PERHAPS THE No. 1 wish for all following or involved in the national conference realignment story is for it to end.
For those making moves to move. For certainty to replace uncertainty.
Perhaps soon that wish will be granted.
Today, we might know for sure the fate of Missouri, which could move from the Big 12 to the Southeastern Conference. All indications are the Tigers will be moving. That will probably slam the door on any hopes West Virginia had of filling the SEC opening.
All attention will then turn to the Big 12 - and, in these parts, its interest in WVU.
According to a blog post from Mark Blaudschun of the Boston Globe on Thursday, Missouri will indeed leave the Big 12, and "according to sources in the Big 12, the target team to replace the Tigers is West Virginia.
"According to sources in the Big 12 and Big East," Blaudschun continued, "the Big 12 expansion will hold at 10 teams for the time being."
When reached by the Gazette on Friday, WVU athletic director Oliver Luck would not comment on the report.
Would it make sense? Yes. Is it etched in stone? No.
OK, so in recent months we've examined West Virginia University's position within the realignment shift.
We've awaited answers. Hopefully, those answers are near.
Until all are in, however, here's a little something to chew on. While geographically WVU should be moving to the Atlantic Coast Conference or SEC (if not remaining in the Big East), the Big 12 isn't a bad fit on many levels.
According to data from the U.S. Department of Education, West Virginia's athletic budget in 2009-10 was $56,607,917.
Within the Big East, that placed the Mountaineers fourth, if you count Notre Dame (not a football member) at $76 million. Louisville ($61 million) and Connecticut ($58 million) are the only other ones to have larger budgets than WVU.
WVU spokesman Mike Fragale confirmed the number.
"We always range from $56 million to $60 million," Fragale said. "That's usually what we need [in grand total expenses]. I've never heard it over $60 million.
"Will it grow to over $60 million? Perhaps, but that's the highest it's ever been. We've gotten a lot of bang for our buck."
If you've ever wondered, though, how far that buck would stretch in the other discussed conferences, here are answers.
Within the SEC, West Virginia's budget would rank 10th of the 13 or, if you want to jump and include Missouri, 14 schools.