Morgantown, West Virginia – The Big 12 Conference is imploding and West Virginia has a few options:
- Stay in the Big 12 and hope that the conference can pull programs in to replace Texas and Oklahoma, and still somehow manage to remain a Power 5 conference.
- Seek membership in the ACC, Big Ten or SEC
- Wait around while the Big 12 conference fully falls apart and be relegated to Conference USA or the AAC.
It’s important to understand that both Bob Huggins and Neal Brown don’t want anything to do with #1 or #3. Neither of those options make long-term sense for either the football or basketball program, and would ultimately lead to the downfall of West Virginia athletics.
Bob Huggins and Neal Brown will not offer their thoughts on the matter, so this is our best guess at what they are currently thinking right now.
Bob Huggins – Bob Huggins has never particularly liked being a part of the Big 12 for a variety of reasons but mostly the travel.
The challenge of moving to the ACC would have to be very compelling and invigorating for Huggins. Playing North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke in Durham is as exciting as it gets in college basketball and Huggins would almost certainly be thrilled with the move.
In addition, Huggins loves playing and beating Pitt, and a potential move to the ACC would give him an opportunity to defeat the Panthers every year.
Neal Brown – Brown would prefer the ACC to the Big 12 for recruiting and travel purposes, but ultimately he has his eyes set on the SEC. The SEC is the undisputed power conference in college football and Brown has big ambitions for his football program.
Although the SEC is out of the question at this point, in an ideal world that’s where Brown would want the Mountaineers. Having said that, Brown would welcome a move to the ACC to compete against geographical and traditional rivals.
Neither Brown or Huggins will admit it, but the inevitable dissolution of the Big 12 is an exciting albeit scary situation for them. This could be a very trying time for both programs if they fail to gain membership into one of the Power 5 conferences (ACC), but it could also be the beginning of something very special and program-defining for West Virginia University.