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What I Think After Riot Bowl V

The Mountaineers rolled to their ninth win thanks to a “___ it, Chuck it” game plan

NCAA Football: West Virginia at Iowa State Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

I think WVU really needs a rival on this weekend

Iowa State is a fine program. During the basketball season they are clearly one of the few teams in-step with WVU for that second place trophy after Kansas, but on the football field, Iowa State hasn’t experienced any success since a 6-6 2012 campaign that ended at 6-7 following their Liberty Bowl loss. They haven’t experienced a winning season since 2009. It has been a long road for the Cyclones and forcing them to be WVU’s rival does nothing for Iowa State or West Virginia. I would emplore Shane Lyons to do everything possible to move the upcoming Backyard Brawl to this week. Give WVU fans the real rivalry game they deserve on Rivalry Weekend.

I think WVU fans should be excited for bowl season

Hopefully by now you’ve allowed the season’s hype and excitement of maybe making the playoffs or at least making a New Years 6 bowl to wash over you. Now you should realize that WVU has a very good and very real possibility of playing in the Russel Athletic Bowl (formerly the CarQuest Bowl and Champ Sports Bowl). The significance of that bowl is that it will pit WVU against the ACC. Right now, David Hale of ESPN.com is predicting the Pitt Panthers to be the ACC selection. Last year this was a possible scenario that didn’t play out due to multiple factors. This year, WVU will be going to Orlando for bowl season and what better way to wrap up an 11-win season than winning the Brawl once again?

I think Skyler Howard ain’t wrong but .....

...he needs thicker skin. Let’s talk about Skyler for a second. Skyler plays his heart out and gets the most out of his talent. He tries his butt off and the offensive players obviously love playing with him. Skyler still has very real limitations. He’s barely 6’-0” tall, he has smaller hands and he isn’t the most accurate passer. When those limitations come together against top ranked teams, they show up in the form of fumbles, interceptions and over thrown passes.

I’ve said before in this column that I don’t think its right to boo players. I still believe that. These are 18-22 year old kids playing a game for free. That said, you are paying your hard earned money for tickets, driving hours for a game and paying high prices for food and beer. You, as a fan, have a right to express your dissatisfaction. If Skyler wants all the glitz and glamour of being the starting quarterback for a Power 5 conference team, he needs to be able to handle the criticisms.

Skyler’s comment after the Riot Bowl, when asked what he thought about playing his final game at home, is not going to endure him to fans. Skyler commented that it was “one more chance to get booed”. I get it Skyler. You hear the boos, you know, in part, that some are directed at you. You want to win. You want to win so badly you’ll throw that football through three Oklahoma Sooners before it lands in the hands of Daikel Shorts. You want so badly to prove that everyone who is booing is wrong. I’ve been there. I was that kid once. I would take those criticisms to heart and then go out there and play 200% better and I’d show you! Except I didn’t and you won’t Skyler. My sincere hope is that in time, you will look back at your 2+ years of starting for the Mountaineers as fond memories. Yeah, you got booed but man you guys had fun. Think about the bowl games you played in. Think about the touchdowns you threw. Think about the 8,000+ yards you threw for or the 1,000 yards you ran for. In time Skyler, I hope you realize that the fans want the same thing as you, to win.

I think Dana isn’t going to Houston

Sometime Saturday there was a rumor floating around that Houston was looking at Dana Holgorsen for their now vacant head coaching job. The pundits will tell you “it makes sense. Dana used to coach the Cougars, setting the record books on fire during his time. Houston is paying as much as WVU and they [Houston] had a legitimate shot at the playoffs”. All of that is true, but it doesn’t matter.

Houston spent money on Tom Herrman thinking they were going to be in the new Big 12 when expansion began. It looked like a done deal for months before the LOLBig12 Presidents killed expansion. Houston is not going to continue to spend 3+ million on a head coach and untold millions on facility upgrades while in the AAC. Not when they generate 7 million dollars and the conference only receives 15 million total from the revenue sharing. Houston took a gamble on spending, hoping to improve itself, and it didn’t work.

Houston is also a Group of 5 team. They have no margin for error. Houston was a long shot coming into the season but if they played well for the 3 games on their schedule and took care of business, Houston was going to be the first Group of 5 to break into the playoffs. They did their part in September, beating Oklahoma by 10. Then they lost to Navy and their playoff chances were done. Sure they beat Louisville but that one loss to Navy killed them. Losing two more games, done. Finito. Houston had a great year at 9-3. They can win 10 games with their bowl game yet they aren’t playing for a conference title, much less a chance at the playoffs. They are going to a mid-tier bowl at best. Coaches don’t leave Power 5 teams for Group of 5. They don’t.

I think Dana will stay

Speaking of Dana, I know some of you are wringing your hands over the idea that a contract isn’t done. Shane Lyons has stated that he won’t speak on contracts until after the season. I think that makes sense from both his and Dana’s perspective. There is no need to muddle up the season trying to negotiate a new contract when you need to win football games. I expect a contract to get done. I think the buyout is going to be the toughest part of the talks. Money and years are all about compromise and ultimately a 100K here or 200K there isn’t going to break either side. The buyout however has a chance to get sticky. Olive Luck gave Dana great security by making his salary guaranteed. That meant WVU wasn’t going to let Dana go last year and pay him nearly 7 million, plus the 2.5 million to buy out assistant coaches. Shane Lyons is going to want a more reasonable and more university friendly buyout. Dana is going to want some security. It wouldn’t surprise me if the buyout is 1 guaranteed year plus 1M per remaining year. Or something like that. Once that part of the contract is finalized, I think both parties sign and we get to enjoy this ride for a few more years.