MORGANTOWN - If Mickey Matthews has chosen to go in any direction this week where his James Madison team's Saturday game against No. 9 West Virginia is concerned, it's the self-deprecating route.
And that's probably a good angle to take because Matthews does it very well.
Take, for instance, when the moderator on Monday's Colonial Athletic Association football coaches teleconference mentioned, in introducing Matthews, that Saturday's game in Landover, Md., would be televised regionally by Root Sports.
"Oh, I didn't know there was going to be people watching this game,'' Matthews said. "I thought it would be really quiet up there - just sneak in, play them and come home. It's going to be on television, huh? I didn't know that. I don't know if that's good or bad.''
Well, yes, the game at the Washington Redskins' FedEx Field will be televised. It might not be watched by too many live - if half the 82,000 seats are filled, it probably will be considered a success - but it will be on the air.
And to listen to Matthews, one would think that will be akin to televising an execution.
"You know, I'm sure the true statement is I'm sure they haven't even watched our film,'' Matthews said. "I would be very surprised if they were worried about anything we do.''
OK, so that's pretty much standard operating procedure, right? What FCS coach in his right mind isn't going to play up the huge underdog angle, even if the team he's coaching is one of the best at its level?
And, to counterpunch, what's a guy like West Virginia's Dana Holgorsen supposed to do? Agree?
Not on your life.
"They were a Top 10 team last year and led their conference in every single category,'' Holgorsen said. "I'm impressed with what they do technique-wise defensively, I'm impressed with the effort that they play with. They tackle tremendously well. We're anticipating this being a bigger challenge than what we faced a week ago.''
That, of course, would be Marshall, which the Mountaineers hammered 69-34. And before anyone begins dissing Holgorsen for dissing the Herd (a bigger challenge from an FCS team), don't. What's he supposed to say, that JMU can't carry the water of a team his just walloped with ease?