What A Difference A Year Makes - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

What A Difference A Year Makes

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MORGANTOWN -

One year ago, West Virginia University and its athletic programs were firmly supportive of the Big East. WVU and the other Big East members were looking forward to welcoming TCU to the conference.

The Big 12 was perceived as unstable one year ago with rumors that Oklahoma and Texas were both exploring a possible move to the Pac-12 conference.

At that time, Dana Holgorsen was still the Head Coach-in-Waiting and Jeff Casteel was still the Defensive Coordinator.

Quarterback Geno Smith was entering his junior year and many questioned how well he would do in Holgorsen's offense.

Move forward one year and nearly everything has changed. The Big 12 is believed to be very stable. The Big East looks nothing like it once did and now it is the ACC that looks unstable. 

Pitt and Syracuse announced last September they were leaving the Big East for the ACC. That was followed by TCU's decision to pass on joining the Big East and instead head into the Big 12.

WVU quickly began distancing itself from the Big East and looking for a new home. Eventually the Big 12 came calling in October. Both WVU and the Big East sued each other. That lawsuit was eventually settled out of court allowing WVU to leave for the Big 12 in July.

On the field, Dana Holgorsen took over as Head Coach one season earlier than expected. The football team won ten games in 2011 and Geno Smith quieted any doubters by passing for 4,385 yards and 31 touchdowns. WVU earned a BCS bowl bid and hammered Clemson 70-33.

WVU had its highest NFL draft pick since Adam ‘Pacman' Jones when Bruce Irvin was taken 15th overall by the Seattle Seahawks.

Geno Smith and Tavon Austin will both enter the 2012 season as preseason contenders for the Heisman Trophy.

In basketball, Kevin Jones entered the 2011-2012 season as one to watch and he delivered. Jones led the Big East in points and rebounds per game, but did not earn the Big East Player of the Year award. That instead went to Marquette's Jae Crowder. Did West Virginia's decision to leave the Big East have an impact on that? Many WVU fans will loudly answer ‘yes' to that question.

One year ago, the WVU baseball team was just eliminated from the Big East tournament.

The baseball team failed to qualify for the Big East tournament in 2012 and Head Coach Greg Van Zant was fired.

Change is inevitable in one calendar year, but this much change and this kind of change is unusual. While unusual, it is welcome by many West Virginia University supporters.

It begs the question, what will happen in the next year? Will WVU win a Big 12 football championship? Will the WVU men's basketball team return to the Sweet 16? Will the Big 12 expand?

The roller coaster ride of the past 365 days will be tough to beat. With West Virginia University in a stable conference, many of the headlines in the next 365 days should focus on the playing surface and not off of it.

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