Bluff may have forced Louisville off the fence

West Virginia never made sense. Not going first, anyway.

Not only to University of Louisville fans but to a number of administrators in the Big 12 Conference. And whatever it was, a leak by a West Virginia administrator or a Big 12 official to the New York Times, there appears to be resistance to WVU being announced as the newest conference member.

Some reports indicate that U of L had an invitation but was waiting to see if all the Big 12 schools signed the deal regarding television rights. That Tom Jurich wanted assurances that UofL wouldn’t be entering another conference that was about to implode.

Speculation is that the Big 12 was calling UofL’s hand with the leak about West Virginia. In hindsight, one should have seen it coming with reports last weekend that WVU was overtaking Louisville. Trying to get Jurich off the fence, force him to swallow his concerns. He appeared to be holding firm, forcing the conference to play the WVU card.

Mitch McConnell gets in on the action.

But then Louisville may have played its ultimate trump card in the person of U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, twice named Card Game’s Fan of the Week in the past, who attends every U of L game at home and many on the road.

McConnell had discussions with Oklahoma President David Boren (a former U.S. Senator himself) Tuesday evening, urging that Louisville be strongly considered. If you’ve ever seen McConnell going after a cause, you know he can be very persuasive. Now the New York Times is reporting that Louisville may be getting invited instead of West Virginia.

At any rate, the conference may have succeeded in its bluff. Louisville may now be prepared to act. If indeed that’s the way this conference realignment game is being played.

Oklahoma’s David Boren not encouraging

Difficult to accept, but the University of Louisville’s conference future may lie in the hands of one David Boren, the president of the University of Oklahoma.

Boren, oddly enough, is one of the advocates of increasing the Big 12’s conference membership to 12 programs by adding three schools. But in the same breath he adds, “If we were to rush out and get less than top flight members I think that would be a mistake.”

If we are to take him literally, that means that Boren is less than enamored with some of the schools among the leading candidates, which include Brigham Young, TCU, Air Force, Louisville, West Virginia and Cincinnati. The followers of the schools not selected will justifiably be offended by Boren’s ill-timed and badly-phrased declaration.

Boren, a former Oklahoma governor and three-term U.S. Senator, is used to having his way. A recent exception was the failed effort to get OU and Oklahoma State into the PAC 12 conference. He was president at OU when former U of L football coach Howard Schnellenberger resigned after his first season.

He told John Hoover of the Tulsa World that he prefers BYU, TCU or Air Force to get to 10, or all three for 12.  We are left to assume that Boren lumps U of L, WVU and Cincinnati among the less than “top flight.”