Well, the "WVU to the Big 12" move that appeared to be all but a done deal just Tuesday night is now very much up in the air, and politicians are even getting involved.
In fact, it seems that a politician from Kentucky, US Senator Mitch McConnell, helped to stall West Virginia's move to the Big 12 by convincing some school presidents in the conference that they should consider Louisville as a possible candidate. And I guess it worked because the Big 12 is now rather undecided between West Virginia and Louisville, and it could go either way.
According to a quote I read today, someone said something to the effect that, "why wouldn't McConnell fight for the Cardinals? He's just trying to better a school from his state." Okay, I'll give you that.
However, my question to the Big 12 presidents is "what's so attractive about Louisville that suddenly made you guys stop in your tracks and strongly consider them after all but agreeing to invite West Virginia?"
Louisville certainly has a decent enough basketball tradition, but everyone knows that all this conference-shifting is about football, not basketball. And when it comes to football, Louisville is far from a powerhouse. They had a good season or two a few years ago shortly after joining the Big East, but it's pretty obvious that the Louisville Cardinals aren't a strong enough football program to make any conference better in that area. The slow implosion of the Big East conference as a football entity is proof enough of that.
WVU, on the other hand, has been the only consistent football program in the Big East since the likes of Miami and Virginia Tech defected years ago. The Mountaineers have been to BCS games, and they've even managed to win one or two. Imagine that?
The Mountaineers have also built a pretty decent men's basketball program, complete with two Elite Eight appearances and a Final Four appearance just two seasons ago.
So, it's pretty obvious that West Virginia offers more to any conference than Louisville does.
I know television markets are a big consideration in all of this, and Morgantown certainly isn't a very attractive tv market, but I can't imagine school presidents falling all over themselves to land the Louisville, Kentucky market, either.
So, what's the deal?
Another question to the Big 12 presidents: Why not take both West Virginia AND Louisville?
I mean, let's face it, the Big 12 isnt exactly a stable conference. Nebraska and Colorado defected just last year, Texas A&M is headed for the SEC, and Missouri is also all but gone.
I'd say the Big 12 needs all the schools it can grab while the grabbing is good.
Being a Pitt fan, you're probably wondering why I'm so concerned about WVU's fate in all of this, but I believe rivalries are the most important thing in college athletics.
Pitt and WVU have been great rivals over the years, and after losing the annual clash with Penn State, I'd hate to see Pitt/WVU downgraded because the Mountaineers are weakened by not being able to land in a viable conference.
I hope that West Virginia eventually finds a decent home, and Pitt and WVU somehow manage to continue their great rivalry.
A college football world with West Virginia as an annual cream puff wouldn't be as much fun.