Musings Of A Mountain Man - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Musings Of A Mountain Man

Posted:
   Random thoughts about the Big 12 move while wondering if we should start calling the Big East the Big Yeast as it again tries to rise above itself.
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   WE WEREN'T AROUND ON in June 20, 1863, to experience the day West Virginia became a state and escaped the clutches of Virginia's snobbish and traitorous aristocracy.
 
   Therefore, we will have to adopt February 14, 2012, as our favorite state liberation day.
 
   On that date this week, it officially was announced that West Virginia University's proud athletic program was emancipated from another form of traitorous, aristocratic snobbery -- the kind practiced by the banal careerists who rule the Big East Conference.
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   IT IS LITTLE WONDER to us that the eastern elitists who wield power in said conference are headquartered in Rhode Island.
 
   It seems a fitting irony that the Big East is centered in America's smallest state.
 
   Judging from the way the conference has been picked apart by the big-picture leaders of other top NCAA Division I conferences, it appears Big East administrators were so blinded by their dogmatic attachment to basketball at the expense of football that they could not see past their own small and reclusive borders.
 
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   TWICE IN THE PAST EIGHT YEARS, the Big East administration has stood still, concentrating on protecting its basketball profile, while savvy decision-makers in other conferences who recognize football's value as a cash cow compared with that of basketball picked the league clean of its best football members.
 
   One would have thought that losing Miami, Boston College and Virginia Tech to the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2004-05 would have given Big East officials a head's up not to let it happen again.
 
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   INSTEAD, THEY DID LITTLE or nothing to alleviate the impression from the football schools that football was viewed jealously and antagonistically in the league's high offices as a challenge to basketball's prestige.
 
   The truth as we see it is that football was and likely will be looked on in the conference as a necessary evil in helping pay the bills of basketball-only members such as Providence, the school from where all of the Big East commissioners in history have emerged, including current Commissioner John Marinatto.
 
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   TO ADD INSULT TO INJURY, the Big East brass has gone out of its way to coddle Notre Dame's sweetheart all-sports-but-football deal -- when Notre Dame entering the football equation would have solidified it immediately.
 
   The bet here is that the Big East eventually will lose Notre Dame anyway.
 
   If it can lose Syracuse, a charter conference member and the jewel in its basketball crown, it can lose anybody.
 
   Talk about irony.
 
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   WE ARE GIVING BIG EAST LEADERS a break when we suggest that they were so blinded by turf wars that twice they were unable to see they were vulnerable to football raids that also have hurt their beloved basketball family.
 
   Would it not be a far worse accusation to say that they were aware something like what has happened the past few months was possible -- even probable -- and they purposely did nothing out of arrogance or dogmatic pettiness?
 
   We think so.
 
   But that, too, is possible.
 
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   WHATEVER ITS MOTIVATION, the Big East leadership has not been active throughout these high-stakes dramas.
 
   It has only been ruthlessly reactive, in turn raiding other conferences after theirs was raided.
 
   It has led an array of Big East members to react themselves and try to move elsewhere out of fear they would be the ones left out when this massive and cutthroat game of musical chairs is finished.
 
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   THAT IS HOW WE GOT TO WHERE we are today.
 
   Several programs that perhaps under more farsighted and less-protectionist mentoring would be happily and snugly fit in a Big East cocoon are now thrown about into other conferences in which they have less or little regional compatibility.
 
   That is how WVU wound up in the Big 12 of the Southwest, far Midwest and the Great Plains -- 900-plus miles away from from its closest league foe, Iowa State.
 
   That is how Syracuse and Pittsburgh wound up on the Atlantic Coast.
 
   That is how -- among others -- the likes of San Diego State of California, Boise State of Idaho and the University of Houston and Southern Methodist University of Texas all wound up in Providence, Rhode Island.
 
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   A LONGTIME UNDER-REACH by the Big East has resulted in the desperate over-reach it is employing now.
 
   We wonder how long this arrangement can be sustained.
 
   The obvious reason why the San Diego States, Boises, Houstons and SMUs of the college football world are taking the deal is access to the Big East's automatic BCS bowl qualifying spot for its football champion.
 
   That is only ensured, however, until the end of the 2013 season, after which the BCS system will be re-examined and probably changed.
 
   Whatever process is selected, the watered-down and less regionally significant Big East stands a good chance of losing it automatic BCS bid.
 
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   THINK BOISE STATE or any of the rest of the western newcomers would feel allegiance to the Big East if and when that happened?
 
   Think they would bunker down and stick with their Rhode Island brethren?
 
   We don't.
 
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   WHERE WOULD THE BIG EAST look then for expansion?
 
   The English soccer league? Australian rules football?
 
   WVU had to get out of the Big East to stay relevant and those in the program knew it.
 
   We as fans knew it, too, and said so ad nauseam.
 
   Now it is official and we say:
 
   Free At Last.
 
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   WE JOIN THE VAST MAJORITY of Mountaineer fans who welcome entry into the Big 12 with open arms.
 
   Thanks for the invite, Austin, Norman, Lawrence, Ames and all the other names along the conference route.
 
   You came along just in time.
 
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   SIGNING DIVORCE PAPERS on Valentine's Day might be a sad event most of the time, but not for WVU athletics.
 
   In this case, WVU happily left a passive aggressive relationship that had turned destructive.
 
   The alimony was costly, but well worth it.
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