Musings Of A Mountain Man: October 19, 2011 - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Musings Of A Mountain Man: October 19, 2011

ITEMS and INSIGHTS on conference realignment as we ponder how there can be self-help groups.
   ITEM: Big East Conference presidents vote unanimously to raise the league's exit fee from $5 million to $10 million.
   INSIGHT: There was some self-help grouping on display Monday night in the balloting to hike the Big East exit fees. Everyone grouped there was trying to help themselves, but not collectively. In fact, the agendas were varied, and in some cases competing.
   It must have been difficult for WVU's Jim Clements to cast his ballot for this measure. His multi-tasking had to require some dexterity.
   We can picture Clements holding his nose with one hand and raising the other in a "yes" vote. This as he pinned a cell phone to his ear with a shoulder trying to contact the Big 12 or Southeastern conferences expansion committees, all the while holding back a grin of pensive insincerity.
   WVU -- and probably Louisville and other programs hoping to bail out of a league that has put the "diss" in dysfunction and took all the "fun" out of it -- was hedging its bet in a high-stakes game of musical chairs when it voted to accept the fee increase.
   IT WAS A FALL-BACK MOVE intended to make the Big East more attractive to the likes of Boise State, Air Force, Navy, Houston, Southern Methodist, Central Florida, et al, when the Big East offers them to join the conference.
   If those schools accepted membership, it would give the Big East 12 football teams in two divisions and a league championship game.
   Such a conference, though not the caliber of the Big 12 or SEC, probably would have enough cache to ensure that the Big East keeps its spot in the lucrative Bowl Championship Series when BCS spots are re-evaluated for two years following the 2013 season.
   It also would place six programs with some national appeal or in major media markets that previously were not in BCS conferences in one.
   This would move them from the group of BCS have-nots to the haves and lessen the number of BCS critics that say it's an elitist, exclusive, greedy, good old boys club -- which, of course, it is.
   THAT SAID, THE BCS IS A CLUB you would much rather be in than out and therein lies the main reason WVU and the other Big East football schools left standing held their noses and voted to raise the exit fees.
   It makes the conference look more stable and gives the appearance that WVU at least has some intentions to stay.
   Without that, there is little chance the Boise States and Houstons of the world will take the plunge into the Big East.
   In case the Big 12 or SEC for whatever reason doesn't come calling, the revamped Big East described above is at least a viable alternative and WVU has to go along and play multi-layer chess at this point.
   We're not prone to spend anyone's money frivolously, but we have to say that considering the potential dire downside of waiting for offers while sitting in an inactive Big East, the $5 million risk is worth taking.
   WE DON'T THINK FOR A MINUTE THAT being on the hook for the extra cash would stop WVU from leaving for the Big 12 or the SEC if an offer to either is made.
   One would have to think that WVU has the necessary means to buy its way out of the Big East if it had the chance.
   Let's be honest.
   Both WVU and Boise State -- the two heavy hitters in the proposed Big East realignment -- have to be aware that such an arrangement might lack permanence.
   If it works out long-term, fine, but both will keep their speed dials ready for calls to other conferences.
   The vote to raise the exit fees was a stop-gap measure. It's hard for us not to think of Big East realignment in the same way.
   That doesn't mean it shouldn't be aggressively pursued because it might be the best option at this point.
   It's not exactly triage, but it's an emergency plan nonetheless, one that might even work.
   ITEM: While agitating to raise the football schools' exit fees to $10 million, the Big East basketball-only schools' exit fees are kept at $5 million. This includes Notre Dame.
   INSIGHT: Do you need evidence other than this that basketball schools such as Providence, Seton Hall, Georgetown, Villanova, etc., view the football schools with contempt?
   Do you need more proof that the basketball-only schools bend over backwards to keep Notre Dame safe in its one-sided sweetheart deal with the Big East -- where it gets to park its basketball and other sports teams in the Big East but doesn't have to commit to football, where it's needed?
   Why aren't the basketball schools' fees being raised? Why not Notre Dame's?
   It's not as if the likes of Providence and Seton Hall have anywhere else to go, or that Notre Dame would leave a league where right now it has its cake and eats it, too, but what's fair is fair.
   The hoops-only crowd doesn't even seem to care about looking equitable.
   ITEM: Notre Dame President Father John Jenkins has been appointed head of the Big East's football expansion committee.
   INSIGHT: What? You're kidding, right?
   Notre Dame is heading the Big East football expansion committee? Notre Dame?
   Do you mean the Notre Dame that could have solved the Big East's football problems years ago by joining the football conference?
   Do you mean the Notre Dame whose football presence could very well have helped the Big East avert the raids by the ACC, but sat idly by and let it happen?
   Do you mean the Notre Dame whose self-serving inaction is largely responsible for the predicament the Big East now finds itself?
   DO YOU MEAN THAT NOTRE DAME? Oh, so now its president is so concerned that Big East football might collapse and force it to join another conference and actually play football in it that he offers to help rescue Big East football from a crisis that it helped create?
   Sorry Father Jenkins, but to us that's a little disingenuous.
   It's sort of like Tony Soprano trying to find foster homes for the children of some guys he had rubbed out.
   Your sincerity is underwhelming.
   Notre Dame football isn't close to what it used to be, but it still has enough clout to have mightily helped Big East football by joining it and it never budged to do so.
   The belief here is that neither you nor Notre Dame is out to help WVU or any other Big East football school.
   To us, your goal is to help Notre Dame continue to use the Big East.
   Haven't you done enough of that?
   ITEM: Missouri is nicknamed "The Show Me State."
   INSIGHT: What have you shown us lately, Missouri?
   As of late, Missouri's flagship university hasn't shown us much of anything but wavering indecision:
   Big 12 or SEC?...  SEC or Big 12?...
   Hey, Mo! You out there, man?
   Make up your mind already.
   We're waiting...
   SEASON PREDICTION: WVU 11-1, Orange Bowl vs. Clemson
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