Does the West Virginia Mountaineers' Move to Big 12 Still Look Good?

By Mike Atkinson
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Now that one full football season in the Big 12 is complete for the West Virginia Mountaineers, does the move to a new conference still look good?

The Mountaineers finished 2012 at 7-6 (4-5 in the Big 12), with a loss to the Syracuse Orange in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl.

When making the switch from the Big East to the Big 12, the Mountaineers expected a tough couple of first years. Leaving as the only ranked team in the Big East in 2011, the Mountaineers weren’t even locks to win that conference, but were taking the leap to a major, power conference that is the Big 12.

When you look at the Mountaineers 2012 season, there are a few games that jump out that could have been wins for WVU as easily as they were losses.

They went into double overtime with the TCU Horned Frogs and lost by one point on a two-point conversion, and lost to the Oklahoma Sooners by one point. Had the Mountaineers closed out both of these games, they would be a nine-win team.

The point is that the Mountaineers could have done a lot worse in their first season in the Big 12.

Clearly, leaving the Big East was the right move as it has become college football’s version of the Titanic, but was the Big 12 the right place to go?

Yes, it was. WVU just brought in one of the best recruiting classes it has had in quite some time. A lot of this can be attributed to the move to the Big 12. It gives WVU a geographical recruiting advantage in the eastern United States.

Also, there is a large amount of money tied up in the Big 12 television contract that was not available in the Big East, especially now. This gives exposure to WVU as well.

The Bottom line is that WVU made the right move going to the Big 12, even if it took a year to be competitive.

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

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