, he said that he would be interested in moving the conference championship game from Dallas, Texas to Milan Puskar Stadium.
“As for the championship game, the TV viewer in me wants to see a packed, snowy Milan Puskar Stadium on the first Saturday for December instead of a half-full AT&T Stadium…”
A Big 12 Conference game in the snowy hills of West Virginia is far, far more interesting to football fans than a boring game played in Dallas, and it makes a lot of sense financially as well.
If West Virginia remains in the Big 12, it should be given assurance that it will be the new power-player in the conference. Football drives revenue and there isn’t a more historically successful or currently relevant football program in the conference than West Virginia.
Perhaps staying in the Big 12 Conference is the best thing for West Virginia University now and long-term.