MORGANTOWN - Cleaning out a crowded notebook and a cluttered mind while trying for the life of me to figure out if Missouri's long-awaited and now-official departure from the Big 12 to the SEC is good, bad or indifferent as it pertains to West Virginia:The answer to that brain-teaser? Well, I don't think anyone really knows.It could be good, of course, in that the Big 12 now actually has an opening for WVU. Or so it would appear. Interim commissioner Chuck Neinas, last week in Morgantown, said the Big 12 was prepared to play football with 10 schools or 11 next season (Mizzou being the wild card), but 10 is what they wanted. It's just such a tidy number, even if in a full round-robin it means unbalanced home and away schedules (five teams will have five home games, the other five will have four).Then again, it could be bad because now West Virginia presumably MUST play in the Big 12 next season. And that's something in which a court - or even courts - might have more of a say than WVU itself.Or, more than likely, it might not mean squat. In that regard, see above under courts. The legal entities who are sure to become engaged in whatever actions are brought - judges, attorneys, mediators; who knows, maybe even juries - aren't likely to find much relevance in how many schools the Big 12 has. This is still WVU v. Big East.What I fail to grasp most, however, is the role of the SEC. OK, maybe role isn't the right word. How about the stance of the SEC?During the summer, when Texas A&M was trying to get out of the Big 12 and into the SEC, the SEC washed its hands of the entire drama. The league even went so far as to say that it would under no circumstances accept the Aggies if there was even a chance that legal action could result on behalf of the Big 12 or any of its members. Only when all of the legal issues were settled was A&M invited to the SEC, and that after having withdrawn from the Big 12 months before.
And now comes Missouri, which went straight to the SEC from a Big 12 that has maintained that the Tigers are obligated to stick around for another year. Granted, if West Virginia is able to join by next summer, the Big 12 would be more than happy to release Missouri early, but isn't that still a question mark?Has the SEC been given assurances that there will be no hang-ups in Missouri joining right away? Or has the league simply been assured that it won't be involved in any legal wrangling between Mizzou and the Big 12?The thought here is that the SEC knows that Missouri won't be playing in the Big 12 next year and that's all that matters. But it puts even more pressure on West Virginia to get out of the Big East right away by any means possible.nn
Anyone for the Curse of Conference Realignment?Those who believe in such things have a pretty strong case. The latest exhibit is West Virginia holding a Big 12 press conference on Tuesday and then losing a basketball game to a Division II team on Friday and a football game to two-touchdown underdog Louisville on Saturday.And don't think for a moment that this is isolated.Pitt and Syracuse announced on a Saturday morning that they were leaving the Big East for the ACC. By the end of that very day Syracuse had been pummeled by Southern California, and its only win in a three-game span beginning then was over Toledo, helped by a official's blown call. On the day Pitt jumped ship, the Panthers blew a fourth-quarter lead at Iowa and lost four of five.Boston College and Miami have been gawd-awful for the most part since moving from the Big East to the ACC (BC played in two ACC title games but lost both and Miami hasn't even made it to one yet), and Virginia Tech has been roughly the same before and after. Colorado is 1-9 in its first year in the Pac-12 and Nebraska lost its first-ever Big Ten game to Wisconsin, 48-17.
Oh, and Missouri is 4-5 and Texas A&M is 5-4 as they prepare to exit the Big 12. The latter has made an art form of blowing late leads and it was a shock, when those two met a week ago, that either won.And just so you know, since the BCS originated in 1995-96 as the Bowl Alliance (we won't count the earlier Bowl Coalition because it included the Gator, Sun and Cotton bowls), there have been 68 major bowl games played involving 46 different schools.Of the 136 appearances by those 46 schools in 68 BCS bowl games, exactly four (0.03 percent) have been by a school after switching from one BCS conference to another in the last two decades. All four were by Virginia Tech, and the Hokies lost three of them.Not sure what any of that means, but if you believe in curses you probably should know these things.Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or firstname.lastname@example.org