If West Virginia is the SEC's 14th member…
Even though we are getting ready for Week 2 of the new college football season, conference realignment talk has not gone away.
In fact, it's only in its beginning stages.
With Texas A&M set to announce its move to the SEC on Wednesday, Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com tweeted late Tuesday night that West Virginia has emerged on the radar as a potential 14th member of Mike Slive's conference. A&M's move and the SEC's expansion then puts the Oklahoma administration officially on the clock with the fate of the Big 12 in the Sooners' hands.
Dana Holgorsen coaching in the SEC? It could happen.
The SEC's interest in the Mountaineers and its possible unwillingness to pursue Missouri could be due to its fear of being perceived as the reason for the collapse of the Big 12. However, the Big 12 is already on the verge of collapsing because of Oklahoma's possible move to the Pac-12.
So would the SEC really pass up an opportunity to grab Missouri, which along with Virginia Tech was projected as one of the stronger contenders to become the expanded league's 14th team?
First, however, Pac-12 presidents and officials may have to determine if they are even interested in the juggernaut based in Norman.
On Tuesday morning, Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News reported that the Pac-12 presidents and chancellors were not keen on expanding their league and that their preference is for the Texas A&M-to-the-SEC move to fall through, keeping the Big 12 intact so that the current landscape can remain for as long as possible.
A&M is, however, set to move on. OU and Texas, though, have reportedly been discussing the possibility of remaining in the Big 12 and keeping the conference together for the time being.
It has been reported in the past that the SEC's television partners want any expansion candidates to reside in markets not currently covered by current league members while university presidents of the league's member schools would prefer any prospective 14th member to reside in a state not yet represented by the conference (i.e. no Florida State or Georgia Tech because of Florida and Georgia, etc.).
Regading the possibility of the Mountaineers being invited by the SEC, there's no question that West Virginia has been able to assemble talented rosters over the years despite often underachieving in the Big East. But how successful can this program be in the beastly SEC on an annual basis? Possibly a consistent eight- or nine-game winner? Double-digits?
The byproduct of West Virginia's possible move would be the weakening of the Big East. If OU, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech did jump to the Pac-12, the Big 12's remaining members would be ripe for the taking. Thus, Missouri would be a great fit to take over for West Virginia in the Big East, especially because of its St. Louis and Kansas City TV markets. With the Tigers, the Big East would stay alive.
But what if the Big Ten wanted to grab Pittsburgh or Rutgers? And the ACC wanted UConn and Syracuse for their basketball programs? Even with Mizzou and some of its fellow former Big 12 members, I'm not sure Big East football can survive.
The one thing the Big East does have in its favor, however, is that it is primed for a huge television deal in 2012. Commissioner John Marinatto and league presidents bypassed an extension with ESPN, likely because it wanted Versus/NBC Sports Network to get involved. But will it be too late? Will there be a league in place to net a new deal?
It remains to be seen just how interested the SEC may be in the Mountaineers. One thing is clear, however: conference realignment talk will continue to drag on on for awhile.
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