MORGANTOWN - There is little reason to believe that West Virginia will work up more than a token sweat before polishing off Norfolk State Saturday afternoon at Mountaineer Field.
Of course, there was little reason to believe that Michigan would do the same a few years ago against Appalachian State. Or that Virginia Tech would face a challenge from James Madison last season.
Granted, those were upper-tier FCS opponents and Norfolk State does not fit into that category. The Spartans play in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, which as a league hasn't won an FCS playoff game in 12 years and last spring put to a vote of the school presidents whether to even continue participating in those playoffs. (The league will, scrapping a proposal to give up its automatic berth in favor of a revival of a postseason bowl game between historically black colleges.)
But Norfolk State has played three FBS opponents in the last four years - twice at Rutgers and once at Kentucky - and lost by a combined 128-3.
Yes, the Spartans won their opener by a mile last week, beating Virginia State 37-3. But perhaps Virginia State was looking ahead to this week's game.
It's in Institute against West Virginia State.
Still, Mountaineer coach Dana Holgorsen is not going to be caught shrugging off an opponent. Any opponent.
"We treat every opponent the same. We didn't make a huge deal last week of being with in-state Marshall,'' Holgorsen said. "We make a big deal of saying 'This is who our opponent is. This is what they do. This is how we'll prepare for the game. This is the routine of the game week. Let's worry about ourselves and go out and execute it. '
But history will come into play. Very recent history, in fact.
Last weekend alone, Sacramento State beat Oregon State 29-28 in overtime, and Richmond beat Duke (for the third time in six seasons) 23-21. Washington needed a late interception to hold off an Eastern Washington team that passed for 479 yards, winning 30-27, and Northern Iowa came within 40 seconds of beating Iowa State before losing 20-19.
Oh, and Kansas State needed 10 fourth-quarter points to beat Eastern Kentucky 10-7.
"They've already brought it up,'' West Virginia sophomore linebacker Doug Rigg said. "What was it, two or three [FCS] teams won last weekend? They're not going to let us forget that.''