MORGANTOWN - Call the past week for West Virginia's football team exactly what it was.
A reality check.
For five weeks, the Mountaineers were among the darlings of college football. A nation was abuzz over an offense that seemed bulletproof. Defensive deficiencies were all but rendered inconsequential because of that. The only compelling question regarding the Heisman Trophy race was what token contenders would be invited to the December ceremony to shake Geno Smith's hand when his name was called.
And then in the space of a few hours in Lubbock, Texas, it vanished. All of it. The offense was pedestrian, Smith mortal and the defense laughable, almost historic in its failures.
"It's embarrassing,'' coach Dana Holgorsen said. "The guys were embarrassed, they were hurt and disappointed. It's not fun for anybody.''
Here's the thing about the what-have-you-done-lately nature of college football, though: It doesn't take long for a chance at redemption. Perhaps that was the case in the Big East, where opportunities for statement wins were rare, but not in the Big 12, where - mind-blowing statistical alert - nine of the league's 10 teams are or have been ranked this season.
And so here is West Virginia, a week after suffering a crushing, nationally relevant loss in a game televised to the nation, in a position to almost completely make amends by delivering precisely the same. At 7 p.m. today, No. 17 West Virginia (5-1, 2-1 Big 12) hosts No. 4 Kansas State (6-0, 3-0) in a game to be televised nationally by Fox.
It's another of those nighttime games at Mountaineer Field with the potential to be very, very special.
Or, if things haven't changed from a week ago, very disappointing.
And that's been perhaps the main focus this week - changing things, beginning with the team's mindset.
"We need to change the mindset of our football team right now,'' Holgorsen said. "We're a good football team, but we haven't had to deal with [a loss] in a long time. It's been almost a year since we've had to deal with this and we've won a lot of games in the meantime.
"Our job as coaches is to get back to what made us win in all those games. That's working hard, playing with a tremendous amount of effort and being disciplined, being smart, playing hard, playing fast and playing physical. We have our hands full with that this week.''