This time last year, West Virginia fans were defending the merits of the Big East while anxiously awaiting news that WVU would be able to escape to a better conference. Many thought it might be the ACC or the SEC, but it was the Big XII that threw WVU a life preserver.
Critics of the conference move by WVU will constantly point out travel expense increases and losses of rivalries. While those are valid concerns, the bottom line is WVU will generate a lot more television revenue, which is what college football is all about.
Besides the financial ramifications, the move to the Big XII gets the Mountaineers out of the dumpster fire that is the Big East. The first weekend of college football was more than enough evidence of that.
The Big East was underwhelming in the opening weekend of play, posting a total 5-2 conference record (2-1 against FCS opponents). Rutgers, Connecticut, and Louisville beat lesser FBS opponents with only Louisville looking strong after week 1. Beating FCS opponents, like South Florida and Temple did, is nothing to be excited about; it is expected.
What was unexpected was the twin disappointing losses by Syracuse and Pittsburgh. The Orange choked away a late lead against a middle of the pack (to put it gently) Northwestern squad. Syracuse is just fortunate that Pitt played even worse. The Panthers lost to Youngstown State (6-5 in FCS play last season) at HOME, BY 14 POINTS. Coach Chryst is just fortunate to be employed by a school that let Dave Wandstedt (and his mustache) roam the sidelines for 6 seasons. Any other school might have run him out of town already.
The Big East would probably like to deflect the attention of those losses by reminding folks that these teams are going to be fortifying the ranks of the ACC next year. With both Pitt and Syracuse looking to start the season 0-2, both the Big East and ACC would like to disassociate themselves from these programs.
The teams set to join the Big East next year didn’t fair much better than Pitt and Syracuse. Of the group joining Big East for football in 2013 (Central Florida, Houston, Southern Methodist, Memphis, Boise State, and San Diego State) only Central Florida won. The UCF win over Akron is not noteworthy as the Zips have been down-right pathetic for years now. Yes, Boise State lost to a good Michigan State squad, but their offense was just offensive to watch. And yes, Memphis did lose to an FCS team.
Meanwhile, WVU and the Big XII looked terrific in week 1, going a combined 9-0. Of course we are only one week into the season, but it is plain to see that West Virginia made the right choice in jumping to the Big XII. Mountaineer fans don’t have to brush up on their futile defenses of the Big East as a league of “parody.” WVU fans can now brush up on their Big East satire.