Big 12 Morning Five: 10.27.11 Edition

Posted by dnspewak on October 27th, 2011

  1. Hold the phone — West Virginia may not join the Big 12 after all. According to reports from The New York Times just yesterday, the Mountaineers were all but guaranteed a spot in the Big 12. Sources had said the league wanted WVU regardless of whether Missouri bolted for the SEC, and it seemed like a done deal. So what happened?
  2. Louisville happened. It appears that the delay in WVU’s acceptance is all due to a sparked interest in acquiring the Cardinals. One Big 12 school administrator said it’s a direct battle between West Virginia and Louisville, and it may take days to sort out the situation. It doesn’t look like West Virginia is out of the running at all, but it’s interesting to hear that this same official said the league’s schools are also divided on the issue. Texas is rumored to have more interest in WVU, while Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Iowa State and Baylor all want Louisville. From a basketball standpoint, although West Virginia is obviously no slouch, it doesn’t have the sort of history and hoops fan base that UL does. So if your primary interest is hoops, you’ve got to be rooting for the Cardinals to edge West Virginia here.
  3. For all you political junkies, one aspect of the delay with West Virginia may have to do with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), a Louisville alumnus who’d have an obvious agenda to block a WVU invitation to the Big 12. This is major speculation, of course, and it’s always dangerous to get into the political game. Still, if McConnell really were trying to vouch for his alma mater, that may make for a heck of an E:60 series.
  4. The current debate may be between Louisville and West Virginia, but CBS Sports columnist Gary Parrish has a nice breakdown of the Missouri vs. West Virginia comparison. MU’s dominance of the Big Eight in the ’80s and ’90s under coach Norm Stewart may give the impression that it has more history than the Mountaineers, but remember, the Tigers never actually made a Final Four. In fact, Stewart only made two Elite Eights during that time period. And as far as the past decade goes, Parrish shows that WVU beats MU in almost every category. Replacing Missouri with the Mountaineers might not boost the Big 12′s profile in basketball considerably, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt anything.
  5. Sticking with off-the-court news — since that’s pretty much all we have right now — Oklahoma has responded to a proposal for a Big 12 television network. It looks like the Sooners aren’t too happy with the news; or, at the very least, they’re just very confused as to how it would work. The Sooners already want to form their own TV network, and it’s a well-known fact that Texas already has the Longhorn Network in place. OU officials say they’re still planning to create their own network despite the Big 12′s proposal. The Big 12 Network sort of exists already, but it’s only an extension of ESPN on local affiliates. Sure, there’s a nice studio show each Saturday, but every game on the Big 12 Network looks like it was filmed in the 1970s. Any Doug Bell fans in the house? Didn’t think so.
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