West Virginia Has Chance to Justify Big 12 Move in Bowl

By Mike Atkinson
Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

The West Virginia Mountaineers will be playing the Syracuse Orange in the 2012 New Era Pinstripe Bowl in Bronx, NY on Dec 29.

The Mountaineers finished the season 7-5 (4-5 in Big XII play) and eighth in the Big 12.

I’d be lying if I said I was expecting this bowl result for the Mountaineers earlier this season when they were number four in the country. Although considering the drought the team hit during the middle of the season, I guess they should be lucky to be in a bowl at all.

They will face Syracuse, who finished 7-5 (5-2 in Big East play) and fourth in the Big East.

This actually isn’t all that bad for the Mountaineers, who now have a chance to prove how good a move it was for them to move to the Big 12. If they win big, it could show the difference of strength between the two conferences.

The Big 12 had only one team ineligible for a bowl game out of the ten in the conference. That team was the 1-11 Kansas Jayhawks who did not pick up a conference win.

The Big East had three ineligible teams out of the eight in the conference.

This is the perfect opportunity for the Mountaineers to end all of the questions of how they would have done in the Big East. Many folks, including myself, think WVU would be undefeated in the Big East, even with a game against the Florida State Seminoles out of conference.

If WVU can win decisively against the number four team in the Big East, as the number eight team in the Big 12, it would show how the Mountaineers could have done in their old conference. Personally, I’d rather go 7-5 in a strong conference than 7-5 in a weak one.

It’s even better that WVU gets to make this statement against a rival and seek revenge for a big loss last season and win back the Ben Schwartzwalder Trophy.

Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeAtkinsonRS or visit his Rant Sports Author Page.


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