DALLAS - Please forgive West Virginia's relative obliviousness in matters pertaining to the Big 12. Instead, give the Mountaineers some time.
The Big 12 began competition in 1996. West Virginia has never played a regular-season football game against a present member. WVU played 2008 and 2009 September games against Colorado and bowl games in 1998 and 2008 against Missouri and Oklahoma. Only the Sooners remain, as Colorado has since bolted for the Pac 12 and Missouri is now a member of the SEC.
The Mountaineers just don't know a lot about their new home, which turned the conference media days this week into something of a fact-finding mission.
So what is the Big 12? Glad you asked ...
The Big 12, perhaps improbably, is back. This isn't the league that boasts Texas and Oklahoma and welcomes Oklahoma State and Baylor and maybe even TCU and WVU to the hierarchy. This is the league that had the paddles put to its chest in each of the past two summers.
"We don't aspire to be competitive. We aspire to be the best in everything we do," Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said.
The Big 12 is stable. Mack Brown has been the Texas coach for 14 seasons. Bob Stoops has been at Oklahoma for 13 years. Bill Snyder has been at Kansas State for 20 years over two separate stints. That's somewhat unusual these days, but there might be a new trend in the Big 12.
Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy signed an eight-year contract extension in January. Iowa State's Paul Rhoads signed a 10-year extension in December. Baylor's Art Briles signed an undisclosed extension in December. TCU's Gary Patterson, who's been in place 11 years, signed an extension last year that takes him through 2018. Figure WVU's Dana Holgorsen will add some years whenever he signs his contract.
The Big 12 is a coach's destination. The same could not be said of the Big East.
The Big 12 is opinionated and Bowlsby is not scared to share those opinions.
He openly wondered about the NCAA's involvement with Penn State. He said strength of schedule ought to - and will - be a key part of the national championship series selection process. He thinks schools should be able to monetize their third-tier media rights. He believes the playoff will slow down expansion and that "a period of calm would be highly advantageous for college football."
The Big 12 is, again, nothing like the Big East in that regard.
The Big 12 is consistent. That's going to matter in a four-team playoff. Yet, in the BCS era, the league has had 14 teams in the top four. The BCS era, by the way, started in 1998 - 14 years ago. The Big 12 has had at least one top-four team in 11 of those years.
The next wave of consistency will come from the top. The tie Bowlsby wore the day he was introduced as commissioner May 4 is the one he wore at his media day press conference Monday.