MORGANTOWN - So Oliver Luck issued a statement Wednesday afternoon designed to clarify West Virginia's position in the ongoing conference realignment saga.
The West Virginia athletic director's take, more or less verbatim:
"President [James] Clements and I represented West Virginia University at [Tuesday] night's Big East meeting in New York. The group concluded the meeting with a strategy to recruit top-level BCS-caliber institutions that match the league's strong athletic and academic histories and traditions.
"As I stated before, WVU is an excellent flagship, land-grant university, with national-caliber athletic and academic programs. We are, and will remain, a national player in college athletics.
"The conference office will coordinate any further discussion on this issue."
Please allow me to translate:
"We sat through another meeting trying to save the Big East. Same old same old. But, hey, no matter what happens, we'll land on our feet. Now, shut up and stop calling me. What the heck am I supposed to say?''
Indeed, the Big East did have another meeting and they talked about the same things they've talked about for the past six years - who to add and how to keep things together. They got everyone at the table to pledge their undying loyalty.
West Virginia did so grudgingly, having no other options.
Connecticut and Rutgers did so probably with fingers crossed. (Does it say anything that while UConn seems ripe for eventual picking by the ACC that neither the school president nor the athletic director attended the meeting? They instead sent representatives.)
As for Cincinnati, Louisville, South Florida and even TCU? Well, they're all hoping against hope that this all works out again and that somehow the Big East can employ Band-Aid medicine to a severed artery. If they wanted to be in a non-BCS conference they could have stayed where they were.
And who knows? Maybe this works. It would certainly help if Connecticut and Rutgers stay on board, but short of that it seems like a long shot.
Think about this for a moment. If UConn and Rutgers eventually leave, the remaining football schools would consist of just one that has been a member of an automatic-qualifying BCS conference since there was a BCS.
That's it. It's West Virginia and a collection of schools whose membership in an AQ conference came about simply because the Big East had to go out and find the best available leftover talent. Louisville, Cincinnati and USF were recruited to replace Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College. TCU was begging for a seat at the table and the Big East gave it to the Horned Frogs. And the next group to join (Navy, Air Force, East Carolina, Central Florida?) would do so only for the same reason.
It is not, to say the least, a group with strong bargaining power.
I've always been of the opinion that the Big East would retain its BCS status no matter what happened to the membership, for a couple of reasons.
First, there was the whole Northeast market thing. But if UConn and Rutgers were to follow Syracuse and Pitt (with Boston College and Penn State already gone), there is no longer a Big East team in the Northeast market.
So much for that argument.