Sure, there are always other mitigating factors. Hey, a lack of talent might be one, huh? Again, increasingly this appears not to be a matter of confidence or coaching or execution or any of the other myriad excuses folks use when things don't go well, but rather just a bad football team playing bad football.
Still, the evidence seems to suggest otherwise, at least to a point. A truly bad football team doesn't do some of the things this one has done this season, like take No. 10 Oklahoma to the wire and whack preseason Big 12 favorite and then-No. 11 Oklahoma State.
"At times,'' defensive coordinator Keith Patterson said, "we look like a football team.''
Yet two-thirds of the way through the season, the only way that West Virginia can salvage the only real goal it ever had - bowl eligibility - is to win three of the final four games.
If you're counting, it was the 5-0 start to 2012 that marked the last time this team put together anything even close to a 3-1 record. They've won back-to-back games just once since then - a span of 16 games during which the Mountaineers have gone 5-11 - and have been outscored by 210 points by teams not named Georgia State and Kansas.
"It's heartbreaking,'' senior safety Darwin Cook said. "Anybody in that type of situation . . . it's your last go-around and you want to make it your best one. Evidently we're not doing what we're supposed to be doing right now. It's disappointing, but we just have to go back [to practice] on Tuesday and go back to work or the same thing will happen again.''
Can this team drag itself out from the depths, though?
Yes, there are at least three teams remaining on the schedule that West Virginia can beat. But 3-5 TCU this week is playing at home and WVU has won exactly one road game (Iowa State) in that 16-game stretch. Iowa State 1-6 in large part because it has faced WVU's Big 12 schedule (its four league opponents are a combined 14-2 in conference play). Kansas is Kansas and there's no sugar-coating the Jayhawks, but the game is another of those roadies.
Shoot, even Texas is beatable if for no other reason than somehow WVU hasn't lost to the Longhorns in just about anything since joining the Big 12 (a combined 5-1 in football, men's basketball and baseball).
Winning, though, in so many ways means believing you can win. And that's where shattered confidence doesn't help matters much.
"We're losing, so sure, you're not going to be as confident as you were,'' Cook said. "But you just have to stick to your game plan, stick to what you do best and practice hard.''
And that's saying all the right things. Doing it could be another story entirely.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.