LAWRENCE, Kan. - Memorial Stadium here in the heart of Kansas is a terrific place for college football. The stadium is old but in wonderful shape, the campus set among what passes for some of the few hills the state has to offer, and even the weather, at least on this mid-November day, was nearly perfect.
Yet for West Virginia's football team, all the setting did was provide a pleasant background for, well, a funeral.
The Mountaineers' 2013 season died here Saturday. There is no debating that. Nothing that happened before or after matters.
Before this weekend, WVU had done just enough to make this game matter. Now it doesn't. Nor does the one remaining game the Mountaineers must play matter. Iowa State will come to Morgantown in two weeks. Students will be home for Thanksgiving. Fans will stay home, too. There's really no reason not to. A 4-7 West Virginia team will play an Iowa State bunch with an even worse record. Nothing will be at stake.
Not a bowl game. Not a winning record. Just two teams going through the motions.
That's what happens when you lose to Kansas. And West Virginia didn't just lose here. The Mountaineers were embarrassed. A team that hasn't been able to beat another Big 12 team in more than three years beat WVU.
If anyone was still searching for the bottom of West Virginia's football barrel, search no more. A 31-19 loss to Kansas is it. Even Dana Holgorsen referred to it as "an all-time low,'' and he's the one charged with putting a smiley face on things.
All of which, in truth, leaves only one question that is open for much debate: Is this where West Virginia's program is headed or is it simply where it is right now? In other words, is losing to Kansas - as well as a losing record and a snapped 11-year bowl streak - a short-term part of a process to grow the program or more an indication of the ultimate direction it is headed?
I'm not going there right now. Besides, you've already made up your mind, so nothing I say will change it one way or another.
Holgorsen? Well, you know where he stands. He's in uncharted territory. He's never gone through anything like this. You get the feeling that he's not to the point where he's fearing for his job, and given that it would cost WVU in the neighborhood of $11.6 million to fire him he's probably right.
So what he'll do is go back to work.