That all of those records are on the verge of being broken is not at all surprising, of course. Smith already has three of the top five single-game passing totals in school history and Bailey and Austin have contributed mightily to that.
"Actually, before the season even started, me and Tavon looked at the records,'' Bailey said. "We knew the opportunity would be there in this offense, but we still had to put in a lot of hard work during the offseason and the season. Everything's just been going right for us.''
First-year West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen, whose offense has provided the opportunity to put up all those numbers, maintained all along that he wasn't sure how things would play out as far as who put up the big numbers. Smith was a given, of course, because there was never any question he would be the quarterback and would throw the ball a lot. Austin was also a good bet because of his track record.
Bailey, though, was more or less an unknown. He caught 24 passes for 317 yards and four touchdowns as a redshirt freshman in 2010. This year he has 57 catches for 1,034 yards and 10 touchdowns, many of them of the spectacular variety.
"His consistency was one of the things that I questioned coming into the year,'' Holgorsen said of Bailey. "You could tell that he had the ability to make plays and be a good player. Last year, he was very spotty in that. In camp, he was pretty consistent, but until you do it throughout the course of the season you can't really tell.
"I've been happy with his consistency. We'll get him a year better and he'll be even more consistent and more dynamic next year.''
The focus for now, though, is on this year. Bailey has three more games (including a bowl) to add to his records, as do Austin and Smith. As he has approached the records, he's even managed to study those who came before him without breaking the marks, guys like Chris Henry and Jock Sanders.
"Yeah, I've been able to look into all of that as I get close to it,'' Bailey said. "It would actually mean a lot to me. There have been a lot of other great receivers come through here [in recent years] and haven't been able to do it. It's big for me.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com.