Reading through the comments in the Approval Meter yesterday I came across this comment from VTsucks:
"Your joking right? 22-9 against garbage competition. The only good team we played in two years has been UC. We have been smoked by USF 1, UC 2, Colorado 1, ECU 1, Pitt 1, FSU 1, Auburn 1, and LSU 1. The point is there is probably only one legit team we should have lost to in all those teams. We have the 59th and 61st rated offense those two year, what a complete disgrace. I’ll give credit where credit is due and there isn’t any due here. He has one against a watered down BE, this isn’t the same BE the product played in, UL sucks, Uconn sucks, Pitt is well pitt and Rutgers has leveled out. be real."
So, you guys know my approach a little bit. Who do I trust the most when it comes to assessing this kind of thing? The linemakers in Las Vegas. So, let's say it is not about covering. How have Bill Stewart and Company done, straight-up, when playing as a favorite? With a little help from the Statfox/Marc Lawrence archive: to this point, WVU under Stewart has been a favorite 22 times, not counting games against FCS competition, where lines are not available, but of course we would be favorites. Interestingly, the Mountaineers were favorites in all 12 games that had lines in 2008, so clearly we had a lot of residual respect held over from the previous regime and, no doubt, from Pat White's presence.
In those 22 games as favorites, Stewart is 16-6 straight-up. His egregious losses, meaning worst losses by line designation are ECU in 08 (WVU favored by 7.5), and Cincy in 08 (WVU favored by 7). All of his other straight up losses as a favorite are games in which WVU was a favorite of 3 points: Colorado in 08, Pittsburgh in 08, South Florida in 09, and Florida State in 09. Our other losses in this time frame find us as underdogs of at least 7.5 (Auburn and Cincy in 09, and last week's LSU game). Note, that even Stewart's worst losses as a fave didn't have WVU as much more than a touchdown favorite, which says to me that those games were not sure-things. As a double-digit favorite, Stewart is is 9-0, straight-up.
From the Holy Shit, We Were Good Department, for comparison, The Fraud was 46-9 as a favorite straight-up. His egregious losses, by line designation were Temple in 01 (WVU favored by 17.5), BC in 04 (WVU favored by 7), South Florida in 06 (WVU favored by 21), South Florida in 07 (WVU favored by 7), and Pitt in 07, of course...the worst loss in our football history (WVU favored by 30.5). As a double-digit favorite, the Product was a lights-out 33-3, the only losses reflected in the previous sentence. This points out what really has changed in Stewart's tenure. Under Rod, we were a double digit favorite 36 times, and under Stew....just nine. Granted, not the same amount of time has passed for both coaches, but Rod did have us in some rarified air...and I think we got accustomed to it.
The narrow spreads in so many of our games as favorites under Stewart don't bear out VTsucks' assertion that Stew's 22-9 is against "garbage competition." There are far more legit competitors in the list he compiles than merely one, and that isn't me talking, that is Vegas.