HAD WEST Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck started a frequent flier account just six months ago, he'd probably have zipped through silver, gold and platinum status to chairman's preferred.He's followed his son, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck. He's attended business meetings. Just this week, he's been to New York for the Big 12 meetings on Monday and Tuesday and to Orlando, Fla., on Thursday for ESPN's Home Depot College Football Awards show, during which Andrew was honored with the Walter Camp Award. On Saturday, he'll be in New York again for the Heisman Trophy ceremonies.Of course, he can use the miles when WVU joins the Big 12. But had the Mountaineers stayed with the Big East, they'd come in handy with Boise State, San Diego State, Houston, SMU and Central Florida now joining the league.Luck, in case you're wondering, said he's not attended Big East meetings since his school's announced departure. The question posed, however, in light of the Big East news and Big 12 meeting, was whether the latter is considering expanding beyond 10 teams. If so, it seems, time is of the essence.
It would make sense for the Big 12 to move to 12 schools and give itself the option of staging a championship football game, whether it does so in the immediate future or not. If those in the Big East are targets for the Big 12, they will be locked into media rights contracts in the near future."Everybody's discussing the best conference size," Luck said Thursday. "There are different opinions. Some like nine conference games where teams play every other team and you have a true [football] champion. Some like championships. Some of those held - like in the Big Ten this year - are great. Some are not. I'm not sure what's right or wrong."Luck, calling himself "the new kid on the block," didn't want to reveal what was discussed on the topic at the Big 12 meetings. League interim commissioner Chuck Neinas didn't immediately return a call.Among the issues addressed, though, were the Bowl Championship Series and future television options. A commitment to Kansas City as the host of the men's basketball championship site was made amid doubts cast because of Missouri's departure.What Luck would talk about was the state of the BCS."There's some growing interest in what they call the plus-one scenario," said the AD. "A lot are now interested that a few years back weren't supportive."They call it a plus-one, but really it's four teams with semifinals and finals. This year, it would have been Stanford-LSU and Alabama-Oklahoma State with a final following."There's also much talk about ditching the automatic BCS qualifying spots given to six conferences. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany, for one, has said he'd be fine with getting rid of the AQ bids. But he and Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick said they'd resist the four-team playoff.The four-team playoff, of course, would be a nice step toward a logical, normal playoff, which is held at every other level of football."I'm supportive of both [eliminating the AQ bids and the four-team playoff]," Luck said. "You look at the schools now in the Top 10 not in BCS bowls: Arkansas, South Carolina, Boise State, Kansas State ... that they're getting passed over stinks."I realize this year I'm talking against the interest of [Orange Bowl-bound] WVU, but who can argue against earning your bowl?"
Luck, by the way, would not address the rumors that Mountaineer defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel might leave to join Rich Rodriguez in Arizona - other than to say, "Jeff is under contract with us and I expect him to be here not just this year, but beyond."A call to Casteel was not immediately returned. Rodriguez, however, seems to be trying his best to get his old band together. Four assistants to Rodriguez at WVU and Michigan - Calvin Magee, Tony Gibson, Tony Dews and Rod Smith - have been hired, and there's rumor ex-Mountaineer line coach Greg Frey, like Smith, might also be on his way to the desert from Indiana.Rodriguez indicated he'd like to complete his staff by the end of next week.nn
And finally . . .
WVU sports marketing director Matt Wells said on Thursday that Orange Bowl ticket sales "have really been steady."Wells said the school was required to take 17,500 tickets and have sold 5,300. He added that with 1,200 to 1,500 to be used by the school, a total of 6,800 have been accounted for.Season-ticket holders and donors were given priority before sales were opened to the general public. Tickets may be bought online now. Wells also said leftover tickets will be channeled through veterans organizations to make tickets available to those who served in the armed forces.Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, email@example.com
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