AS THE Missouri Watch continued on Monday, college football heads across the nation were scratched.What the heck is going on? Isn't Missouri the "Show Me" state?Show us.All indicators said the Tigers were headed to the Southeastern Conference. "It's 'when,' not 'if' for MU move to SEC," read one St. Louis Post-Dispatch headline.There was talk the Big 12 was making a last-ditch effort to keep the Tigers, presenting an "enticement package." Most, however, agree the move has been set.Most also agree the Big 12 won't dawdle when the Missouri exit is finally announced.West Virginia could be invited to join the league in short order. "Reports surfaced over the weekend that West Virginia has become the league's leading expansion candidate," wrote Blair Kerkoff of the Kansas City Star. "A source confirmed that to The Star on Sunday."If WVU is extended an invitation, expect the school to move much more quickly than Missouri.Don't misunderstand that. West Virginia president Jim Clements and athletic director Oliver Luck won't jump blindly. There will be too much to consider in regard to travel cost and effect on the loyal Mountaineer fan base to do so.West Virginia will want to examine any offer in regard to television money. It will want to know exactly which schools are in and what the conference is going to look like.
With the Big 12, that's a vital question. Will the conference take in WVU and stop at 10 members? Will it also gather in WVU's Big East peers Louisville and Cincinnati? It would be nice for those in Morgantown to avoid airfare once in a while.West Virginia will need to have a full understanding of the Big 12's media grant-of-rights setup.What about a divisional proposal?Keep in mind Luck has a law degree from Texas. Graduated cum laude in 1987. He's a smart guy.There are considerations. Numbers matter.
That said, if the numbers line up, if the Big 12 offers more to WVU than the Big East, expect there to be no drawn-out process - a la the "Show Me" state.nn
West Virginia officials, by the way, have been helping the Big East in its effort to rebuild. They won't, however, back a proposal that would stretch the league to Hawaii.According to the Boston Globe, the league is part of a proposed 28-to-32-team super conference that would include both the Mountain West and Conference USA.Those in Morgantown, however, aren't buying into that line of thinking."What would the upside to that be?" said one source, who asked to remain anonymous. "The best strategy is to add the six schools identified."
The six schools expected to be invited into the Big East are Boise State, Navy, Air Force, Central Florida, Houston and SMU.Realize, though, that those schools are also being careful. Boise State has proven it can land a BCS berth without being in a BCS conference. The service academies aren't going to be playing for a national championship anytime soon. So those three, anyway, have options.It will be nice, however, when all the schools in this realignment shift decide which option to take.Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, firstname.lastname@example.org
or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.