It's been a rough couple of weeks for Mountaineers fans. We saw our team go from America's "It" team to another world that ends in -it, all in just 8 short days. An off week has never come at a better time. Take a few deep breaths, give the message boards a break, swear off every website other than the Smoking Musket off for awhile and just.....chill.
Inherent in an off-week of course is the lack of Mountaineer football. So what do you do on those Saturdays when there's not a game to gear up for and you're not scouring the web for updates on the worst thigh bruise in human history? Here are a few ideas:
1. Watch Notre Dame crash back down to earth.
This is gonna be SOOOO good. The Irish have rocketed up the charts by beating their usual parade of has-beens: Purdue, Michigan, Miami, etc. Basically if you've been irrelevant for the last five years Notre Dame beat you. Then they snuck by Stanford on the good graces of some friendly zebras and unimpressively beat BYU. They’re enjoying their highest ranking since....oh, I don't know, the last time they were overrated. Well now Oklahoma is going to kick their Gold-Domed asses. That’s right, no longer are you relegated to swallowing your vomit and cheering for Pitt in the hopes of seeing a conference compatriot beat the Irish, now you get to pull for a real team. Enjoy.
2. See a Big East game on your channel guide and just keep on scrollin'....
Temple @ Pitt
Kent St. @ Rutgers
Syracuse @ South Florida
Feel the power. And then move on.
3. Peruse Halloween costumes.
Do it for the entertainment value and appreciate the majesty (but only if you’re unmarried and without daughters). One of the more amazing developments of the last 15 years to me is the slutification of Halloween. It’s like in 1998 some mass email went out to every female in America basically saying "there are no longer any rules for Halloween. Decency is for Thanksgiving and Easter. For one night a year, go get your ho on." So if you’re unmarried and kid-less believe me when I say suck every single ounce of awesome from every Halloween that you can.
(Note: if you’re married or have kids- specifically 2 little girls under 5 like me – stay the hell away from the Halloween costumes. It will give you a complex. You lost the Halloween lottery of life, it's OK, just move on.)
4. Pull for Kansas State
Hold on, hold on, stay with me for a minute. Yes they kicked the ever-loving crap out of WVU at Milan Puskar Stadium at night in a way not seen since....well......maybe ever. That sucked. But no reason to hold it against them that they were really really good and we were really, really bad. And honestly, if you didn't watch Bill Snyder's post-game press conference and become a fan of the guy I don't know what to tell you. If only every evisceration were done so politely. A big reason we all want WVU to win a title is to crash the old money party that is major college football. Well that title ain't happening this year, so why not pull for someone else to do the same thing. A vote for Kansas State is a vote against Florida, Alabama, USC and every other power program that thinks the title dais is their birthright. Go Wildcats. Go America.
5. Watch Alabama and Mississippi State....but just for a little bit
Then switch it over to DIY Network and catch a little more competitive rivalry between a hammer and nail or a jackhammer and concrete. Since their overtime loss to LSU last year, the closest anyone has come to beating the Tide is MSU's 24-7 loss in the game that was right after. Since that game they've beat everyone by at least 19. The only team to score 20 or more against them since 2010 is Georgia Southern. The only team that did it before them won the national title (Auburn). It's a run of dominance unseen since the Nebraska teams of 1994-95. And frankly it's boring.
6. Turn off the TV
Not for a long time, I mean it IS football season. But just for a little bit. Go enjoy the beautiful fall colors and brisk fall weather. Maybe toss the football with a buddy or if you're younger than me and your limbs still fully function get together an actual game of touch football. If you've got a family do something incredibly hokey and hit the pumpkin patch or a corn maze. It's fall - embrace it.
Then back to football.
7. Give thanks to the Man Upstairs
For family, friends, health...and then scroll over to the Akron page on CNNSI.com and thank him that Terry Bowden is safely across the Ohio River with his 1-7 record. Seriously, there were people who wanted him in Morgantown not so long ago. I will maintain until the day I die that his navigating Auburn through an undefeated season in 1993 was the most unlikely occurrence in sport since the Miracle on Ice. I mean wow. And when you're done scroll over to South Florida's page, take in that 5 game losing streak and remember Skip Holtz was going to be on the short list in 2008. Talk about dodging a couple bullets. We got it pretty good y'all.
8. Watch some YouTube
Plenty to choose from - the Orange Bowl, games against Marshall, LSU (some parts at least), Texas, Baylor....the list goes on. Soak in the good fives and positivity and remember that this is a great offense. Don't let 8 quarters of crappy football make you ignore 5 times that much evidence to the contrary. But it's an offense predicated on rhythm and mindset - mindset that you can make every little pass like it were a hand-off and mindset to remain focused enough to run a few hundred feet, stop for 3 seconds and then line up ready to run the next play; the mindset to be faster than the guy across from you for three hours. It's death by a thousand cuts for an opposing defense but each cut must draw blood.
Of course mindsets can be fickle things, and they can be greatly influenced by the environment. 60,000 strong will greet this team when they take the field again in a week and every last one of them needs to get their mindset right. No booing after a couple bad series or Bronx cheers at a pass breakup. So crack open a beer, use the intertubes to remember the good times and get your head right for TCU.
Have a great Saturday.
Any other fun ideas for how to occupy our time this weekend? Throw 'em down in the comments section.