Go away, predictors of doom.
We’ve had enough of you.
Yes, the face of college athletics seems to be on the verge of changing, but who is to say the change will destroy what West Virginia University has spent years building?
Certainly not me.
If you want to know the truth, the best thing that could happen to West Virginia would be to go from a shattered Big East, picked clean by Big Ten expansion, to the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Let us first understand that something is going to happen. That is irrefutable for the dollar signs demand it. The Big Ten will expand.
My own guess is that if they get Notre Dame they will stop there, with a 12-team league, for they will have accomplished what they set out to do, that being creating a television network that sells in the big East Coast cities.
If not they might add three teams — Missouri, Nebraska and someone from the Big East, Pitt or Rutgers.
Of course, they could just go ahead and savage both the Big East and the Big 12 and take Missouri, Nebraska, Pitt, Rutgers and Notre Dame or Syracuse.
If that final scenario occurs, it would almost certainly force the ACC and the SEC to expand to 16 teams and the Pac-10 to go to at least 12 teams.
How would the conference lineups look?
ACC: North Division – Boston College, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Wake Forest, Connecticut, Syracuse, Louisville. South Division – Miami, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Clemson, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Duke, South Florida.
SEC: East: Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, South Carolina, Vanderbilt and maybe Cincinnati, Central Florida or Memphis. West: Alabama, LSU, Texas, Oklahoma, Auburn, Arkansas, Mississippi, Mississippi State.
Pac-10: Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State, Cal, USC, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State, Stanford, BYU and Boise State. The conference also could add TCU and Utah for a 14-team conference and go to northern and southern divisions.
That would leave a weakened Big 12, which may have to cut back to a conference with Kansas and Kansas State, Colorado, Baylor, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Iowa State.
Obviously, all of this isn’t going to happen as stated here. Of course, if it did I’d be the first to nominate me to be the next head of the NCAA.
But let’s get back to WVU.
They are being left out of the Big Ten’s talk because the only thing they can’t provide is television ratings for the Big Ten Network, which now drives that conference. WVU is popular, but not populated.
It is as simple as that.
However, WVU does deliver in all other areas, including being competitive across the board in any conference, having a passionate following and possessing great tradition. It is a school that had done things the right way and that has taken its football, men’s and women’s basketball and soccer programs and put them on a national level.
And if Pitt is to leave to the Big Ten, renewing its rivalry with Penn State and destroying the rivalry it has with WVU, then where better to wind up than in a conference that offers rivalry games against Maryland and Virginia Tech, each already etched into Mountaineer history.
Toss in occasional conference matchups with Miami and Florida State, while renewing its football meetings with Boston College, and you have a far superior football situation than you had in the Big East.
And as for basketball, to be honest while the Big East is a great conference, WVU has nothing — zero, zilch — in common with Providence or St. John’s or Seton Hall or Georgetown or how many other schools in the conference.
The ACC, with the addition of WVU, Syracuse, Louisville and Connecticut, would become the power basketball conference in the country.
No one would even be close, not even the Big East, which loses its depth and, to be honest, its best teams in recent years.
Even if the Big Ten were to land Notre Dame and expand by five teams, if WVU winds up in the ACC with anything similar to the scenario painted here, it would be playing in the nation’s best conference when you take an overview of all sports.
So, to that I say, bring it on Big Ten.
E-mail Bob Hertzel at firstname.lastname@example.org.