Three teams WVU would love to kick out of the Big 12

Peter G. Aiken/GettyImages

With the landscape of college sports ever shifting, it can be hard to keep track of which program is headed to which conference, and just who your favorite team is going to have to play to earn a league title, which nowadays can earn you an automatic berth to the soon-to-debut 12-team College Football Playoff.

In that process, a lot of traditional rivalries faded and, in some cases, reemerged. In addition, regionality has been sacrificed for high-earning TV markets and coast-to-coast competition. And now, the traditional brands we know and love in terms of collegiate athletic conferences look a lot different,

West Virginia used to share the Big East with traditional regional rivals such as Pitt, Rutgers, and Syracuse, with the champion earning their bid to a BCS Bowl in football -- the latter a system which has since been swept into the dustbin of history. When they joined the Big 12 as their former conference died, they found new prominent national opponents on the schedule such as Oklahoma and Texas, both of which now prepare to join the SEC this fall. 

As football is the main revenue-driving college sport and the future seems prime for more change, it's almost certain conference realignment will undergo another round or two. Here are three different programs that West Virginia would surely love to see forced out of the Big 12 as future expansion takes hold.


Utah v Washington
Abbie Parr/GettyImages

The Utah Utes fan base has made themselves little more than an annoyance to fans of existing Big 12 programs since it was announced they'd join the conference this fall.

For example, one fan on a message board compared Utah's upcoming Big 12 tenure to their tenure in the Mountain West Conference -- a Group of Five league -- before they had joined the Pac-12. Granted, the fan did highlight the return of former Mountain West rivalries such as TCU and BYU, and also mention the overall competition is better in the Big 12. But they also lament the loss of Utah's big games against bigger brands such as USC and Oregon.

Combine the attitude with the fact that Utah's football program is in a place to take the spot of an Oklahoma or Texas in the new look Big 12 from the jump, and some media outlets have already taken to calling Utah the "new villain" of the league. Some covering the Big 12 even want Utah out of the league before they have a chance to play their first season.

Arizona State

Arizona v Arizona State
Bruce Yeung/GettyImages

This one is a particular sore spot to WVU fans alone. New conference foe Arizona State's fanbase has been a lot more encouraged about the jump to their new home than Utah's has been, but there was one press conference in particular where members of the Arizona State administration irked WVU fans in a unique manner.

Despite having an in-state rival in Arizona, a pair of former Pac-12 opponents in Utah and Colorado following from their old conference, and a much closer distance to travel to most Big 12 schools than an outlier like West Virginia has ever had, Arizona State president Michael Crow and athletic director Ray Anderson lamented the travel they'll face in the new league.

Then, when prompted jokingly about a remote office in Morgantown, Anderson make an offhand remark that will forever have Mountaineer fans a bit salty.

"I promise I'm not going to Morgantown," Anderson said. "I'm going to sign that to Jean Boyd. He can go to Morgantown. But send me to Texas and the rivalry with Arizona and starting a new one with BYU and Utah and Colorado."

To WVU fans that, as mentioned before, dealt with being much more of a geographic outlier for a decade before any in-roads were made on adding teams east of the Mississippi, the complaints on travel seem a bit whiny. On top of that, Mountaineer fans feel blatant disrespect at the notion that a conference AD couldn't be bothered to travel to Morgantown.

Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State v Oklahoma
Brian Bahr/GettyImages

This final selection has a lot less to do about the opposing fanbase and administration and moreso concerns WVU's historical struggles as a program against Oklahoma State.

Since joining the Big 12 in 2012, the Mountaineers have faced the Cowboys 12 times -- in those matchups, they are 3-9 overall. The only team they have a worse conference record against is now-SEC program Oklahoma, against whom WVU went just 2-10 in conference play. The Mountaineers even managed a better record against other historical Big 12 power Texas than they have against Oklahoma State.

Even looking at non-conference history before 2012, WVU is just 5-10 against the Cowboys. And while there isn't much ill will for Oklahoma State as a program from WVU's side, it does often seem the Mountaineers would fare a whole lot better on the gridiron in the Big 12 if they didn't have to consistently face the Mike Gundy-led Cowboys.