SEC & Big 12: Swap Missouri & West Virginia?

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Photo courtesy: Dale Sparks
Photo courtesy: Dale Sparks

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!

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12 COMMENTS

  1. TCU fans can relate. In the Mountain Conference we couldn’t make any away games without getting on a plane. Now in big 12 we have three opponents within 200 miles and I personally went to all the TCU games other than West Virginia. The problem is college sports are catering to the TV market more than the attendance market.

  2. While this IS a good idea, theres no way on earth Missouri would want to return to the Big 12. They left the league to get away from Texas. The only way the Tigers would leave the SEC is for the B10.

    OTOH, the best landing place for WVU is the ACC. Its biggest rivals are already there, and, they’d be title contenders in almost every sport straight away. I know thats not happening either, but, as a UNC fan, I’d LOVE to see the Mountaineers in this league. The fit is so perfect its ridiculous.

  3. I think the ACC would make more sense (although they don’t have anyone to trade). We should be playing Pitt and VaTech every year. Oklahoma and Texas have great traditions, but it doesnt really mean much if we beat them (especially now that Texas is in a lull).

  4. We are TCU are glad to have WVU in the Big 12. In fact, since we can in together, I feel like WVU is a sibling more than a rival. Like a poster stated above, we completely understand. In the MWC, New Mexico was the closest school, a 90 minute flight. The “meat” of the league BYU, Utah (back then), UNLV, SDSU, San Jose State, Nevada, averaged 2.5-3 hour plane rides and 1am charters back to DFW for the team arriving at 6am!

    We love having WVU in the Big 12. And yes, TCU fans agree about “pesky” Bif 12 refs.

  5. Boo hoo hoo. You can’t brag on your team winning. Cry me a river through the App mtns.

    You say that the SEC made a mistake by choosing Mizzou over WVU, and you use this past years win over the tigers as justification? Mizzou is in a rebuilding year with a new coach. That’s like the redskins bragging they run the nfc east by beating the eagles (thank you Stephen A. for waking the Redskins up). Mizzou proved that they were the right choice when they won the SEC East title twice in the their first 3 years in the Conf.

  6. Part of the reason you were not asked into the SEC was you couldn’t fill a stadium when you played LSU. In a revenue sharing league you need to sell out every game or the other schools get ticked off you aren’t earning your keep. You would be a better fit with your Big East pals in the ACC.

  7. I’m sure the SEC would want to give up ONE of their top academic schools, which is an AAU accredited university (1 of only 4 in SEC) . . . in exchange for the academia likes of WVU. Yeah right. Not to mention the TV markets. I can see the heads at the SEC saying “You know what. I think we should trade the Kansas City and St. Louis TV markets, for Morgantown”. I understand school loyalty, but don’t be a dumb ass about it. There is more to conference structure besides geography and on field play. Also Mizzou has been East Division Champs twice, in the five years they’ve been in the SEC. How many big 12 titles does WVU have? Plus, SEC has no penalty for leaving, nor can the other schools push them out. Mizzou is banking ten times more in SEC than they were in BIg 12. Mainly cause Texas screws the other BIg 12 teams, by giving them their table scraps. In the SEC they all share funds, the split SEC Network revenue, etc. Keep dreaming, but WVU is stuck, until the big 12 implodes again. And yes ACC or Big Ten make more sense anyways.

  8. ACC YES!!! Good football, basketball & baseball. SEC has football and some baseball. Basketball is a bit hoo-hum.

  9. No way this swap would happen. WVU was left holding the bag in the last flurry of conference realignments a few years ago and were fortunate to find a spot in the Big 12. SEC, ACC and Big 10 all passed on WVU because of reasons previously mentioned…no strong TV markets, weak recruiting area, below par academic institution. That was a shame for WVU student-athletes because the travel is demanding. When Texas shuts down the Longhorn Network and bolts for Pac 12 in the coming years, then things will get interesting as Big 12 falls apart. Maybe WVU ends up in Big 10 or ACC then. SEC will go after Oklahoma and Va Tech to get to 16 schools.

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