STILLWATER — Decision time appears to be looming for former Oklahoma State quarterback Wes Lunt.
Mike Gundy blocked three of the five schools Lunt requested as release options. The quarterback has visited the other two — Louisville and Illinois — within the last few weeks.
Here's a look at the factors Lunt could be weighing as he picks his new school.
Conference: Big Ten
2012 record: 2-10 (0-8 Big Ten)
Head coach: Tim Beckman
Offensive coordinator: Bill Cubit
Location, location, location.
Illinois' campus in Champaign is about 90 miles northeast of Lunt's hometown of Rochester, and playing nearby certainly has its advantages.
Lunt's family is close, as his parents have made a pact that at least one of them will be at all of Wes' games, home or away. It's much easier to travel to Ohio and Michigan and Wisconsin than it is to travel to Oklahoma (six or seven times per season) and Texas and Kansas.
And most people have plenty of pride in where they grew up. If Lunt could help lead an Illinois resurgence — remember when Juice Williams and Rashard Mendenhall and Co. went to the Rose Bowl in 2008? — Lunt would become a hometown hero.
Not to mention, there's very little chance any quarterback that will be on the Illinois roster in 2014 is as gifted as Lunt. No more quarterback competition. The starting job would be his.
Easy. This program is in bad shape.
Beckman, a former OSU defensive coordinator, had a brutal first season at the helm. His leash likely isn't very long. After making the necessary adjustments that come with transferring, going through a coaching change — which often come with system tweaks — would not be ideal for Lunt.
A top-notch quarterback can go a long way in making a head coach look good, but Lunt would need lots of help. Illinois ranked dead last in the offensively challenged Big Ten in scoring offense and total offense last season. Beckman brought in Cubit — the former head coach at Western Michigan who previously made stops as an assistant at Florida, Missouri, Rutgers and Stanford — during the offseason to try to improve that side of the ball.
Conference: Big East (ACC in 2014)
2012 record: 11-2 (5-2 Big East); Won Sugar Bowl
Head coach: Charlie Strong
Offensive coordinator: Shawn Watson
There are plenty.
The chance to play for one of the brightest up-and-coming coaches in college football at one of the biggest up-and-coming programs. Or maybe beating Florida in a BCS game means Louisville has already arrived.
The chance to play in an offense that has helped turn Teddy Bridgewater into an early Heisman contender for 2013 and first-round NFL Draft prospect.
The chance to join an athletic program that is arguably the nation's best, with the men's basketball team winning the national championship, the women's basketball team advancing to the Final Four and the baseball team heading to Super Regionals.
Louisville is closer to Rochester than Stillwater but not exactly close at 300 miles away. That means no quick trips home on bye weeks or super-easy visits from family members.
Additionally, succeeding any transcendent quarterback like Bridgewater comes with pressure. Though Lunt has already dealt with that by taking over for OSU's Brandon Weeden.
And what if Bridgewater takes the Matt Barkley route and returns for his senior season in 2014 instead of departing early for the NFL, as expected? Then Lunt would need to wait around another season — something he likely would not have had to do had he stayed at OSU.
And even though Strong turned down Tennessee to sign a long-term deal at Louisville during the offseason, he will remain a hot commodity on the coaching carousel if he keeps winning. What if an even bigger program comes calling in one, two or three seasons?