Chuck has the day off from posting today, so I'm filling in with the weekly preview. It's been a while since I've done one of these, so bear with me as I may ramble a bit.
Where do I begin? The last couple of weeks have been strange for me and different than any two week stretch that I've endured since taking over The Smoking Musket.
Like many, my hopes were high going into the Kansas State game. WVU had faced highly ranked teams coming into Mountaineer Field before and managed to pull off some exciting games and upsets, especially under the lights. Yes, we had seen Holgorsen's offense struggle at times the year before. But, that was the year before. It was the first year of learning. The year before we even imagined 70 point games were possible. But, also the year before a transition into a true powerhouse football league. We, as fans, could somewhat handle the debacle in Lubbock as what some may consider the yearly anomaly game. It didn't mean we liked it, but we were a bit used to having one bad game hit us out of nowhere.
Then, it happened again. Granted it was to the current #2 team in the land right now, but Mountaineer fans weren't used to seeing back to back performances like we've just witnessed. I was in shock, personally. I left the game with 10 minutes to go. IN THE THIRD QUARTER (Coach has since forgiven those of us who exited early) . I had only ever left that early or earlier once and that was the 1996 Syracuse game, which was equally abysmal, but also only around 5 degrees outside. I was so disenchanted that I didn't even listen to the rest on the radio in the car ride home. JP Fanshawe was texting me his disgust that he was attempting to drown away and I still didn't even know the final score until I walked in the house.
As I said, this was a strange time for me, as far as my fandom was concerned. I even started contemplating giving up management of this site (I'm not going anywhere anytime soon). I needed the break last week's off-week provided. Based on our recent site traffic numbers, many other fans needed the time off too. A little crazy weather certainly didn't help things either.
Now, the time off is at an end and the team has taken the extra time to heal, re-focus, re-energize, re-group, and re-emphasize some of the basics. TCU is coming to town. Yes, they're limping a bit; decimated by injuries and suspensions. That doesn't make them any less dangerous to this WVU team that has struggled the last two outings. They also have a coaching staff that has experience in slowing down the Air Raid. The line has gone from WVU being a touchdown favorite to only a 4 point spread. Vegas generally gives the home team three points just for being at home, meaning this game is a virtual pick-em at this point.
Despite all of the doom and gloom that has seemed to surround the Mountaineers these last few weeks, this is still a team that has plenty of talent and when they get on a roll (especially offensively), they really get on a roll. TCU is definitely going to be a test for this Mountaineer team; a test of character, fortitude and determination. I don't have a prediction for you, but I do like our chances. The team has regrouped and so must we too, as fans. The time for sulking is at an end.