MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 04: Tavon Austin #1 and Geno Smith #12 of the West Virginia Mountaineers celebrate after Austin caught a 37-yard touchdown reception thrown by Smith in the third quarter against the Clemson Tigers during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 4, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Road trip!!!! Oklahoma is about to take what I'm willing to bet is the longest road trip for a conference game in the one hundred plus years of Sooner football. The Big East Conference and the West Virginia Mountaineers reached a conditional settlement on Thursday that will set WVU free to join the Big XII this year. An official announcement could be made as early as Friday.
One of the major hangups in West Virginia's plight from the Big East to the Big XII was that Boise State may not be available until 2013. The Mountaineers found a solution to that in the sum of a $20 million buyout. Of that amount WVU will pay $11 million and the other members of the Big XII will pick up the remaining $9 million. The Mountaineers are paying the $5 million buyout for the Big East plus the $5 million buyout for Boise State from the Mountain West and are matching the $1 million that the other nine Big XII schools are paying.
The move could prompt the Big XII to release its conference schedule as early as Friday. Its expected that Oklahoma will have to travel to Morgantown to play the Mountaineers. West Virginia and TCU are replacing Missouri and Texas A&M. Both teams made trips to Norman to play the Sooners in 2011 which means Oklahoma would be playing them on the road in 2012. Looks like road trips to Ft. Worth and Morgantown are in the near future for OU.
The addition of West Virginia and TCU will boost the conference strength in football from 2011. There are also still rumors floating around that the Big XII is still interested in adding Louisville and possibly Cincinnati. That would equate to a pretty sick basketball conference as well.