Baucum's Take: Hello Mountaineers

With West Virginia most likely headed to the Big 12, John Baucum dives into the subject of what do the Mountaineers bring to the Big 12 and what are some issues as well.

West Virginia is rumored to be moving to the Big 12. In examining this particular move, several factors are intriguing, while others are puzzling.

Those points notwithstanding, the potential of adding West Virginia is exciting, particularly from a football perspective, and it adds further validity to the Big 12.

Late breaking news as of Tuesday evening indicates that West Virginia's invitation to the Big 12 is not contingent upon the exit of Missouri, presumably to the SEC.

From a not-so-positive perspective, West Virginia is a long, long way from the rest of the Big 12 member institutions. For instance, according to googlemaps.com, Morgantown, West Virginia is 1,472 miles from Lubbock.

The travel expenses for a football matchup in either school's home stadium would be immense; to say nothing about the prodigious expenses that would be racked up by the other sports.

As mentioned above, the definite positive of this addition is that it makes the Big 12 into a growing powerhouse. Losing A&M is a blow because of rivalries and the Aggies' favorite word: "tradition." Aside from that, though, A&M had become a paper tiger, especially in football. 

As for the loss of Missouri, it doesn't sting Texas Tech that much because the Red Raiders' record against the Tigers was abysmal across all sports.

West Virginia adds a bit of a dramatic flair to the Big 12. Most glaringly, former Tech assistant and Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen is the Mountaineers head coach.

With the acrimony surrounding Mike Leach's departure still palpable, his top protégé would probably like nothing more than to come back to Lubbock and win.

In a similar vein, West Virginia basketball coach Bob Huggins spent a year in Manhattan at Kansas State before taking over at his alma mater. Assistant coach Frank Martin took over and has continued the rapid ascension of the Wildcats basketball program. The potential of this rivalry is very interesting from a fan's outlook.

In conclusion, of larger importance in the scope of the future of the Big 12 is the sincere hope that decisions are made in the commissioner's office, and not in the administration building in Austin.

Did Texas suggest the addition of TCU or West Virginia? The common man may never know but the moves made by interim commissioner Chuck Neinas seem to be excellent for the long term health of the conference.

Either way, it will be very interesting to see the rivalries among Big 12 institutions bloom with West Virginia University.


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