Let's face it, the last time West Virginia had that open date it was leading up to the start of the meat of the Big East season. The Mountaineers were ranked No. 11, had a 1-0 league mark after blowing out Connecticut and were about to play a two-touchdown underdog.
Sure, there was the whole Schwartzwalder Trophy and all that, but let's face it, when was the last time you heard anyone talk about wanting the keep the Schwartzwalder Trophy?
Things are entirely different now. West Virginia is barely ranked in the coaches' poll (No. 23) and in need of help just to share the Big East title, much less win it and earn the league's BCS bowl berth. One would hope there would be a sense of urgency in that alone.
But it's also the Backyard Brawl. It's Pitt week. Well, actually it's two Pitt weeks, which could be a detriment. After all, there's something to be said for having too much time to prepare and to get yourself worked up in a lather over a rivalry game.
"Yeah, it can happen,'' Holgorsen said. "It can definitely happen.''
Then again, if it is played right, having two weeks to prepare can't be a bad thing. It was against Syracuse, in part because there was no real excitement value in playing the Orange and it was two weeks of just going through the motions.
This time there's a carrot at the end of the stick and at least from a focus and mental standpoint there shouldn't be too much the coaching staff has to do in order to maintain enthusiasm.
"Yeah, I would assume that will take care of itself,'' Holgorsen said. "Just the fact that it's the Backyard Brawl, it's 7 o'clock at night, it's in Morgantown. You'd think that will take care of it as opposed to playing a road game and playing Syracuse. But I don't know. Obviously we weren't ready to play that game and I take full responsibility for that.
"I would hope they'll be ready to go. They should be. I would be.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com.