With the assumption that the Missouri Tigers are all but gone to the SEC, the question now turns to the Big 12: What now? It’s a good question raised in wondering what the conference should do at this point as it tries to stay together and remain a power conference behind the performance and presence of Oklahoma and Texas and it’s clear some choices are possibly on the horizon.
One name that’s sticking out is the West Virginia University Mountaineers who Kirk Bohls, writer for the American-Statesman in Austin, is hearing is the top target above anyone else. He writes:
“I think that’s accurate,” one school official told the American-Statesman. “I’d say West Virginia is the leader in the clubhouse. I think we’ll come out better than before. I’d rather be with someone who wants to be with our conference than anybody who doesn’t.”
Asked why the Big 12 would be upgraded, the official said, “West Virginia has better football than Missouri, better basketball than Missouri, a better budget than Missouri and more passion among its fans than Missouri. They’re better, anyway you turn ‘em. The travel’s not good (to Morgantown, W. Va) but that’s it.”
West Virginia certainly has a strong brand in the two major sports, but that travel is going to be brutal on so many Big 12 teams, especially those coming from Texas. The brand is nice but is it so nice that it’s worth that far of a geographic move? I’m not quite sure. Louisville and BYU also stick out and it’s possible the conference adds all three.
West Virginia could be a good addition if the Big 12 also expands with two other teams that far eastward. Then those teams could be grouped together along with a few others to create divisions that make more sense. Until then, this is a stretch.