from Karl Ludwig, with West Virginia Sports Now.com/www.wvsportsnow.com
With the Big 12 seemingly dissolving overnight, what makes the most sense for West Virginia now?
Oklahoma and Texas are out, headed for the SEC as early as this week. With just eight members left in the Big 12 now, all not really moving the needle much in terms of national prestige, adding members from the AAC or Pac 12 seems unlikely to keep the Big 12 alive. Even if the Big 12 survives this, WVU should want out. It appears that other Big 12 members are already reaching out to gauge other conferences’ interest in adding them.
The Big 12 provided a good landing spot when the Big East collapsed, but it’s time for WVU to find a new conference. What are those options?
The ACC and WVU are a match made in heaven. Proximity, rivalries and a more natural fit for WVU than the Big 12 highlight the benefits for WVU.
With a renewal of the Backyard Brawl, WVU and Pittsburgh would be able to reunite as natural rivals. Playing teams like Virginia Tech, Miami (that already have previous ties), and schools that are, you know, not halfway across the country should add intrigue at a level outside West Virginia. Geographically, with actual money-making rivalries already in place, the ACC would be a perfect fit for WVU.
WVU’s prestige has risen in the decade since their move from the Big East to the Big 12, and WVU’s academics shouldn’t be a problem. In the arms race to likely scoop up Big 12 leftovers, the ACC would do well to invite WVU.
With almost $500 million in revenue last season, the ACC was the lowest generating conference in 2020 — aside from the Big 12 — but there’s potential for added revenue if the ACC were to add a few teams. With a TV deal that runs through 2036, the conference would need to add new teams in order to get a new deal.
Arguably the most top-heavy conference in football, with Clemson the only “true” powerhouse, WVU would be in contention with the likes of North Carolina, Miami, Florida State, Virginia Tech for positioning toward the top of the conference. In basketball, Duke, UNC, Virginia, Florida State headline a loaded conference, and WVU’s basketball prowess wouldn’t be out of place.