With Missouri's departure to the SEC seeming to be a matter of when and no longer if, nearly every reporter covering the realignment saga is stating that West Virginia has emerged as the overwhelming leader to replace the Tigers in the Big 12. Even more troubling are the rumors that the league is more likely to stay at 10 teams after the move as opposed to expanding all the way back to 12.
This from the New York Post this morning:
The Big East Football Conference's survival as a league with BCS automatic-qualifier status is about to take a serious hit because the Big 12 has lined up West Virginia to replace Missouri, The Post has learned.
The Big 12 held a board of directors meeting yesterday, and a source said the league's plan is to hold on to Missouri, which wants to leave for the SEC, for one more year then replace it with West Virginia.
That would mean the Big East is losing a fourth FBS-playing member, leaving the league with five schools that play FBS football: Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville, Rutgers and South Florida.
The Big 12's thinking, which could become more aggressive, forces the Big East to look at "Plan C" as it heads into its annual meeting of presidents and board of directors next Tuesday in Philadelphia.
So how does Louisville go from obvious Big 12 leader to distant second choice in the span of about nine days? You're guess is as good as mine. This is all so ridiculous.
All I know is that West Virginia leaving U of L in this new Big East has always been the absolute worst case scenario, and now it also seems like the most likely one. Trying days may lie ahead of us here.