The 1989 team produced first-rounder Renaldo Turnbull and second-rounders Reggie Rembert and Mike Fox after an 8-3-1 season that was lowlighted by a 31-31 tie with Pitt after blowing a 31-9 lead and a smashing by Clemson in the Gator Bowl, all despite still having Major Harris at quarterback. (Harris was the last of seven players drafted from that team.)
I'm not really sure what all of that means except this: The amount of NFL talent West Virginia has seldom seems to correlate into wildly successful seasons. The rare exception was the 1988 team, which had 15 players picked in the ensuing two NFL drafts and was 11-0 until losing to Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl.
The three consecutive 11-win teams Rich Rodriguez coached from 2005 through 2007 produced just three players who were drafted in the first three rounds of any subsequent NFL draft. That included Pat White, who lasted a year in the league without ever completing a pass.
The 1993 team that went 11-0 in the regular season had 10 players from the roster eventually drafted, but most were bit players on that team. Only three started the Sugar Bowl loss to Florida - Rich Braham, Aaron Beasley and punter Todd Sauerbrun.
I suppose the bottom line here is that West Virginia fans are still bemoaning the fact that with three of the greatest playmakers the school has ever produced, the 2012 team still stumbled badly, losing five in a row at one point and finishing dreadfully in something called the Pinstripe Bowl. Every time they turn on the NFL Network and watch Smith throwing darts, Austin as a blur and Bailey catching everything, they wonder again, how in the world could 7-6 have happened?
Well, I can't answer that. Just know that it has happened before and might well happen again. And the next time you get all revved up over an approaching football season, for some reason you might want to pick a year when there isn't all that much NFL talent around.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.