When we last spoke, the highly intelligent men and women who are paid to cover and opine on college football were leaving us with these gems:
Down goes Baylor, West Virginia and possibly the Big 12's playoff hopes.— Desmond Howard (@DesmondHoward) October 29, 2016
Can the Big 12 still expand and add two playoff contenders before December?— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) October 29, 2016
#Big12 gets whacked today... Congrats to Charlie Strong— Anthony Becht (@Anthony_Becht) October 29, 2016
Big 12 is gonna miss the CFP. What a Saturday.— Mike Casazza (@mikecasazza) October 29, 2016
I like these folks, they're good minds who do good work, but have any of them watched an entire college football season? Haven't they seen enough to know that conventional wisdom is that thing we all laugh at in 3 weeks? Maybe this was why the Oklahoma State loss didn't bug me as much as it should have. I absolutely knew that if the Mountaineers took care of business the standard casualties of a football season would fall around them and open up a path.
Narduzzi was asked about Pitt’s DBs today. I’m guessing he’s said this to MSU’s DBs in the past.— Chris Vannini (@ChrisVannini) October 31, 2016
It’s about dogs. https://t.co/05HH4AwAA9
Leicester City, the Cleveland Cavaliers and now the Chicago Cubs. 2016 sure is something. Congrats Cubbies.— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) November 3, 2016
West Virginia plays more Top 40 teams the rest of the way (3) than any other team in the conversation. Most upward mobility.— Braden Gall (@BradenGall) November 8, 2016
This was sent before the Texas game and was one more reason I wasn't bent out of shape. The WVU schedule this year actually set up better for them than any since they joined the league, allowing them to ease into things and putting the Oklahoma game at the rear of the schedule. Unfortunately Baylor seems to be hellbent on costing us any semblance of a quality win, but the fact remains, there is opportunity to move up.
LSU and West Virginia are getting no love from this committee...are they throwing darts at a board blind folded?— Joel Klatt (@joelklatt) November 9, 2016
But all in all, I felt good about where WVU was. They boat raced Kansas and had a defining game in Austin on the horizon. If they were the team we thought they were, they'd be able to hand the Longhorns their first home loss of the season. if not, they were probably still on track to win 9 games, which was at the very high end of expectations this year.
And what would a Retweet be without some fashion talk? I've got pretty simple rules. No yeller hats, no yeller shirts. Prefer blue hats, but can be convinced with white from time to time. Britches color optional. So based on that criteria, I liked what we had on tap for Austin. (Bonus points as it was the combination for both the 2012 win in Austin and the Orange Bowl).
The game itself taught us what we needed to know. This is a good WVU team. They turned it over 4 times (including three! third quarter interceptions) and with Rushel Shell on the shelf were shorthanded. After building a quick 17-3 lead, Texas began a comeback that would pull them within 4 and control all the momentum of a home crowd. Texas outgained them 383 to 536, including 218 on the ground. Texas did a lot of things right and WVU did a lot of things wrong, yet the Mountaineers led for nearly the entire game.
Last year WVU loses this game. As they do the year before that and the year before that. But not this year.
This is a really good team.
Holgo was lit up, man. And there's no better evidence that refs knew they screwed up that they sat there and took it.
Dana Holgorsen might actually spontaneously combust in a geyser of blood, intestines and redbull— Chris B. Brown (@smartfootball) November 12, 2016
It would be like a Gallagher show. Everybody in the front row wear ponchos!
Gibby may have painted his masterpiece. This game in so many ways was exactly what he wants these guys to do. Texas rang up yards marching up and down between the 30s and D'Onta Foreman looked great on paper with 167, but when things got tight this was a WVU team able to get the Longhorns off the field either on 3rd down (UT was 5/17 on 3rd down) or by forcing turnovers on plays like this:
These weren't turnovers that Texas handed to WVU, these were turnovers that this defense went out and grabbed (the timing and skill Rasul Douglas displayed in making his league-leading 6th interception was a thing of beauty). In the Oklahoma State game there was some criticism of the defense which I thought was largely unfounded. They absolutely played well enough to win. But what they didn't do that day was create any turnovers. For this WVU team to be at their best and win, the defense needs to make plays that create extra possessions for the offense. It happened on Saturday and was able to offset a misfiring offensive unit that you couldn't help but feel left points on the board.
(sidebar: I don't want to be the jerk who looks the gift longhorn in the mouth, but man it felt like this could have been uglier. Immediately following Douglas' interception, Texas was just begging WVU to level a knockout blow and stretch this thing to 31-13. Heck maybe that carnage leads to more carnage. I just couldn't help thinking about that as i watched how the clearly unimpressed playoff ommittee judged WVU.)
We're flirting with an insane chaos week. Clemson already down. Louisville/Washington in trouble at home.— David Ubben (@davidubben) November 13, 2016
Sooooo what if Nos. 2, 3, and 4 all lose on the same Saturday?— Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) November 13, 2016
Big 12 playoff hopes today? pic.twitter.com/aUlgHTnmwG— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) November 13, 2016
Boy I mean who in the big wide world saw this coming?!
(me. I totally saw this coming.)
In movie theaters the last time #2, #3, & #4 in college football lost on the same day (10/19/1985) pic.twitter.com/TMqOkulSMJ— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) November 13, 2016
And on a completely unrelated note:
GRIMACE IS RED WITH RAGE AND HE'S EATING SMALL CHILDREN CALL THE NATIONAL GUARD!!
No.'s 2,3,4,8,9, and 14 all fall today. But those No. 16 Mountaineers keep winning. #WVU— BlueGoldSports.com (@Blue_GoldSports) November 13, 2016
It was all coming together. I had a bounce in my step I hadn't had all season. When you're young you think there are a thousand of those seasons out there and you'll always have another one. Then you suffer through a few dry spells and realize that isn't the case. The older you get the more you appreciate great seasons and how rare they are (unless you're some jackass Alabama fan of course). Well this has the potential to be a great season and I've thrown myself completely into it. I love it. I'm savoring every second.
True story: my 20 month old wasn't feeling great Saturday night and spent most of it up crying. I think i got 3 hours of total sleep and about 2 of those consecutive. On top of that our girls were singing in the children's service at church so I had to have them there at 7:30 for not one but TWO services. Oh, did I mention my wife was occupied so I'd be charged with managing all 3 of these munchkins through the entire process rolling solo?
I should have been cranky. I should have been miserable. I was neither. Heck, I was happier than I've been all year. I was even laughing at the preacher's jokes when I heard the same sermon the second time around. Even sprung for lunch, the girls were great.
Point being this is what we live for. This is what we read those preview magazines and recruiting sites for. This right here. We've got an 8-1 team on the cusp of the biggest home game in at least 1 decade and probably two. Soak it up. Live in it. Love it.
My New Top 10— Joel Klatt (@joelklatt) November 13, 2016
This felt about right to me, and is honestly close to what I expected to see. WVU had proven themselves on the road against a marquee name that hadn't dropped a home game all year. It was a quality should have convinced reasonable people this was a top 10 team.
AP Poll Top 10 games in Morgantown:— WVU Football (@WVUfootball) November 13, 2016
2016: No. 10 WVU vs No. 8 Oklahoma
1993: No. 9 WVU vs No. 4 Miami
1989: No. 9 WVU vs No. 10 Pitt pic.twitter.com/QhzA1MEUCE
So yeah, you could say this one is big.
It's definitely not this simple but in what world does a team that lost 49-10 belong in the Top 4?— Braden Gall (@BradenGall) November 15, 2016
Not my America.
Braden is referring to Penn State, and I share his incredulity. I mean it's great that they beat Ohio State. Really, it is. But that doesn't make them a top 10 team. I mean Iowa beat Michigan and Pitt beat Clemson - does that mean they get ranked?
Wazzou at Colorado = two tail end of Top 25 teams, Gameday live while still dark.— Chris Anderson (@CMAnderson247) November 13, 2016
OU at WVU = de facto CFB Playoff Elimination game
So with a top 10 matchup on the table, ESPN's College Gameday went hipster and booked tickets to Kalamazoo. I was mad about this for around half a second. Then I realized the best thing for this team, these fans and this game is to be ignored by ESPN and everybody else. No distractions. No pat on the back press clippings all week. No camera crews following everyone around and Tom Rinaldi spending the days and nights seeing if he can make people cry.
Focus. Anger. And a big fat blue and gold chip on the shoulder. I don't want my beautiful Mountaineer crowd to be a made for TV sign-waving Home Depot commercial. Nah, I like my Mountaineer crowds pissed off and liquored up.
This is what we needed.
Basically... College Football went from a BCS system with a real formula to a human controlled popularity contest. Well done— Jorge Sedano (@SedanoESPN) November 16, 2016
Looking up at a 2 loss Colorado team with no victories over top 25 teams and a THREE LOSS USC team. Unbelievable. I can't put into words how frustrating this was. I may or may not have looked up from the book I was reading my 20 month old and uttered a bad word. My wife may have been a little mad at me that Everett will think the ABCs now go "E-F-G, H, I, J, are you [solding] me?!"
It's Year 3, and many people are still grappling w/ this, but the committee values big wins far more than it penalizes bad losses.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) November 16, 2016
Kirby Hocutt on the possibility of Ohio State winning out and falling out of the top four: "We do not look forward."— David Ubben (@davidubben) November 16, 2016
College Football's Playoff Committee: The Anti-Bob Huggins.
Hocutt: "The committee spent a lot of time this week talking about West Virginia" and main issue is its 0-1 record vs. current CFP Top 25.— David Ubben (@davidubben) November 16, 2016
If you believe that I've got this great deed to the Brooklyn Bridge with your name on it. I'll throw in some swampland in Florida! These jackasses clearly watch nothing but Pac 12, and Big 10 football. The extent to which they're making up excuses to prop up Penn State and Colorado should be embarrassing. At least the computer component to the old BCS served as a reality check on the human predilections inherent in polls. These are the people who let future 7-5 Notre Dame teams start the season in the top 10 every year. They cling to their preconceived notions like an infant taking his blankie to bed. They've been carrying these beliefs around this "knowledge" of who is and isn't good for thirty years and they'll be damned if they'll let something as silly as the result to games supersede that hard-earned knowledge.
Everything will take care of itself— Day✖️2 (@David__Long) November 16, 2016
I hope these damn rankings are pasted up everywhere in the practice facility. I read once that at Disney World, someone calculated trashcan locations so that you can't walk more than 30 steps without passing one. This is what I want for these rankings in Milan Puskar Stadium. I want them everywhere. In the cafeteria. Above the urinals. On the doors to dorm rooms.
Mountaineer teams and Mountaineer fans are at their best when the world looks down their noses at us. I can't think of a game or a time more calling for an outpouring of "piss on you I'll prove you wrong" righteous indignation than this one. Win this one and they'll run out of excuses. Win this and watch the chaos of college football carve a path to that place we all want to go.
Win this one because they don't think you can. They never think you can.