CHARLESTON -- IT'S A BIT early to determine the cost of West Virginia's two-game collapse.
The Mountaineers could finish the season 5-7. They could finish 10-2. Geno Smith could continue to be flustered. Then again, he could flourish.
Odds are, however, WVU won't finish 10-2. The Mountaineers are certainly out of the BCS national championship picture. Unless they finish with two losses, they'll be out of the BCS picture.
Which means we can put a dollar value on the situation.
According to WVU deputy athletic director Mike Parsons, a BCS berth for the Mountaineers this season would mean $1.61 million for the school. Around $20 million goes to the Big 12, but $1.61 million would be the school's cut. That, as well as a $300-per-mile expense check to cover the cost of travel.
There's also a difference between the Big 12 and WVU's former conference, the Big East. The former covers the cost of bowl ticket requirements, while the latter did not. If a bowl requires, say, WVU to purchase 17,000 tickets, the school doesn't have to sell them all. The league assumes any financial hit, but also takes in any profit - unless, that is, the school sells more than 50 percent of the tickets. It then gets a percentage of the profit.
But back to the probable financial loss. If WVU doesn't land in a BCS bowl, it will more than likely land in one of the Big 12's "tier three" bowls. The Big 12 has these ties with such bowls: the AT&T Cotton (versus an SEC team), the Valero Alamo (Pac-12), Buffalo Wild Wings (Big Ten), Bridgepoint Holiday (Pac-12), Meineke Car Care of Texas (Big Ten) and New Era Pinstripe (Big East).
Yes, it would be cruel and unusual punishment if WVU had to go to the Pinstripe Bowl. But whatever the case, Parsons said WVU will earn a flat $1 million, plus the mileage, in all but the Meineke bowl, which, he said, pays $680,000.
So at the very least, the dive probably cost the school $610,000. It could reach $930,000.
There's also the matter of Smith's NFL draft status. His stock has dropped, but not significantly. He can certainly rise again. Still, the senior could suffer financially as well.
WVU athletic director Oliver Luck told me this past week he's been "spending about 90 percent" of his time lately on nailing down a third-tier media rights deal for the school.
"We have a lot going on with that," Luck said. "We're trying to properly go through the process. Our procurement people, though, have said not to comment on it."
When will there be a deal and an announcement?
"At some point in the future," Luck said.