THE VIEWS from here:
(Isn't that refreshing to read? After every coach and player chirps about how they don't or won't look ahead?)
We can look ahead. So ... shall we?
There have been murmurs all season, especially in the southern part of the state, about Wednesday's 7:30 p.m. Capital Classic men's hoops game between West Virginia and Marshall.
Before that game, WVU will host Rutgers at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Marshall will host Central Florida at 7 p.m. that same evening.
But consider the treat we have ahead of us in the Civic Center. For once both teams enter with legitimate shots at making the NCAA tournament. WVU is 12-5 overall and 3-2 in the brutal Big East. Marshall is 12-4 overall and tied for first at 3-0 in Conference USA.
You might know the game is normally as close asthis anyway, but the setup makes this the most interesting Classic in memory.
WVU leads the series, which began in 1929, by 28-11. Before last season's game, the Mountaineers had won four in a row. But MU, in Tom Herrion's first season as Thundering Herd coach, swiped last year's game over then-No. 21 WVU by 75-71.
As the setup stands today, West Virginia would still enter as a 3- to 4-point favorite. That could change after Saturday.
But the point is, for once, this game is for more than just state bragging rights. It's also for Rating Percentage Index points, and both teams will need as many as possible to make the NCAA tournament as at-large selections. What's nice in this case: both offer those RPI points.
The study examined revenues and expenses, made cash-flow adjustments and risk assessments as well as growth projections for the schools. (In other words, the assistant professor put together a study no sports writer on earth could piece together without the help of Ben Bernanke.)
It's a fun study, putting a value on football programs as if they were professional franchises. The Jacksonville Jaguars, for a point of reference, recently sold for $45 million.
The Texas Longhorns? According to the study, they are worth $805.1 million - just the football program. (Keep in mind, WVU will be battling that when it hits the Big 12.)
West Virginia is ranked the most valuable program within the Big East at $132.7 million. But the Mountaineers come in at No. 36 overall. Six Big 12 programs are ranked ahead of them - Texas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M (which is departing the conference), Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Kansas State.
Marshall is ranked No. 78, worth an estimated $35.4 million. It is fourth among Conference USA members, behind Central Florida, SMU and East Carolina. The former two, however, are leaving for the Big East in 2013.