Well, part of it might be that aside from Baylor, even at the top, the Big 12 just isn't very good this season. Oklahoma switched quarterbacks after barely beating WVU and has since switched again. Oklahoma State was still trying to find its QB answer when it came to Morgantown and lost. Texas Tech is 0-4 since rallying to beat WVU. Texas was proved a pretender when it was walloped by Oklahoma State Saturday.
Oh, and the Maryland team that made it into the Top 25 partly on the strength of its 37-0 rout of WVU is 2-4 since.
In other words, the top-tier teams West Virginia played weren't even top-tier teams in the grand scheme of things. That probably doesn't make Mountaineer fans feel any better, but it's true. All those times this season when Holgorsen insisted he thought WVU was close to being a good team? Well, even he was fooled because the good teams he was seeing weren't really very good.
West Virginia was just close to being mediocre or a touch above like everyone else.
But unlike those other teams - all of which have achieved bowl eligibility - WVU never even got to mediocre. That can be explained by citing the issues at quarterback (and the other skill positions) and the injuries on defense. A healthier team with a stable quarterback would have gotten there.
But this team didn't have a stable quarterback and its depth wasn't such to be able to overcome the injuries on defense. That's on Holgorsen. He's had two-plus recruiting classes (the plus being the year he was hired as offensive coordinator in December and brought in Paul Millard) to find and develop quarterbacks and defensive depth.
"This program's not equipped right now to handle the wear and tear of the Big 12,'' Holgorsen said. "You look at how many freshmen were out there - and I'm not blaming anything on injuries; that's just part of the game. But you've got to be able to have depth. In the Big 12, you've got to be able to handle a lot of snaps and you've got to be able to handle injuries. And right now we're not where we need to be.''
And as a result, the Mountaineers won't be where they want to be next month, which is in a bowl game.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at twitter.com/dphickman1.