And the Big 12, which once seemed on life support because of the damage inflicted by poachers who would later pluck Texas A&M and Missouri and by the infighting that was believed to have went on behind closed doors, is improbably positioned as a power conference.
The league has even forged a first-of-its-kind bowl game alliance with the almighty Southeastern Conference to play champion against champion.
"As near as I can tell, we're over all those old things," Bowlsby said.
Bowlsby, the seventh commissioner of the Big 12, was curious about the relationships between the schools when he was vying for his latest job.
"I went into the interview and I asked frank questions and some of them had to do with the overall stability of the league, and what I found out was there was a lot more interdependency and there was a lot more mutual commitment than was publicly perceived," said Bowlsby, who took office June 15. "I think that's one of my responsibilities, to make sure the public perception is consistent with the private reality, and the private reality is these institutions were very committed to one another and very committed to our new members."
So Bowlsby has no trouble mingling with steer one night and watching a bearded mascot tote a rifle the next afternoon if it means he can tell others about how good things are in the Big 12, even with a name that doesn't match the membership. For now, though, Bowlsby says the league will resist the urge to expand and instead remain at 10.
"I don't know that there's anything not to like about the current configuration," he said. "The way we look at it in strategic terms going forward in terms of conference expansion is this ought to be a very hard fraternity to get into. No one should able to come into the league that doesn't meet the standard that a West Virginia or a TCU has met."
Surely, though, there are schools that could meet and exceed the standard. If the landscape has changed so dramatically in the past two years, there's no telling what might happen in the next two.
"I like 10 and I think the majority of our members like 10," Bowlsby said. "Is that to say what we would foreclose on any consideration of other schools? No, certainly not, and I think conference expansion is going to be on everyone's list of agenda items at every conference meeting in the Big 12 and also every other league around. I don't think that's going away anytime soon.
"But is it important to add schools? No. I'd say we're very comfortable at 10 and we can stay comfortable for a while."
How long is entirely unknown, but Bowlsby and the members have made great declarations the number won't shrink anytime soon. He said the presidents have agreed to extend the recently signed six-year grant of media rights to 13 years. Bowlsby said the deal is "memorialized" and would be signed once the television contract is complete.
That television contract with ESPN and Fox is also for 13 years and would also run through 2026. It's believed to be worth $2.6 billion and $20 million annually to each of the 10 schools. When a team grants its rights to the conference, it agrees to leave them and the revenue behind if it moves to another league.
"It's the difference between marriage and living together," Bowlsby said. "You want to be mutually committed. The presidents have agreed in principle and I have every expectation we'll sign a formal document. These people are all involved in enormous organizations and they know stability is priority No. 1 for us and they are all mutually committed to moving forward with it."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.