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Conference Hopping, Part IV.2

As promised, here is another look at TCU's move to the Big East.

The personnel issues that I highlit in my first take on the move have cleared, somewhat. West Virginia and Pittsburgh did indeed change coaching regimes. Pitt did so in the usual fashion-- firing its coach and hiring another, Mike Haywood, an up-and-comer who turned Miami of Ohio around this season. Haywood is not a household name, like the coordinator West Virginia is tapping to succeed Bill Stewart, offensive whiz kid Dana Holgersen. But Haywood is in a much higher profile gig now, and if he continues his winning ways, he'll become one.

The Mountaineers also changed regimes, but did not use the usual fashion to do so. They hired Dana Holgersen as 2012's head coach. Until then he'll be waiting around, awkwardly, on staff, but not running the show, while Stewart serves out the remainder of his term in 2011. When Holgersen assumes the throne, no later than 2012, the Mountaineers will return to juggernaut status on offense post haste. Or else.

Just as notably, Louisville is still coached by Charlie Strong, who appears settled in Kentucky for another year, at least. The Cardinals kept their coach through openings at Florida, Vanderbilt, and Miami. One doesn't expect Louisville to be the last entry on Strong's resume, but perhaps it will be a long one. It does appear the Horned Frogs will, in 2012, play Strong's team, as well as Holgersen's, and Haywood's.

So the coaching staffs are now more predictable than they were at the time of the invite. And they appear, from this distance, to be formidable. The Wimple expects Louisville, South Florida, and West Virginia to be stout by 2012. Those are programs that will have risen considerably in the polls by then, and won't be pushovers for the Frogs, especially in their houses.

Remaining questions lurk in Syracuse and Cincinnati. If the Orange continue to improve, Doug Marrone will be a hot name for bigger jobs. And if Cincinnati does not show marked improvement, the Bearcats may be on the prowl for a new coach in 2012. So the whirligig has not ceased to spin for the Big East, but merely slowed its pace a bit.