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What I Think About Pat White, Kansas State and West Virginia’s Big 12 Title Chances

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It was a tight game, made even tighter by a bad second half.

I Think those helmets are tight

Yeah, I’m all about special things for West Virginia, whether it be US Flag decals for the helmets, or the team coming out in special old school helmets, or just wearing a new uniform combination. Those decals are great.

I Think Pat White and Steve Slaton need to watch their words

If you missed the article, Bob Hertzel of the Exponent Telegram ran an article on Wednesday that said “Pat White and Steve Slaton feel unwelcome at WVU”. [Click the link]. Our own Matt Kirchner wrote a response to that article.

Matt did a good job but I’m going to take it one step further. White and Slaton both used a media platform to air their grievances with the University and spun the tale in part so that it reflected poorly of the coaching staff. White, on his podcast, claims that the two heroes of the Rich Rod Era WVU teams are treated as less than stars because they come from the Big East era.

I don’t buy it for one second. White and Slaton also used the “I’m not saying _____ but...” line which means you are saying. You’ll see people say “I’m not saying I should have won but ____”, no you’re saying you should have won. White and Slaton dropped the bomb “We don’t need red carpet treatment but,” NO Mr. White and Slaton, you are saying you need red carpet treatment. Guess what guys, that stuff comes on a Friday night. Not one or two hours before the game. While podcast host Matty Staudt appears to think the University and coaching staff should bend over backwards for these two former players, no one would have been happy had the team not won against Iowa State because game preparation was interrupted so we could honor players from 10 years ago.

My other big contention with the words used by the two former stars is that they, in whatever careless manner they chose, appear to be blaming Dana and his staff. Let’s be clear, Dana is not in charge of organizing former player tributes, nor is he required to change his gameday routine for his team when they have a game to prepare for. The failure of whatever happened last weekend falls directly on the University, The Varsity Club and White/Slaton. You want to see how former players should react, see what Stedman Bailey said Saturday night.

I Think I feel like a prophet

Time to toot my own horn guys. First, in our prediction thread I said

KSt is the perfect nemesis for Jake Spavital. The Wildcats are #10 in rush D, allowing only 114 yards/game, which means this game is going to be on Will Grier's right arm. If the weather is as predicted (60 and rainy), will that hamper the team like it did against Oklahoma State? WVU hasn't been good this year when ranked, can they finally get the mojo working?

West Virginia 28 - Kansas State 24

The weather did affect the offense, as Grier threw a pair of first half interceptions and the team fumbled twice. The team rushed for only 120 yards, 6 more than KSU allows per game, so Grier was required to make throws and plays. He did, mostly in the first half when he threw for 221 yards and four touchdowns, including scrambling away from Kansas State defenders. Even more so, I missed the score by one damn point. TOOT TOOT!

Second, West Virginia fans got hopefully a bit of good news Saturday when according to Eric Galko of Optimum Scouting, Will Grier is expected to return to school for his senior year and should be a top prospect.

Now I’ve seen many people who are starting to connect the dots and say with Grier and Sills and Jennings and McKoy and all these other players coming back, plus the losses of Baker Mayfield, Mason Rudolph, Kenny Hill, the Big 12 will be breaking in new quarterbacks while we will have a savvy veteran senior quarterback and 2018 could be a special year to win 10 games, win the Big 12, maybe make the playoffs or at least a New Years 6 bowl. I saw this coming in August.

If Eric’s statement comes true, 2018 just might be one of those special years for Mountaineer fans.

I think second half offense would be nice

Jake Spavital seems to do really well at game planning all week but for the second straight game, the offense has disappeared in the second half. Against Kansas State, the Mountaineers managed only 8 first downs and 118 yards before a game-sealing 34 yard drive at the end of the game. In fact, in the second half against Kansas State and Iowa State, Grier and Company have managed only 258 yards of offense, 0 points and turned the ball over twice.

I know the other team has talented players on defense but we can’t be so hot and cold. If you want to win consistently, you need to be able to make adjustments on the fly and communicate those adjustments to your players in real time. Jake will get there, I have faith.

I Think the puppies are getting their #DAWG teeth

Let’s talk about what Tony Gibson has been able to do. It takes a while to figure out what exactly works best when you have to replace so many parts on a team. Gibson was tasked with replacing his entire defensive line along with his secondary. In the beginning of the season, he was mixing players in and out and had to see on film and in the game who was a baller and who was a practice champ. Now in the second half of the season, he’s found more ballers than practice champs. LaMonte McDougal has shifted to nose guard. Ezekiel Rose is sliding inside. Kenny Robinson is one of the better corners on the team. Derrick Pitts, Adam Shuler, Reese Donahue, you name it and the team is making more and more strides on defense every week.

Against two teams that want to limit possessions and run the ball, the run defense has really stepped up. The rush defense is still ranked near the bottom because of the Kansas debacle and some early misfortune but lately, the run defense has been better. The pass defense has been better. For once, the defense is getting better and better at the end of the season. In two weeks, the Mountaineers face a force of nature in Norman, can the defense get lucky?

I Think we have a chance at the Big 12 Title, but it ain’t easy

I broke down the Big 12 tiebreakers, as I understand the tiebreaking procedure last night. I saw you guys debating on Facebook, in our comments and on Twitter, so I took the time to work it out.

Let me say, as I understand the procedure, the Big 12 compares the record of tied teams to each team in the standings one at a time.

In Scenario 2 and 3, WVU is tied with Oklahoma and TCU [or OSU].

Standings:

Oklahoma: 7-2

TCU: 7-2

WVU: 7-2

OSU: 6-3

Iowa State: 6-3

Texas: 5-4

Kansas State: 3-6

Texas Tech: 2-7

Baylor: 1-8

Kansas: 0-9

Some people are interpreting the tiebreaker as record against the remaining teams as a whole. Reddit has a whole breakdown that has 1,024 scenarios. I don’t buy it. I cannot fathom a scenario where three teams are tied with the same conference record (8-1/7-2) and their conference record against remaining teams breaks a tie.

In this scenario, OU/TCU/OSU are all 7-2. All three are 1-1 against the other two teams. [OU lost to WVU, beat TCU; WVU lost to TCU, beat OU]. So why would there conference record against the remaning teams be any different? It HAS to be 6-1 as a whole, otherwise they wouldn’t be tied in the standings. It does make sense to rank the remaining standings and then say “What is your record against #4? If still tied, what is your record against #5?” and so forth.

This is why I think we are now rooting for Texas Tech. It would be nice if both OSU and TCU lost this week. That make’s life simple, but #TeamChaos is weird. If only one team is going to lose, we need it to be TCU. TCU losing would tie them with Iowa State in the pecking order. Iowa State’s win over TCU would give them the #4 seed. Oklahoma’s loss to Iowa State would then drop them out of the title game and the Mountaineers would get a rematch with Mason Rudolph.