MORGANTOWN - Dana Holgorsen has spent a lot of time this week talking about the things West Virginia has to play for Saturday against Iowa State.
None of those things, however, are tangible.
He's mentioned playing for the team's 14 seniors and for pride. He's tried to remind all who would listen that this is still a Big 12 football game, even if it's the bottom of the Big 12.
"You play for pride,'' Holgorsen said. "Shoot, you're playing a Big 12 football game. So get out there and have fun with it and play. At some point it just comes down to having enough pride about you to fight and strain to get the victory.''
There's one thing, however, that Holgorsen refuses to treat this game as - a chance to get a head start on 2014.
In truth, it might not be a bad idea. After all, West Virginia (4-7, 2-6 Big 12) has nothing of substance for which to play. Bowl eligibility isn't possible, nor is a winning season. And between Saturday and the start of next season - with a game against Alabama in Atlanta - there will be no opportunities to really test anyone outside of practice.
But Holgorsen insists he won't treat this game against Iowa State (2-9, 1-7) as an opportunity for players to prove themselves heading into the offseason. Naturally, the underclassmen all have precisely that opportunity, but this won't be treated like open tryouts.
"We won't take that approach,'' Holgorsen said.
And with good reason.