MORGANTOWN - Cleaning out a crowded notebook and a cluttered mind while trying for the life of me to figure out if Missouri's long-awaited and now-official departure from the Big 12 to the SEC is good, bad or indifferent as it pertains to West Virginia:
The answer to that brain-teaser? Well, I don't think anyone really knows.
It could be good, of course, in that the Big 12 now actually has an opening for WVU. Or so it would appear. Interim commissioner Chuck Neinas, last week in Morgantown, said the Big 12 was prepared to play football with 10 schools or 11 next season (Mizzou being the wild card), but 10 is what they wanted. It's just such a tidy number, even if in a full round-robin it means unbalanced home and away schedules (five teams will have five home games, the other five will have four).
Then again, it could be bad because now West Virginia presumably MUST play in the Big 12 next season. And that's something in which a court - or even courts - might have more of a say than WVU itself.
Or, more than likely, it might not mean squat. In that regard, see above under courts. The legal entities who are sure to become engaged in whatever actions are brought - judges, attorneys, mediators; who knows, maybe even juries - aren't likely to find much relevance in how many schools the Big 12 has. This is still WVU v. Big East.
What I fail to grasp most, however, is the role of the SEC. OK, maybe role isn't the right word. How about the stance of the SEC?
During the summer, when Texas A&M was trying to get out of the Big 12 and into the SEC, the SEC washed its hands of the entire drama. The league even went so far as to say that it would under no circumstances accept the Aggies if there was even a chance that legal action could result on behalf of the Big 12 or any of its members. Only when all of the legal issues were settled was A&M invited to the SEC, and that after having withdrawn from the Big 12 months before.
And now comes Missouri, which went straight to the SEC from a Big 12 that has maintained that the Tigers are obligated to stick around for another year. Granted, if West Virginia is able to join by next summer, the Big 12 would be more than happy to release Missouri early, but isn't that still a question mark?
Has the SEC been given assurances that there will be no hang-ups in Missouri joining right away? Or has the league simply been assured that it won't be involved in any legal wrangling between Mizzou and the Big 12?
The thought here is that the SEC knows that Missouri won't be playing in the Big 12 next year and that's all that matters. But it puts even more pressure on West Virginia to get out of the Big East right away by any means possible.
Anyone for the Curse of Conference Realignment?