"We just have to play these last three games and see what happens,'' Miller said. "There's nothing else we can do.''
Well, actually there is. Shoring up the team's special teams play would be a start. The Mountaineers lost to Louisville Saturday for reasons that included a dropped touchdown pass, two turnovers that created perhaps a 14-point swing, an inability to capitalize on its own gained turnover and a defense that generally played well but couldn't make the one or two stands that absolutely had to be made.
But it was special teams errors that stood out the most. Allowing a blocked field goal to be returned for a touchdown, missing another chip-shot field goal and sending two punts out of bounds after they'd traveled a combined 23 yards were killers.
"The blocked field goal and the touchdown I dropped could have made the difference,'' said receiver Stedman Bailey, who can hardly be blamed after catching eight passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns. "But you can't do anything about it now. You just have to move on.''
The Mountaineers will spend this week talking publicly about how they can't do anything except take it one game at a time and see what happens. A win on Saturday against Cincinnati at the NFL Bengals' Paul Brown Stadium (it was announced Sunday as an ABC game at noon) would be a great start. But it would only be a start and the Mountaineers still would need help just to get into the same position as last year - having a fighting chance going into the last weekend.
First, Cincinnati would need to lose another game. And the Bearcats after this weekend would seem to have the most difficult part of their schedule behind them with WVU, Pitt and Louisville in the rear-view mirror. Coach Butch Jones' team then plays at Rutgers and slumping Syracuse and home against Connecticut.
Second, Louisville would have to lose at least once. The Cardinals, who have won three in a row, host Pitt on Saturday and then finish at UConn and South Florida.
And even if those things happen, the Mountaineers still must win out against Cincinnati, Pitt and South Florida and likely would only find themselves tied for first. And the other teams involved in that tie could vary greatly, as would WVU's chances of winning any tie-breakers.
"Last year we tied for the Big East championship at 5-2,'' said linebacker Najee Goode, who was also a true freshman on the 2007 team that tied for the title at 5-2. "All we can do is go out and try to do that again.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com.