Very interesting comments, to say the least, from West Virginia coach Bill Stewart about the future of the Big East and the Mountaineers.
Stewart sat down for an interview with WTAP in Parkersburg, W.Va., on Thursday and touched on a variety of topics. You can watch it here, and fast forward to about the 7:20 mark for the most interesting stuff.
The host asks Stewart about the Big Ten potentially raiding the Big East, and here's what Stewart had to say:
"It's exciting. It's disheartening as well. ... The Big Ten could ... they'll pick a couple of our teams. However, the SEC and the ACC will also do the same, so that's exciting. I don't know where we're going to land. We could land, whatever, in one of maybe three conferences, the ACC, the SEC, maybe the Big Ten.
"But right now, we're still Big East and we need to keep that focus. And that's the disheartening thing, when you break up a Big East contingency like we had. We had a lot of fun, a lot of rivals, and I hate to see that end. But there are exciting times on the horizon with new conferences. We'll be in one of them; which one I don't know, I really don't. But that's down the road a couple of years, I do believe."
The host then asked Stewart how such a move might affect recruiting.
"We talked about it today [in] a recruiting meeting," Stewart said. "Let's say the SEC invites us in. Well, that gives us a certain prestige. Then you say, where are we geographically compared to them? Now would the ACC be better? Well, geographically it might be, but clout-wise would it be? If the Big Ten would says, hey, come on in, that's an East-West travel. Probably the ACC would be the best travel league. But, really, football-wise, the ACC, SEC, Big Ten ... any will be good. I just hate to see the Big East disband."
This is the first time I'm aware that any Big East official or coach has talked openly about the Big East being raided, much less disbanding. It should be noted that this appears to be only Stewart's opinion, and he notes that he believes it's still several years away. But the coach is apparently preparing for a possible seismic shift in conference alignment that could change college football as we know it. And Stewart has been an adamant supporter of the Big East.
Time will tell if he's right about this.
Hard to top that bombshell. But Stewart dropped a couple of other nuggets in the interview. He said quarterback Geno Smith is "doing well" in his recovery from a broken foot and that he expects Smith to be ready by the end of spring practice. He said Smith is throwing right now while standing on a chair to avoid putting weight on the foot. Coley White will be the No. 2 quarterback but will also work out at receiver.
Stewart was also asked about safety recruit Latwan Anderson decommitting and signing with Miami. Though neither the host nor Stewart mentioned Anderson by name, it's clear who they are talking about in the interview.
"Young people change their minds all the time," Stewart said. "[I want] those who want to be here and want to lay it on the line for Mountaineer football. It all has a way of working out."