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Sleeping With The Enemy

All that stands between West Virginia and the national title game is a mediocre Pitt team that barely beat us. A win would make West Virginia fans crazy with excitement and send the couch population of Morgantown plummeting. Naturally, your first inclination is to put all your energy into rooting for the Panthers, isn't it? As Lee Corso might say, not so fast my friend.

As painful as it might sound, you've got a few reasons to start rooting for the 'Neers from here on out.

1. It's ha-yuge for the Big East

Three years ago, the Big East
was the laughing stock of college football. Two years ago West Virginia shocked Georgia in the Sugar Bowl and gave people pause. Last year the conference went 5-0 in bowl games, capped by Louisville's Orange Bowl win and all of a sudden the Big East was legit. Logically, there's only one more step for the conference to prove its worth in the BCS and the sport at-large. Send a team to the national title game. Regardless of who it is and how they got there, having a Big East representative in the title game will do wonders for our reputation. The culmination of the conference's return to elite status.

Even before this opportunity even came up, the Big East was already working on improving its bowl relationships in order to capitalized on newfound respect. This only sweetens the deal.

After a fantastic year (except for Syracuse), where multiple Big East teams ventured into the top ten (not Syracuse) and almost every team in the conference was playing for bowl eligibility up until the last week of the season (except Syracuse)'s only fitting that the conference send one of its members to play for crown. If it has to be West Virginia, so be it. But moving forward we'd prefer that it wasn't.

2. Cash Rules Everything Around Me (C.R.E.A.M.)

As you know, the conference shares the bowl wealth with all of its members, regardless of who played in one or not. Obviously, if you are the participating team you stand to get more than a team who didn't, but the more bowls and the bigger the bowls Big East teams play in, the more payola to go around.
Axe breaks down some numbers and West Virginia will be bringing in around $17 million for participating in a BCS game, plus whatever windfall comes their way from merchandise, especially from participating in the national title game. What would make this even more enticing would be if there was a 2nd Big East team in line to play in a BCS game as well. Alas, we'll just have to make that our goal for next year.

As talk swirls about Greg Robinson and how Syracuse might not have the money to buy out his contract, a couple mill from the bowl collection plate suddenly takes on a whole new meaning.

3. National Exposure, For Better Or Worse

Say what you will of the Syracuse football program's ability to compete with them, but it doesn't hurt to have the defending national champion on your schedule. Suddenly every game West Virginia plays is a national game. The Big East and Syracuse benefit greatly from that.
Who knows, maybe the conference can even cut back on the Thursday Night games because of it. (I'm dreaming, of course)

So, while finding a rooting interest in any matchup between Pittsburgh and West Virginia is a painful proposition for Orange fans, you may just want to take a little pleasure if and when the Mountaineers win. Besides, if they lose in the national title game, that's not terrible (assuming they don't get blown out). Getting a conference team into the game is really the most important aspect anyway. The next step.