Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Why not WV?

I'm not going to call it hatin',because I know better, but there have been quite a few bloggers expressing their opinion that WV should not be considered for a spot in the national title game if they should go undefeated this year. Here are a couple links for you to check out. Further discussion is in the comments sections of each. I should preface this by saying that I read these blogs daily and have come to appreciate each for their knowledgeable and in depth reporting. I think they have valid points in this case, but I can't help but say that we are playing a schedule that has been dictated to us. Thanks to our governor we are playing Marshall this year. Truth be told, Marshall will be back to repectability soon, and that shouldn't be a negative on our schedule in a few years. Also, Miami, Virginia Tech, and Boston College are gone from the schedule. Pitt and Syracuse are going through uncharacteristically down times. And there isn't a damn thing we can do about any of that.

There's some real talent on this team. Some you know about like Slaton, White, Dan Moses, Brandon Myles,and Boo McLee. Some like Johnny Dingle, Eric Wicks, Brandon Barrett, Darius Reynaud, and Owen Schmitt you'll be learning about real soon.

If WV finishes the season undefeated and there is one other undefeated, or better yet, they are the only undefeated team, I have a hard time keeping them out of that game. Would it change your mind if Pat White passes for 2,000 and rushes for 1,000? Since I'm dipping into the realm of hypothetical, the passing game was a big emphasis in the spring. Does your mind change if we aren't a one trick pony anymore? As much as I enjoyed the seniors from last season, I expect the defense to be much improved by the time we get into, yeah go ahead and laugh, the meat of our schedule. They will be a more talented defense, for sure.

One thing I will concede is that if we lose one game, all bets are off. And if that loss comes against Louisville, chances are we don't get a BCS bowl invite. Kyle at
Dawg Sports has us at #9 in his pre-season rankings, and makes some comparisons to Florida State when they were winning the ACC every year.

"9. West Virginia. This year, you won't find a bigger Mountaineer fan than me outside of Appalachia. Until I am able to persuade Mr. Peabody to let me borrow the wayback machine long enough to return to the Sugar Bowl and persuade Rich Rodriguez to punt the ball and give D.J. Shockley the chance he deserved for some late-game heroics, I will be rooting for W.V.U., because a good season by the Mountain Men will validate the Bulldogs' loss to them. Unfortunately, although West Virginia is good, Coach Rodriguez's squad finds itself in much the same position that Bobby Bowden's Florida State teams occupied in the seasons immediately preceding Miami's admission to the A.C.C.: the Mountaineers of 2006, like the 'Noles of old, are the favorites to win a league in which several of their opponents are improving incrementally and looking to make a name for themselves by giving the big boys their best shot. Someone somewhere is going to get by the unsuspecting Mountaineers and, with that schedule, West Virginia will never be able to overcome even a single loss."

The one thing I get from all of this is that WV hasn't done it consistently. If we can string together a few 11-12 win seasons, I get the feeling this conversation wouldn't be such a focus. Then again, did Kansas St. ever really get anyone's respect?


Kyle King said...

First of all, thanks for the link. Although my initial reaction to the Bulldogs' loss to the Mountaineers last January was one of angry denial, I have since come to appreciate that West Virginia was simply a better team than anyone credited them with being.

Your point about Kansas State is a fair one, but there are two important distinctions to be drawn. When the Wildcats were winning 11 games every year, the knock on them was that (a) they weren't winning many conference championships in the process and (b) they were playing absolute cupcakes on their non-conference slate.

If West Virginia proceeds to reel off three or four straight seasons of double-digit wins, neither of those criticisms will apply. If the Mountaineers win 10 or 11 games in each of the next three seasons, they will win at least two Big East titles in the process.

Since Rich Rodriguez succeeded Don Nehlen as W.V.U.'s head coach, the Mountaineers have played regular season out-of-conference games at Maryland (three times), at Notre Dame, at Wisconsin, and at Virginia Tech, which shows a legitimate commitment to becoming the best by playing the best.

Even Marshall is no patsy, especially since it is an in-state game and the Thundering Herd will be up for what they hope to make a rivalry.

The Mountaineers' strength of schedule will be an impediment only if there are more than two major conference unbeatens at the end of the season. If W.V.U. goes undefeated---which, again, I don't think they will, because the target is on their backs---they won't lose their place in Glendale to a once-beaten team.

Johnny said...

Thanks for coming over Kyle. I remember the post you put up after the Sugar Bowl. I think that was the first time I had heard anything about the legality of WV being a state. After I read that, I started looking into it, and found out that many of the singees of the Wheeling Convention were also the men that built many of the houses in my neighborhood. if anyone is interested in historical houses, look at Ann St., and Juliana St.

Anyhow, it's nice that anyone is even talking about us. Thanks again for stoping by, and keep up the good work!

knee_bone said...

I agree with Kyle's point about K-State and do feel that if we can win 33-35 games of the next three years (and win a conference title or two) then questions about our strength of schedule will disappear. It would also help if we pick up wins against Mississippi State this season and next, plus Auburn in 2008.

Johnny said...

Oh yeah, I agree completely. Looking at my post from this morning, I seemed to talk about everything but what Kyle talked about. Sorry, I was on coffee cup #1.
The thing that rubs me wrong is that there is just nothing that can be done this year. Unless everyone we play only looses one game, excepting Big East members. And that's not very likely.
To quote Full Metal Jacket, "It's a big shit sandwich, and we're all gonna have to take a bite." Hehehehe.