A little history lesson: The charter members of the Southern Conference were Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi State, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Tennessee, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Washington & Lee. In 1922, the SoCon added Florida, LSU, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tulane and Vanderbilt. Duke joined later. (Can you imagine the TV deal that would get today?)
Marshall was in the SoCon from the 1976-77 season to 1996-97 and WVU was in from 1950-51 to 1967-68.
The Southern Conference is famous for its splits into the SEC and ACC. WVU, though, was never a part of either conference. It left the SoCon and became an independent. Then the ACC took in Tech, BC and Miami in 2003. No WVU. In 2011, it took in Pittsburgh and Syracuse. No WVU.
One could postulate the Mountaineers would have been next in line for the ACC, but little about realignment has made sense, starting with Penn State moving to the Big Ten in 1993.
Why would WVU, considering history, and considering Luck's feedback at the time, have passed on an invite to the Big 12? And would Luck be employed today had WVU passed and then watched ACC select, say, Cincinnati over West Virginia because of, say, a larger television market?
The Mountaineers are not losers. They might be the most misplaced, but they are definitely not losers. Right now, that tag belongs to Cincinnati and Connecticut, the schools completely left out.
Yes, perhaps traveling will get old for those within the WVU athletic department. But you know what? For the life of me I can't remember those at Penn State whining about travel all these years.
Until Rutgers and Maryland (which have accepted Big Ten invitations) land on Nittany Lion schedules, the closest league school to State College, Pa., is Ohio State. Then Michigan.
So, yes, maybe WVU is on an island. But compared to Cincy and UConn, that island is Bali.
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, mitchvin...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.