MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - All of a sudden, everything seems different for West Virginia's football team.
Of course, whether it is or not is a matter for some debate.
In reality, not much has changed with the team itself, right? It is still swimming upstream with an offense that only occasionally - although a bit more frequently of late - has its moments of clarity and success, a defense that alternately dominates and collapses, and special-teams play that is seldom wonderful or atrocious but tends to fluctuate among all points in between.
Really, now, do you have any more confidence in any of those units to perform at a higher level than you did a week or a month ago?
Didn't think so.
Sometimes, though, it is merely the situation that changes, and that's certainly true for West Virginia.
A week ago, all of those ingredients combined to create a sense of panic, at least among the faithful. A team that had lost three straight games and hadn't won on the road in almost a year needed to win three out of four and at least one or two away from Morgantown in order to avoid a losing season.
It wasn't hopeless, but it was, well, grim.
And then the Mountaineers played exactly the way they'd played all season - sputtering offense, opportunistic and then flailing defense and so-so special teams - and won a game. On the road. In overtime. Under great pressure.
And suddenly a team whose fans seemed resigned to a dismal fate had hope. Shoot, not just hope, confidence.
Who doesn't think this team can - actually should - win at least two of the last three and get to a bowl game? Who now worries about playing on the road, especially given it's Kansas? Even if you are inclined to write off a game this weekend at home against Texas, who fears Kansas and a home game against Iowa State? It's not that either are gimmes, especially for this team, but hasn't the feeling done a virtual 180 from pessimism to optimism?