Like old Ray used to say, that's the way she goes. That was a loss that's going to sting for a bit. But we probably should have seen it coming. Not necessarily to Syracuse. But somewhere along the line. The inconsistencies were there.
I'll never forget when Spencer Hall talked about why WVU would not be nearly as good in Stewart's first year as opposed to the previous year's team. This was in the spring before his first regular season game. And it really had nothing to do with Stewart as a coach. Instead, he presented a very sober (which I was not in favor of) rationale for our certain demise. To his credit, it played out exactly like he said it would. He explained that this had a lot more to do with the changeover in the coaching staff and the new things they would be asking the players to do. I didn't want to believe him, but it's always stuck in my head. And now seems like a good time to bring it up since we can't look at what happened Friday and come up with a logical explanation as to why it happened. Other than the explanation that this team just hasn't put it together yet.
The anatomy of a head coach and his team in the first year is littered with peaks and valleys. This just proves we're like everyone else. A majority of first year coaches at BCS schools finish outside the top 10. The talent in place is a big factor. It's probably the biggest reason any first year coach ever could finish his team that high. But it doesn't happen very often. The rest of the time, it's a process. The coaches get to know each other and the team. Mistakes are made, and hopefully they learn from them. You either believe it's going in the right direction or you don't.
As bad as it was back in Stewart's first year, it's not as bad this time around. It's always worth repeating that Nehlen and Rodriguez both had it much worse. I had expectations of West Virginia running the table in the Big East. But you have to remember that things like this happen. Not just at West Virginia. We still haven't put a complete game together. We're not consistent from quarter to quarter or game to game. But before Friday night, we could always turn it on in time. Now that we know that doesn't always work, a change will be made to the plan. We've still got a great shot at a BCS birth. Some BCS conference with wondering eyes probably only looked away for a few seconds. We'll carry on just fine. We all just need to keep our composure.