When the Big 12 coaches and players gather for their media days in late July, just before fall camp begins, West Virginia is likely to be picked in the coaches poll much closer to the bottom than the top. That's pretty much uncharted territory for the Mountaineers, who since 2004 have been picked to finish lower than second in their league just once in league-sponsored preseason polls.
Of course, all those polls prior to last season were in the Big East.
"Everybody likes to be patted on the back, so they're probably missing the fact that they get patted on the back all the time,'' Holgorsen said. "But welcome to the Big 12. We played eight opponents in the Big 12 that went to bowls and it's a competitive situation. Everybody in the Big 12 is going to be tough.
"That [realization] is something we had to go through from a player standpoint, an administration standpoint, a fan base standpoint. It's something you have to go through to truly understand it.''
Even with those high expectations, West Virginia suffered through a 7-6 season. Now they get to try it from the other end. As far as Holgorsen is concerned, that's just fine.
"I'm sure they miss the pats on the back,'' Holgorsen said. "But with that said, I think we've got a bunch of guys that like to play football, a bunch of guys that are motivated to get better, a bunch of guys that are excited about where we're at from a conference standpoint.
"So we've kind of got their attention. We've had a great 14 weeks since the bowl game and we expect to get a lot better here in the next 14 weeks leading into camp.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.