Bill Stewart and I don't always see eye-to-eye. There are probably a ton of things we disagree on, like punt vs. not punt, Rihanna vs. Beyonce, and sweater vest vs. anything other than sweater vest. But at the end of the day, we have to get along, mostly because he's the head football coach of West Virginia and I'm not, regardless of what I try to tell you.
Still, at times, HCBS ruffles my feathers. Sunday's press conference was one of those moments. I could best describe yesterday's rant as Bill Stewart's version of giving the middle finger to all doubting fans out there. There's really no other way to put it. Unfortunately for Bill, there are still a lot of doubting fans out there, and this doesn't exactly go a long way to making him any more likable to the group.
So, to try to best breakdown his thoughts and feelings, we're going to go all FJM-style on this diatribe. If you don't know what FJM means, Google it (or just click here -- I'm not that big of an asshole).
Here we go....
[Warning: this is going to be excessively snarky, but the way I see it, you don't talk down so much to a fan base/media group and not expect some kind of retort. Warning over.]
I’ll tell you what I’ve seen the entire season. I’ve seen four quarters of not great football for West Virginia. Let me slow this down for you real good, everybody.
Thanks, Bill. Always looking out for us simple fans. Of all the things you do for us, and I'll absolutely admit winning nine games is an impressive feat, slowing things down for us is not one that we really need. You can talk as fast as you want, we'll follow.
Listen to me:
We’re 9-3. We’re 9-3.
I got it. We're 9-3. I took numbers in school, so I'm familiar with the meaning of both 9 and 3 -- not to mention numerous other numbers, though 4 has always given me trouble.
You understand how many teams in America would like to be 9-3 now? I’m not scolding you. I’m telling you.
It sure sounds like you're scolding us. A lot of teams would like to be 9-3, just like a lot of teams would love to be in USC's shoes at 8-4 and in the AT&T Bowl. I realize we're not USC, but WVU fans have come to expect a lot in the past few years. Whether you think that is appropriate or not, I really don't much care. That's the reality of the situation. 9-3 is good, but 10-2 is better. When you go 10-2, 11-1 will be better. You may as well get used to that.
And yes, you improved from last year, which I applaud you for. Hell, I was happy with the win yesterday, simply because it finished the season on a high note and we made it to the Gator Bowl. To simply call it an improvement over last year and move on would be a disservice. Last year was a big disappointment, so improvement was mandatory, not a luxury.
I’ve been keeping this in too long. Bill Stewart is going to punch back a little bit today.
When Bill Stewart, of all people, is talking in the third person, something has gone seriously, seriously wrong. I almost feel bad that we've pushed him to this point.
We’re 9-3. We’re going to the Gator Bowl. OK?
I got it, 9-3. Still good with the numbers.
We had a bad fourth quarter at Auburn. OK. I didn’t throw that kid under the bus. We didn’t do very well. We had a bad fourth quarter at Auburn.
It was more than just a bad fourth quarter. We had an absolutely fantastic start. 14-0 before Auburn had even blinked. It was a dream start, no doubt. But after that, there were few bright spots. We turned the ball over six times and not all of those were in the fourth quarter. I give HCBS shit for a lot of different things, but his selective memory is certainly towards the top of my list.
With that said, I think it's admirable that HCBS doesn't throw kids under the bus. Unfortunately, when bad traits persist game to game, you start to question his philosophy of always loving his lads.
We had three bad quarters at South Florida. That’s what Mike’s alluding to. Mike, I’m scolding you either. You’re my buddy. But write that. Write the truth. We had four bad quarters of football.
I'm not Mike (he's referring to Mike Casazza, by the way), but I will happily write the truth. Unfortunately, Bill, your version of the truth lacks the key ingredient to truth: truth.
We've had way, way, way more bad quarters of football than just four. You've hit the first couple, but what about, and I'll try to count each and every one of them:
- East Carolina: 1st quarter -- Quickly behind 10-0 in front of the home crowd, we had to connect on a long TD pass with eight seconds left in the quarter to salvage a 10-7 deficit. If anyone saw that quarter, they would agree it was "bad." I'm not even mentioning the fact that we started our first drive at our own two after 47 (slight exaggeration) consecutive penalties. OK, fine, I mentioned it.
- Auburn, 2nd quarter -- You already hit on the fourth quarter (which is what I assume you were talking about), but how about the second? Outscored 10-0, we went three and out, Jarrett Brown was intercepted deep in Auburn territory, and the game went from a near blowout to a one point halftime lead. Was that a good quarter? No.
- Marshall, 1st quarter -- I know Jarrett Brown got hurt, but when you lose any quarter on the scoreboard to Marshall, you can't convince me to call it even average. It was bad.
- UConn, 2nd quarter -- What would have been a decent quarter was completely undone by allowing the Huskies to return a kickoff to our own 42 with only 48 seconds left in the half. Even worse was allowing them to score in only three plays, letting them take a 17-14 halftime lead.
- Louisville, 1st, 2nd, and 4th quarters -- I'm not going to break these down individually, but this was as atrocious as atrocious gets against a far worse than atrocious Louisville team. I don't care what the end result was, there is no excuse for quarters such as these. Only in the third period did we outscore one of the worst teams in college football by more than one point. And in the first and fourth, they held us scoreless. Puke.
- Rutgers, 3rd quarter -- During the game, the announcers mentioned that West Virginia was squib kicking every time to prevent long returns from Rutgers, because we couldn't "kick it long or kick it high." This strategy was working great. Of course, in your infinite wisdom, you decided to attempt a deep kick, which immediately resulted in a Rutgers TD. I give that decision to kick it deep an F, only because I don't think X is an actual grade. Some decisions are so bad that you lose the quarter because of them, not to mention we were outscored by Rutgers. All the same, bad quarter.
OK, so I count eight different bad quarters, on top of the four that you already mentioned. Just because we end up winning the game, that doesn't excuse you or the team from absolutely laying an egg in any 15 minute time span. It makes the result better, but you still played a bad quarter (at least) 12 times this season.
We took a Cincinnati team to an onside kick. Fifth in the country. Three points. At their place. We lost to them by three points at our place last year and they were conference champs.
Cincinnati is a good team, but some of us would prefer that WVU be conference champs instead of a bum-fuck team like Cincinnati. Remember, they hadn't won shit before you became coach. Going into last season, we were 14-1-1 all-time against them. Now, all of a sudden, they're conference champs and we should be proud of staying in a game with them. Excuse me for expecting more. A lot more.
There were some ups and downs, you betcha, but a whole lot more ups than downs. Don’t tag my name to anything other than this is a 9-3 football team. And that’s from my heart and as businesslike as I can be and it’s fair. I’m not going to let people keep telling me my players and my boys are not good. They’re 9-3.
Like I said before, 9-3 is good, but 10-2 is better. If you actually go 10-2 next year, I will be thrilled, but then I will expect 11-1. That's just natural. Just don't bitch at me for having high expectations.
I told you about the four quarters. I told you about Cincinnati.
And I told you about eight more.
Now, did we win pretty all the time? No, but, by God, that was pretty to me today. Next.
Let's just agree to disagree, shall we?