Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Looking Forward to the Big 12

Trips to New Jersey and Connecticut will now be replaced with trips to Texas and Oklahoma if the news of WVU heading to the Big 12 is true. I, for one an excited about the new step for the Mountaineers, and look forward to those trips to the heartland and south.

WVU's football program should fit in well. They will be competitive wherever you put them, and let's not forget the last time they played a team from the Big 12 it was in the Fiesta Bowl...a game I'm sure Oklahoma fans would like to forget (Yes, I know WVU played Colorado twice, but they are gone). Sure, a lot has changed since then, but the fact that WVU is 2-0 in BCS games, shows they will not back down to anyone.

Dana Holgorsen also has some serious connections in the Big 12 world. Holgorsen has been on staffs at both Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, where you can still see plenty of his influence. He also knows the recruiting grounds of the conference, which should help expand WVU's recruiting base. Holgs has already been able to snag players like Dustin Garrison and Paul Millard, so we'll see if it continues.

Basketball is a different story. There is the chance for WVU to roll right in and be a major conference player. Not that football can't be that, but this is a Mountaineer basketball program that has been one of the more consistent performers recently. Since 2005, WVU has been to four Sweet 16's, one resulting in a trip to the Final Four, and an NIT Championship in the only year they missed the Tournament. There's no doubt this program will remain competitive with Bob Huggins at the helm.

As for the Women's team, Mike Carey continues to get premier talent, and has been a serious player in the Big East for the past decade. Look for the Lady Mounties to continue to stay competitive in another deep conference.

The Mountaineer Women's Soccer program will be a team to beat yearly in the Big 12 as well. The perennial Big East power will join a deep conference that has five teams in the RPI Top-50. WVU (26th in RPI) should make an immediate impact in the conference, the bigger question is what will happen to the Men's team? The Big 12 doesn't have Men's soccer. Maybe an invite to Conference USA?

The Olympic sports will be in for some great competition as well. The Big 12 is very strong in practically all of them, and should only help the WVU compete level. This is certainly an exciting time for Mountaineer athletics, and things will be looking differently soon enough.

As for the Big East, I will say that it is sad to see the conference dying. There's not much better in sports than the Big East Championship at the Garden in March every year. It's hard to believe that the event may be close to death. Sadly, the Big East brass just wasn't up to the task of understanding how important the football side was. As we all know football is King, but not to certain individuals in Newport, RI. I can't but think this all could have been avoided, but WVU had to lookout for its own interests...and the Big East is just too unstable.

Okay, I'm ready to mess with Texas!

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