A few tidbits, and things I think.
I must say the move by West Virginia University from the Big East to the Big 12 is looking better all the time. I mean the move always looked good to me, but there were the concerns about geography and the hefty cash settlement needed to exit the Big East was perceived to be a problem. Now that the dust has settled a bit, and the NCAA is rumored to be considering drastic changes to the BCS, West Virginia looks to be in a comfortable spot.
It’s not like the inbred, toothless hillbilly jokes about West Virginia and its citizens will ever be eradicated from the world in which we live, but I am truly surprised at how welcoming the schools and fans of those Big 12 schools have been to WVU. Sure there are some snipers out there firing off some barbs, but they are tame in comparison to what we’ve become accustomed to from some of our former rivals in the northeast.
Yes, it is brisket and ribs now, and you’d be advised not to arrive with the collar up on your polo. Everyone I’ve either spoken to or corresponded with via electronic media from the Big 12 region of the country has basically said, come on down and enjoy our hospitality. Yes, it could be a trap, but I hope to find out in October. For now, I appreciate what appears to be an overwhelming acceptance of WVU into a very solid athletic conference.
During the latest round of NCAA meetings, word surfaced that the NCAA would likely have a four team playoff as early as 2013, but probably 2014. In the end there has been no conclusion because, not surprisingly, those that attend these meetings turn something relatively simple into something complicated. Things like do they take the four best teams or four conference champs? How then, do they determine the four best? Does a team get awarded home field for a semi-final game?
Of course these questions need answered, but one gets the feeling there is more discord about these questions than necessary. For the record, I still like my eight team model and I think taking eight teams would help the committees work through the “how do we select the teams?” process more seamlessly, but I regress. A four team deal is better that what we have now.
Hand in hand with the playoff possibility are reports that there may be no more automatic qualifiers for the BCS bowls by 2013 or 2014. Obviously the Big East will be adversely affected because its automatic bid is the only reason it has had a team in a BCS bowl most years, including WVU this past season. This is another reason the move to the Big 12 by WVU was a good one.
Pencil in the ACC as the next conference that will suffer from non AQ status. Count Virginia Tech, Florida State and Clemson as serious football schools in the ACC. NC State perhaps falls in there, while Miami and North Carolina have to prove they can recover from recent scandals within their respective programs. Anyway, ACC teams could struggle for BCS berths if the conference continues to weaken in football. An FSU or Clemson could get bypassed because of a poor strength of schedule.
It is with that in mind I toss this out. Rumors have been circulating for some time FSU and Clemson are targets of the Big 12. At one time it was suggested that they were being targeted as the 13th and 14th teams to the Big 12. That was before the non AQ talk and the huge TV contract the Big 12 recently negotiated.
Brigham Young and Louisville were getting the lion’s share of attention as the 11th and 12th teams because of their availability. Last week the Big 12 hired Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby as its commissioner and Bowlsby is expected to aggressively pursue expansion, so we should know soon what direction the Big 12 is going to go. I think it’s time to start plucking the feathers of the ACC.