5-3 mark not that shocking for WVU
MORGANTOWN - Odds and ends and a few things I think I think as yet another college football season winds down without West Virginia as a major player:
Actually, it's three times in 119 years, which is the number of seasons the school has played football.
By being relevant we mean in the discussion for a national championship. There have been a couple of other times WVU has been unbeaten and highly ranked late in the season, but those blew up quickly. In 2006 it happened when the No. 3 Mountaineers lost at No. 5 Louisville the first weekend in November. If you'd like to go back to 1955, Pappy Lewis' team was 7-0 and No. 6 before losing to Pitt and Syracuse back-to-back.
We bring this up not to denigrate or belittle, but as a reality check. West Virginia is now playing harder games in a tougher conference than at any time in those 119 years. Did you really think that a second-year coach was going to take a team he didn't recruit through the most difficult schedule (by a mile) in school history without some glitches?
Granted, some of those glitches are embarrassing and almost inexplicable, but really now. In 119 years West Virginia has had three late-season shots at the summit, every one of them while playing a suspect schedule. The way the Mountaineers have gotten to 5-3 might be shocking, but that they are there is certainly not.
My 6-year-old, Annie, can't vote, of course, but if she could she would vote for "Rocco Bama.'' The most interesting thing she's learned about the candidates in her first-grade class is that one's hobby is playing basketball and the other's is riding horses. I'm thinking that's her basis for the vote.
Just a guess, but that's probably deeper than a lot of partisan voters go before marking their ballot.
But just for kicks and giggles, imagine that Alabama, Kansas State, Oregon and Notre Dame finish 12-0 or 13-0. Why can't the BCS powers that be get together and just decide to accelerate the four-team playoff scheduled for 2014 to now?
Really? Who would oppose it? The contracts that are in place involve the television networks and the major conferences acting as the BCS, right? Is ABC/ESPN going to balk at televising what everyone wants to see? Would the SEC, the Pac-12, the Big 12 or Notre Dame oppose an immediate expansion given that by refusing to do so they are gambling that two of them are going to be left out?
And what of the four major bowls? If the standings remain as they are now, the Sugar (Alabama) and Fiesta (Kansas State) will lose their anchor teams to a one-game national title matchup. The Rose will get a very ticked off Oregon and the Orange probably gets Notre Dame against a weak ACC team. The only game that makes out is the title game.
Put Alabama and Notre Dame in the Sugar and Oregon-Kansas State in the Fiesta. The Rose Bowl gets its traditional Pac-12-Big Ten, which is what it professes to hold dearest. And while the Orange is perhaps a dud - Florida State-Louisville? - no one cares because it's merely the opening act to the national title game, which it is now anyway.
Again, who objects? What is standing in the way? As it stands now the bowl matchups are probably Notre Dame-ACC in the Orange, Oregon-Big Ten in the Rose, the SEC runner-up vs. a wild card in the Sugar, the Big 12 runner-up against the Big East in the Fiesta and Alabama-Kansas State in the title game.
Sorry, but not many of those quicken the pulse.
I'm not saying it should be the title game and unless Kansas State loses it might not be. That's for others to decide.
But don't try to tell me you don't want to see that game.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.