MORGANTOWN - OK, so this is the week West Virginia football fans have looked forward to with anticipation and downright fervor for 11 months.
On Saturday, Baylor comes to Morgantown, officially beginning the Mountaineers' trip into Big 12 football.
Dana Holgorsen and his staff? Well, they hope it's no different than preparing for Marshall or Maryland or even James Madison. In fact, the primary goal for the Mountaineers this week is to make it just that - no different.
"Ignore all the outside and just focus on eliminating as many distractions as we possibly can,'' Holgorsen said. "Then we can get to the point where we're just doing our job.''
From a purely football perspective, that actually shouldn't be too hard. The practice schedule won't change, nor will what the team does during those practices or film sessions or anything else.
But in a way, Holgorsen hopes this week actually is different than some of the others his team has gone through early in the season. If there's a positive to having such a pivotal game that everyone outside the Puskar Center is talking about, it's that if nothing else it should amp up the enthusiasm inside those walls, as well.
"We're looking forward to a very fun, festive atmosphere this Saturday,'' Holgorsen said. "I thought the energy and the excitement level of last week was very average, not only from a player standpoint but from a coaches standpoint and from an atmosphere standpoint. I expect that to be totally different this week, and that's something we're looking forward to. I think our players will respond.''
Still, the focus has to be on keeping things as normal as possible during the week leading up to Saturday's noon game at Mountaineer Field, which will be televised by FX.