SB Nation's college football mothership did a deep-dive yesterday in to the struggles of West Virginia in their move from the Big East to the Big Ten. Bud Elliott found the speculation surrounding WV head coach Dana Holgorsen's future to be misguided, and went in to the struggles many programs have had as they've transitioned from a non-P5 conference to a P5 conference over the past 10+ years.
You should read the entire article, but I pulled out this chart, which looks at all similarly situated teams. Note that obviously for purposes of this exercise, they're not considering the Big East a "power conference" even though it was in the BCS, because it was so decimated by realignment.
The comparison is for the same period of time prior to their arrival in their new league - so for BC, that would be their last ten seasons in the Big East vs. their last ten seasons in the ACC. Note that the winning percentage listed here is in conference games only, so non conference is not taken in to consideration.
|Winning % vs. new conference, compared to same period in former*|
|Virginia Tech (Big East to ACC)||.683||.719||+.026|
|Boston College (Big East to ACC)||.480||.477||-.003|
|Pitt (Big East to ACC)||.571||.542||-.029|
|Louisville (Big East to ACC)||.800||.625||-.175|
|Syracuse (Big East to ACC)||.476||.250||-.226|
|Rutgers (Big East to Big Ten)||.533||.250||-.283|
|Utah (Mountain West to Pac-12)||.775||.444||-.331|
|Miami (Big East to ACC)||.864||.531||-.333|
|TCU (Mountain West to Big 12)||.968||.583||-.385|
|West Virginia (Big East to Big 12)||.833||.417||-.416|
*chart from SB Nation's Bud Elliott
There are a few interesting points to get in to here and again I encourage you to read the entire article, but two things I found that stood out to me:
1) BC's winning percentage in the ACC is basically the same as it was in the Big East over a decent sample size of 10 years. Programs tend to find their level in the long run. There will be peaks and valleys but it'll gravitate around a certain point unless something monumental happens to shift the center of gravity in one direction or the other. Many of the other programs listed have a short sample size (2-3 years). Also, the last 10 years of BC in the Big East featured a much stronger conference than, say, Pitt or Rutgers competed in in their final years in the Big East, contributing to their drop in success.
2) The success BC found from 2005-2009 in the ACC is probably even more remarkable than we give it credit for, given the challenge other programs have had moving up to a higher level of conference competition.
Elliott notes that after shaky starts to their lives in a new conference, TCU and Utah seem to be on the upward trend. Of course, BC has been on a downward trend since 2009, and if that trend continues, the Eagles will slide down this chart.