Monday, October 17, 2011

Conference Realignment 2011: Missouri inching closer to the SEC

It looks like WVU's only way out of the Big East now is the Big 12, following Pete Thamel's report in thes New York Times that Missouri's application to the SEC is "inevitable and imminent." This comes after the news earlier today that WVU is expected to vote "yes" to double the Big East exit fee.

Thamel goes on to write that once Missouri sends the application, it should be a done deal.

He writes...
After Missouri applies, the person said that it expects “no problems” with gathering enough votes among SEC presidents to become a member.
The Missouri board of Curators is expected to meet later this week, writes Thamel.

So, things are starting to move quickly, and expect the Big East to send out invitations this week. WVU will now have to either wait to become the 15th or 16th member of the SEC when the conferences go SUPER. They can hope for an invitation to the Big 12, which certainly looks better now. Or, they could stay in the Big East, with an uncertain future. The plot thickens...

Conference Realignment 2011: WVU to vote yes for increasing Big East Buyout

Dave Hickman is reporting that WVU will indeed vote in favor of increasing the Big East buyout to $ 10 million. It was originally $ 5 million.

So, what does this mean for WVU? It could mean that WVU isn't going anywhere. They will be the football anchor in a conference with incredible instability, and one that may not have a future. Of course, the Big East looks much better with the Mountaineers, so this is huge news for the much beleaguered conference. A much easier case to keep its AQ status.

However, this could also mean that WVU doesn't want to burn any bridges. You would think that the school could spend the 10 million if they actually were invited to the SEC or the Big 12. Maybe they stay in the Big East, maybe they make the move. At least this way may keep it clean.

The only true info to take from this is the fact that the Big East could be sending out invites this week. Stay tuned...

It's Gameweek! Week 8 Primer

Matchup: West Virginia at Syracuse

When: Friday, 8p, ESPN

Line: WVU -14.5

West Virginia Players to Watch:
Geno Smith, QB: 2159 yards, 16 TD, 3 INT
Tavon Austin, WR: 42 rec, 562 yards, 2 TD, 1 return TD
Stedman Bailey, WR: 34 rec, 634 yards, 5 TD
Terrence Garvin, S: 38 total tackles, 2.5 sacks, 2 INT

Syracuse Players to Watch:
Ryan Nassib, QB: 1294 yards, 11 TD, 4 INT
Antwon Bailey, RB: 663 total yards, 4.5 YPR, 5 TD
Nick Provo, TE: 22 rec, 265 yards, 2 TD
Phillip Thomas, S: 46 total tackles, 2.5 TFL, 3 INT


How do both teams respond to a bye week? WVU has been on a roll. Will the bye week slow the Mountaineers down, or will hitting the film room bring a more efficient offense? Meanwhile, Syracuse has struggled to put a full game together. A week off may have been a welcome sight for the coaching staff, and the banged up defense.

Will the Mountaineers go right back to the air? They probably should. Syracuse is allowing nearly 300 pass yards a contest. However, the Orange are also giving up around 100 rushing yards per game too, so WVU will have options. Look for Dana Holgorsen to mix and match early on. If the running game gets going it's hard to think that Geno can be stopped.

Have Special Teams turned the corner? The unit was fantastic against Connecticut. Punting improved, coverage improved, placekicking was outstanding, and the return is fine. After five-plus years of futility has a light finally turned on? Or, was it just one of those "good" days? Only time will tell. Even an average performance against Syracuse would be a good sign of things to come.

Playing in the dome is always a treat. If Syracuse can get a good crowd, WVU will have to deal with some solid noise. The Mountaineers will have a lot of people lining up who haven't played in the dome, including Geno. And, let's not forget that the Orange won in Morgantown last year. The rivalry may be dying soon too, with Syracuse going to the ACC, so look for both teams to get after it early.