Big 12 Media Days are open for business! – The Gold and Blue Nation Podcast
ARLINGTON, Texas — West Virginia’s focus is on the Backyard Brawl, but right now, the chaotic discussion of conference realignment is dominating headlines across the country.
Mountaineer head coach Neal Brown has spent all of 2022 preparing for that game (and, of course, the 11 after it). It might be tough, but he’s doing his best to keep the craziness outside his team facility’s walls from distracting him and his program from week one.
“The good thing about it is that I have a lot of worries and a lot of concerns, but conference realignment is way down the list for me,” Brown said. “Now the guys that spoke first, that’s probably a different story, right? But for us, those decisions are not getting made by football coaches.”
Outgoing commissioner Bob Bowlsby and incoming commissioner Brett Yormark opened this year’s Big 12 Media Days with a joint press conference, including a question-and-answer session. All of the questions were directed at Yormark, who described his ambitious vision for the league as he begins to tackle the shifting landscape of realignment.
Brown expressed his confidence in the league’s new leadership and shares an optimistic view of the Big 12’s future.
“I am really excited about the direction of the Big 12 Conference,” Brown said. “I think some things over the last few weeks have created a great opportunity for our league.”
WVU’s head coach justified his feeling with some history. While Brown has only competed with West Virginia in the Big 12, WVU has made a habit of moving leagues throughout its 131-year history.
The Mountaineers have competed in four different conferences since 1925 (the Big 12, the Big East, the SoCon and the WVIAC) and had three stints as an independent since its inception in 1891. WVU was also right in the middle of the last substantial round of conference realignment when it joined the Big 12 in 2012.
“The one constant is that West Virginia football has always been successful and always figured out a way to make it work,” Brown said. “So from a long-term perspective, I have great faith that West Virginia football is going to be just fine. In the short term, I like the direction. I think we have some unique opportunities. I think the leadership of our conference has made some really good decisions with the additions and I have a strong belief that they will continue to do so.”