Is the glass half-empty or half-full?
When it comes to West Virginia University athletics, I can't make up my mind.
Obviously, WVU made the right move by exiting the Big East when it did. Of all the Big East members who got out of Providence, only West Virginia landed in the Big 12, one of the nation's premier leagues and one that has a reputation for playing both great football and great basketball.
But the Big 12 -unlike the Big East - is strong from top to bottom in both sports.
Gone are the days when the Mountaineer football program will have any gimmes on its schedule -unless it schedules some East Cupcakes among its three annual non- conference games (like 2013 foes William & Mary and Georgia State).
We'll never know what would have happened had WVU shunned the Big 12's offer. Would it eventually have been granted admission into the ACC, SEC or Big Ten? I don't know. Would it be better off than it is now in one of those leagues? Geographically, yes. Competition wise, who is to say?
Obviously, to be competitive in the Big 12, WVU is going to have to significantly elevate the level of its athletic program in virtually every sport or become a league doormat in sports such as baseball and swimming.
While those may not be high-profile sports to the general public, even West Virginia's most visible sports are going to have to maintain a high level of play or get used to losing. Even with offensive talents like Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey, WVU finished the football season at 7-5, well below preseason expectations.
Meanwhile, both of the Mountaineer basketball programs -the men and the women -already have lost to Duquesne.
If you're losing to Duquesne, are you going to be ready for the likes of Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Baylor? The answer is pretty obvious.
WVU's athletic program will garner more money that it ever has generated thanks to the Big 12's lucrative TV package. It also has increased its revenue through ticket prices and the donations it commands from donors. Plus, it is selling beer at home football games, yet another source of revenue.
Money is the mother's milk of business, sports, politics and virtually every other aspect of life. Having the most doesn't ensure success but having enough and spending it wisely can.
WVU is going to have to continue to increase the salaries of its head coaching positions, or risk losing its mentors to those who can and will offer more money.
Then again, a few more 7-5 football seasons and basketball losses to Duquesne and the natives will start calling for some coaching heads to roll.
I could never be one of those know-it-all talking heads on TV. I can't even answer the simple question whether the glass is half-empty or half-full.
Contact Dave Poe at firstname.lastname@example.org