West Virginia still fighting to be free, plus more from our old friend Conference Realignment
A lot of you have asked for an update on the goings on of conference realignment in the past few weeks and I'm here to give it to you.
I have to admit, after spending the better part of two straight summers — and then some — in a torrid love affair with all things realignment, I was happy to let it walk out the door never to be heard from again.
But it's not that easy. So here we go, with the latest on West Virginia's move to the Big 12 and some other interesting tidbits and links of the like.
First up, it looks as if we're headed toward legal mediation to determine just when WVU will be allowed to leave the Big East and join the Big 12. Both sides are suing each other — the Big East for WVU to stay for the required 27 months and WVU to bolt by next season — and because they can't peacefully come to an agreement, a Rhode Island judge recently ordered the issue to be sent to a mediator.
I've said from the beginning — and I still believe it today — that one way or the other the two parties are going to find a way to work this thing out and that West Virginia is going to be in the Big 12 next season. It might be a rocky road to get to that point, but it's coming, whether we like it or not. After the showing that West Virginia's football team put on in the Orange Bowl maybe we don't want them coming too soon.
As for Mizzou's move to the SEC, it's a done deal. I'm sure most of you saw it, but in case you didn't, here's a look at the Tigers' SEC football schedule for next season, which was released in late December.
MU is still looking to fill a couple of non-conference dates and there's still plenty of talk from the Tigers about one of those being against Kansas. But it isn't going to happen. KU officials continue to be 100 percent against playing MU in anything after the 2011-12 season expires.
You may here some Border War talk from across the state line, but don't expect it to happen.
With that in mind, and with WVU still in limbo, KU's scheduling (along with the rest of the Big 12) has been difficult to nail down for next season in just about all sports.
At this point, the Jayhawks are locked into three non-conference football games and are planning to play a nine-game Big 12 schedule, with the expectation that both West Virginia and TCU (no hurdles there) will be in the 10-team league. None of the specifics have been released as of now and they probably won't be for quite some time.
KU's non-conference games include home match-ups with South Dakota and Rice and a road game at Northern Illinois. After that, it's all still up in the air right now.
Another interesting realignment note that popped up recently concerns Louisville and the school's on-again-off-again relationship with the Big 12.
In late November, this report surfaced that indicated that Louisville football coaches were telling recruits that the school's future was in the Big 12, "no doubt."
I think that's a little premature — obviously — but I also think that if and when the time comes that the Big 12 wants to jump back to 12 teams, Louisville is all but a lock to get in. The problem now is that it's been difficult to find a suitable 12th team to join the Cardinals and several of the powers that be in the Big 12 also are concerned about moving too quickly with so many league issues still up in the air.
The Big 12 survived the second round of realignment in 2011, but there's still a lot of work to be done to ensure that the conference is stable and sound heading into the future.
Speaking of the future, there's been next to no public discussion about a possible replacement for interim Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas, who took over for Dan Beebe at the end of the realignment mess.
Neinas, who said at the time that he was a short-term solution to the mess, has continued to work hard on behalf of the league in just about every capacity. Some have been more publicized than others, such as Neinas' push for a plus-one system in college football.
One more thing, non-Big 12 related, there's still talking of the Mountain West and Conference USA joining forces to create some kind of super conference that far exceeds the 16-team models that were en vogue last summer.
Another meeting of league officials is set for Sunday in, get this, Dallas of all places. You can't make this stuff up!
I know that's not everything, but that's a decent look at what's been going on with the world of realignment lately. Most of that you probably knew about already, but, hey, at least now you have a place to talk about it with others.
I'll keep my eyes and ears open for more, especially on the West Virginia situation, and will try to bring that to you as it happens.
For now, though, I have to get back to this KU football beat. I don't know if you heard, but...
Ah, the joys of covering football in mid-January!!!
As you were.