When Syracuse and Pitt announced they were departing the BEAST back in September, the remainder of the conference, including WVU, was thinking, "Here we go again". Thankfully, we have a proactive AD who called the ACC and SEC a number of times. He even used his connections w/ Deloss Dodds (AD at Texas.....Oliver Luck went to law school at UT) and inquired about the Big XII. While the former 2 weren't interested in adding an emerging football school, the Big XII was very interested and extended the invite. WVU fans were ecstatic because this meant a safe landing place (in a conference that just signed their media rights over to the conference for 6 years thus a guarantee of conference stability) from the dread of the Big East. However, AT THAT TIME WVU fans would have preferred the SEC (#1) and ACC (#2) before the far away land of Grapes of Wrath. Man, talk about how things change.
It all started earlier this week when Dennis Dodd(s)? of CBS reported that the Big XII had signed a 2.6 billion/13 year agreement that included only the T1/T2 rights. College football pundits were very impressed. This guaranteed 20M annually per school....and there's only 10 schools!! Therefore, the ability to grow this number is significant when you're talking about expansion (adding teams increases the annual amount per team if it's the right teams), conference championship game, etc. This conference could feasibly expand to 12 for a few years and then to 14, etc. and head back to the table w/ each step of expansion (w/ idea of added $ at each step). What great news if you were a Mountaineer fan, Sooner fan or Horned Frog fan. Then within 2 days the ACC announced the jaw-dropping deal with ESPN that unbelievably wasn't roundly ridiculed from the beginning. The press release made it sound like the ACC had kept up w/ the Big 4........hardly. In addition to the deal including the T3 rights the deal is extremely backloaded and there will not be an increase in $$ from the prior deal until 2021.
How did this all go wrong? The ACC was the source of stability. It had academics. It had metro/research universities. It had large TV markets. It had the best b-ball conference in the land. Turns out, none of this mattered. The only thing that mattered is the one thing that has mattered all along...........football. If you want to be a great b-ball school/conference that is absolutely fine. Just don't complain when you have conference instability ala the Providence Gang/Big East. College basketball doesn't matter in terms of conference stability.....not even a little.
WVU fans/alum are thanking our lucky stars we landed in the Big XII and not the ACC. I still think the conference will be absolutely fine. Great academics, great b-ball and its football is better than the Big East. It's just that it won't have the earning capacity of the Big 4. They still have room to grow (with Pac and B1G at 12 and Big XII at 10) and most importantly have great football.
One thing is for certain......As of right now, WVU fans would NOT rather be in the ACC than the Big XII. Our fans don't mind being grouped academically w/ Iowa St, Oklahoma and Texas Tech. We are content with playing Kansas, Texas, and KState in basketball. And we REALLY are looking forward to our football Saturdays beginning in 3-4 months.