clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

What I Think About WVU Football After That Beatdown

Sometimes after a loss you swallow your pride and look to next week. And sometimes you wallow in self pity. Lets get our thoughts out and move forward.

NCAA Football: Oklahoma at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

I think you shouldn’t lose sight of the big picture

The last time West Virginia hosted a game this big, of this magnitude, was at least the 2007 Backyard Brawl. If you want to say, no because Pitt was 4-7 entering the game, then this was the biggest game since 1993. They both held national title implications.

Think about that last sentence for a second. Your West Virginia Mountaineers were still in the talks for a NATIONAL TITLE. The one thing that has eluded Mountaineer Nation. There was a chance in 1988. Again in 1993. Finally it reappeared in 2007. Now in 2016 there was a glimmer of hope.

Not every school can say they were in those talks this year. Certainly not 7 other Big 12 schools. Texas, the other giant blue blooded elephant in the conference, hasn’t been in that national title picture for years! The same Texas that spends more than anyone else on athletics, that is always a top 3 destination job, hasn’t come close to a national title in a long while. Enjoy the ride as Brandon Priddy wrote a while back. Yes, we hurtled off the cliff Saturday but damn it was fun climbing as high as we did.

I think you shouldn’t lose sight of 11 wins

Before the season, WVU was picked to finish 7th in the conference. Barring some miracles, WVU is going to finish 3rd in the conference. They are going to win 10 regular season games and play in a quality bowl. If I told you before the season, I could see WVU winning 10 games and playing in Orlando, you would have said I was crazy. You would have said I was a homer. You would have taken those 10 wins and run to the bank. Don’t lose sight of how big this season is just because we had a bigger chance and it got away. There’s a chance, assuming the bowl committee doesn’t care about next year’s matchup, that we get to play Virginia Tech in Orlando. What a great way to end the football season, beating the Hokies where it should be nice and warm in December.

I think if you booed and left early, I can’t respect you

Mountaineer fans are supposed to pride themselves on their fierce loyalty and love to their home team. You can be frustrated with the performance, I know I was. You can be upset that the game ultimately is not going to turn out how you think. I know I basically knew the outcome by the end of the first quarter. You cannot boo your own players and walk out on them.

Every fan I meet and interact with is a kind person who exudes the good qualities of the state of West Virginia. Even if you don’t live in the state anymore, it still is home. You open doors for people, you give a little more when you can, you work hard and you love your family. So why do you treat your football team, its players and its head coach like they are not worthy of your time, loyalty and love? Because 10 years ago we were winning 10 games and a weakened Big East conference? Because we beat overranked teams like Rutgers or UConn or South Florida?

One of my favorite things on Sunday is watching former Mountaineers pop up on the Sunday Night Football lineup and say “_____ ______ Almost Heaven West Virginia” because they believe how good our fans and our state is. Don’t give those kids a reason to hate this state.

I think we’ve got a turnover problem

At Texas, the team was lucky that none of the turnovers hurt them enough to cause them to lose. Against Oklahoma State, three turnovers deep inside West Virginia territory resulted in 17 points, the margin of victory for the Cowboys. Saturday night, four West Virginia turnovers resulted in 28 points for Oklahoma, who beat us by 28. Themes are emerging. And its not just your favorite scapegoat, Skyler Howard.

Justin Crawford, who rushed for 331 yards, has fumbled the ball twice when WVU could have scored. He’s taken points off the board! Maybe this game is different at 35-34 West Virginia late in the 4th quarter. Maybe being down 21-7 gives the team life?

I think this is what happens when its your first rodeo

Oklahoma, for all the defensive issues they seem to have under Mike Stoops, has been the big dawg in conference for a while. They understand teams have to beat them if they want to win the conference. West Virginia hasn’t been in that position for a long time. They were there in 2006-2011, where often the Big East title ran through Morgantown. Those Big East teams were not the caliber of Oklahoma. They weren’t the caliber of Texas, Oklahoma State or Kansas State.

I think the team was hyped for the game. I was proud of that. I think they were too focused on proving they belonged instead of doing the things that meant they belonged. And ultimately they lost their cool. For the first 25 minutes of the game, this team felt like they deserved better from the playoff committee, felt they deserved more respect from national writers and felt they deserved Gameday on campus. Then when Oklahoma punched them in the mouth early in the game, they resorted to cheap shots because they were frustrated.

If you have ever watched a really high profile MMA or boxing match where one fighter is fighting for redemption and the other is the old guy who just always wins, then 2 minutes into the fight the old guy is rocking this newcomer, that is what Saturday was. Eventually the newcomer might throw a low blow, or might punch after the whistle because he’s frustrated. This team was frustrated. They’ve been in dogfights but not like this. This was their chance and it got away from them quickly and badly.

I think I have no idea what a touchdown is

I know Oklahoma beat us by 28 and in the end this one touchdown didn’t matter but Baker Mayfield’s first touchdown, what?! I feel like I could write a column, every week, about just mind boggling calls on the field. So apparently second and third efforts count this one time after the whistle blows, but not other teams. I just don’t get it.

I think watching 300-yard rushers is a new tradition I dig

Last Thursday was the 4-year anniversary of Tavon Austin doing really bad things to Oklahoma. On Saturday Justin Crawford channeled his inner Tavon and did those things to Oklahoma again. Against Mike Stoops, again. I had flashbacks. Crawford doesn’t have the same change of direction, cutability or excitement that Austin did, but he’s still a fun player to watch. And he comes back next year. I can get used to watching guys run for 300 yards against Oklahoma.

I think Saturday felt like football

Snow covered night games? I need more of this in my life.

James Altobello
Nicole Vaccaro