MORGANTOWN - It is merely anecdotal because to the best of anyone's personal knowledge, Vince Lombardi never actually said it. He gets credit for it, though, because, well, it's a terrific line and someone had to have said it first, right?
Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing.
But try telling that to a segment of the West Virginia fan base, and you are sure to get an argument.
The Mountaineers are 2-0 today. They are ranked among the Top 25 teams in the country by everyone who compiles such lists.
Is that cause for rampant celebration and couch burning? No, probably not. Let's face it, the only thing that guarantees, as Don Nehlen famously used to say, is that now they can't lose them all. They could, however, lose the next 10, which would make any uneasiness being felt today seem like the absolute best day of anyone's life.
We're not talking about the next 10 games, though, at least not yet. No, we're talking about the first two, specifically West Virginia's 31-0 win over Coastal Carolina and, more to the point, last Friday's 24-21 overtime win at Marshall.
To hear some describe those opening two games, it seems the Mountaineers are surely destined for a calamitous fall from grace unseen in these parts since 13-9. Failing to put up 50 against an FCS opponent that a week later couldn't beat Towson? Ugh. And needing a miraculous comeback to beat a team that just got its clock cleaned by Ohio State?
Get out the smelling salts because the rest of this season is going to be one fainting spell after another as West Virginia loses week after week after week.
Or is it really that bad? I don't know. Ask the fans at Virginia Tech. Or Minnesota. Or Kansas.
Oh, wait, not Kansas. That was last week, when the Jayhawks lost to North Dakota State, not this week after a win over ranked Georgia Tech. Sorry.
Now before you get the notion that this is some lame attempt to defend and protect the honor - not to mention the future employment - of Bill Stewart and his WVU coaching staff, take a deep breath. That's not what this is about. For all I know yes, this team could be headed for a season of apocalyptical doom and gloom. Little that we have seen to date has been proof positive that it won't happen. But by the same token, little that we have seen
to date is much of an indication that it will.
And that's the point. If you want to judge this team - or any other - don't think for a moment that you are smart enough to do it as a matter of instant analysis. That's for the ESPN talking heads of the world, who one week will definitively declare Boise State a national championship contender because the Broncos laid it on Virginia Tech, then the next week will hedge big time when it is discovered that, oops, do the Hokies really suck that badly?
As Emily Litella would have so aptly said, uh, never mind.
No, this West Virginia football team might be really, really good or really, really bad. It could be something in the middle (and isn't that what you're really worried about?).
But anyone who sits there and thinks he has a handle on just how good or bad this or any team in the country is, well, they are going to be proved wrong more times than right.