MORGANTOWN - West Virginia may be playing for high stakes Saturday or for really nothing at all. Truth be told, it won't become obvious what's on the line until probably eight hours after its game with Rutgers ends.
For the Scarlet Knights, though, well, there's just not much out there regardless.
After a 4-2 start that was seven points shy of potentially being 6-0, Rutgers has lost five in a row. The last two weren't even competitive - a 69-38 loss at Connecticut and Saturday's 40-13 home drubbing at the hands of Louisville.
The loss to Louisville Friday eliminated Rutgers from any possibility of reaching a bowl game. The Scarlet Knights have given up nearly 1,100 yards of total offense the past two weeks. On offense, they rank last in the Big East and No. 107 nationally in total offense.
Oh, and Rutgers is 0-16 all-time at Mountaineer Field, where Saturday's noon game will be played in front of a national audience on ABC.
So what's the incentive?
"Well, we around Rutgers we play 12 one-game seasons,'' Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said Monday. "So you know what? We have an opportunity to be 1-0 in this one-game season. And the overall season, we have an opportunity to end on a high note, even though it wasn't the kind of year that we wanted or anticipated.''
Indeed, at the beginning of the season hopes were once again high for Rutgers. No, they weren't a trendy pick in the Big East like they had been in the two or three years before this one (Rutgers was picked fifth in the preseason coaches' poll), but there were 14 starters back from a 9-4 team that had just played in the school's unprecedented fifth straight bowl game.
But after a predictable 31-0 rout of Norfolk State in the opener, everything has been a struggle. The tipoff might actually have been in that opening game when the Knights led just 6-0 at halftime.
What followed were wins over Florida International, Connecticut and Rutgers and losses to North Carolina and Tulane. Three of the games were decided by three points, none by more than five. And the hardest part of the schedule was yet to come.
Rutgers would not win again, although losses to South Florida and Syracuse came by a combined four points.