WVU football coach Dana Holgorsen and men's basketball coach Bob Huggins both have experience coaching in the Big 12. Holgorsen was the offensive coordinator for Oklahoma State while Huggins was the head man at Kansas State for one year before coming to WVU.
"Dana and Bobby both playing in that league certainly can't hurt us," Nehlen said. "I don't know if it's a big advantage, but it's certainly a plus. They know the ins and outs, they know the fields and courts, they know the hotels to stay in, they know where to fly in too. So they know a lot of things that will help."
Assuming the men's basketball team will stay competitive - it has found significant success in what is presumed to be America's best conference over the past few years, and there's nothing to signal the program wouldn't be fine - Mountaineer fans' biggest worry may be the competitiveness of the football team when it takes on a full Big 12 schedule.
Currently the Big 12 has six teams ranked in the BCS Top 25 (Texas A&M will be in the SEC next year) while West Virginia is the Big East's only representative at No. 25.
Huff has his reservations, but Nehlen and Kirkland stay steadfast.
"I think we can fit in there with them," Nehlen said. "I think Texas is down a little bit, Oklahoma looks human, Oklahoma State look I like pretty good, Kansas and Iowa State are in the middle I suppose, and K State is having a good year. I think we'll be able to fit right in there.
"The big thing I think is we're going to have to be able to compete week in and week out more effectively than in the Big East. In the Big East, every team is not a great football team and they're not even all good teams."
"We had great success against good teams," Kirkland said of his time in Morgantown. "We beat Mississippi State two years, we beat an Auburn, we beat Georgia, we beat Oklahoma. Now it's every week. One thing West Virginia has always done is recruit well and nationally. That's what helped them get into the Big 12. Kids know that West Virginia is a good football program so they'll continue to recruit well even if there is a little change geographically."
Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948 or ryan.pr...@wvgazette.com.