Pardon me for being a little negative, but as a lifelong West Virginia Mountaineers fan, I absolutely detest our team being in the Big 12 Conference.
My displeasure has absolutely nothing against the other member-schools of the conference and everything to do with the fact that we’re just not a compatible fit for each other.
For starters, it just doesn’t make much sense that the Mountain State’s flagship university is playing teams from Texas, Oklahoma, Iowa and Kansas on a weekly basis; Not to mention the incredible level of stress student-athletes must endure playing in a conference where the nearest opponent is +700 miles: this is particularly troublesome for students playing basketball.
WVU Basketball coach Bob Huggins recently made reference to this in a teleconference interview: “With a 9PM start time, we’ll get back to the practice facility (in Morgantown) at 5:30 in the morning. How is that in the best interest of our student-athletes?”
The +800 win coach went on to express further dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs by saying, “If everybody else had to do what we do, they’d be a heck of a lot more understanding.”
Another reason why I abhor WVU in the Big XII Conference is because Monday mornings are no longer fun… or dreaded… they’re just blah.
What I mean by this is that back in the Big East days, I could go to work on a Monday and gloat about WVU knocking off Pitt or Virginia Tech falling behind the ‘Eers in the conference standings and actually have individuals dodge my presence when they saw me coming… In other years, I was the one doing the dodging, but it made these games fun and gave them something they’re now missing – nowadays, we’re playing a bunch of teams no one in the nearest 600 miles cares about.
“Yes, you beat some state college 1,500 miles away… nobody cares.” Yawn.
This is something fans of a Texas or Oklahoma or Kansas based school simply do not understand, but it’s one that all Mountaineer fans know too well… sports isn’t fun when you have no one to share it with, and we presently have no one to share the joy or sorrow of our season: outside of WVU fans, no other schools’ followers could really care less about whether we won or lost the previous week.
There are dozens of other reasons why I dislike our present marriage with Boomer Sooner (I still have no clue what that even means), the Cowboys, the Bears, and the Longhorns (though I would certainly miss using the hashtag #HornsDown if we ever left the conference!), but for the sake of time, these will suffice.
But what do we do? Thanks to the multi-million dollar exit fees and a new era of Power 5 FBS football, our options have been pretty limited, so I’ve done my best to grin and bear our new conference… even if it does mean watching games called by those pesky Big XII refs.
But now there is a tiny ray of hope — very, very small, but there is at least a possible way out: convince both the SEC and BIG XII to trade Missouri for West Virginia.
The thought is the brainchild of the Knoxville News Sentinel’s John Adams.
“The SEC could send Missouri back to the Big 12 and take West Virginia in return. The SEC could even send a few hundred thousand dollars the Big 12’s way just to make the deal more appealing… The exchange would make more geographic sense for both conferences. Adding West Virginia to the SEC East also would help balance a league that is tilted decidedly to the West.”
Despite being embarrassed in their bowl game against Miami, the Mountaineers finished the 2016 football season with 10 wins. And though they certainly weren’t ready for Bama, they would have definitely held their own in the SEC. Mizzou on the other hand, finished the season at 4-8… with one of those losses being against WVU by a score of 26-11.
In basketball, WVU would give the SEC some much-needed competition on top, being ranked #7 in the nation and boasting of a 12-1 overall record, including handing UVA their first homecourt loss in nearly two years.
To put it frankly, the SEC screwed up when they selected the Tigers over the Mounties, but with a little bit of cash, they just might be able to straighten this mess out for everyone: sending Missouri back to the Big XII and putting West Virginia back in its own time zone.
During the last conference realignment, the nation’s colleges and conferences lost their minds — here’s to hoping common sense wins for a change!
Share this article with your friends on Facebook: