Musings Of A Mountain Man: October 5, 2011 - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Musings Of A Mountain Man: October 5, 2011

Posted:
Random thoughts while wondering why he was called The Lone Ranger when Tonto always was around.....
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   TRY AS WE MIGHT TO FEEL UPBEAT about the goings-on of the WVU football team so far this season -- and we do, to a large extent -- there are some clouds that form a mist of discomfort.
 
   We cheer that WVU is in the Top 20 and stands at 4-1 and has an offense that has set or approached school records two weeks in a row.
 
   We celebrate that looking forward, the Mountaineers' impending Big East schedule appears manageable and quite possibly a road map to the BCS bowl bid awarded the Big East champion WVU seems the favorite to become.
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   BUT AS WE ROUND THE FIRST TURN of this potentially joyful gallop, there's a nag saddling our enthusiasm.
 
   It's an unbridled fear that WVU may be left in the dust as thoroughbred programs jockey for position in conference realignment.
 
   It's a concern that when the top finishers trot to the winner's circle, the Mountaineers could end up an also-ran, corralled back into a pack-horse conference that is not, pardon the pun, stable.
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   WHILE THIS SEASON HOLDS much promise and we are excited about it, the unsettled situation confronting WVU at this point slightly dampens our fervor as we peek ahead.
 
   We are fairly certain that the Mountaineers will remain in a BCS conference even if they are forced at pen-point to remain in a twice-recycled Big East, but.....
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   WE ARE OF THE OPINION THAT the Big East is close to flatlining as a football conference.
 
   It will all-but-officially do so the nanosecond the Mountaineer program departs it and don't think WVU isn't trying.
 
   The sad irony is that the WVU brass has tried its best to make Big East football viable while the basketball-only part of the league -- weighted far too heavily toward bottom-feeders like Providence, from where all three Big East Commissioners have come -- has taken a largely adversarial role toward football.
 
   It has viewed football as competition and has obstructed active football growth over the years, leaving it vulnerable to raids by the aristocratic and ruthless Atlantic Coast Conference.
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   THE NOTION THAT THE BIG EAST FOOTBALL conference is crumbling doesn't seem to bother the basketball-only schools, who now are making overtures about splitting off on their own.
 
   Thanks, guys. So now you tell us.
 
   Breaking up was a good idea a decade ago when Big East football still had a chance at viability.
 
   But now that you have done all you can to rub football down to a nub, now that you made it impossible for even your longtime pals Syracuse and Pitt to stay, now you want to bail.
 
   A pox on all your houses.
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   WE BELIEVE THAT WHEN all is said and done, WVU will join the Big 12 Conference, which by the time it sends an invitation Morgantown way might actually be shooting to have 12 teams again from its current 10.
 
   The Big 12 recruitment of WVU will be a more distinct possibility if Big 12 member Missouri bolts to the Southeastern Conference.
 
   That is if, in fact, it gets offered by the SEC.
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   WITH MISSOURI IN the league or out, it's our view that WVU will be too much of an attraction for the Big 12 to pass up and it will approach WVU about joining, along with Big East member Louisville.
 
   Who else they would invite we don't know; much of that would depend on what Missouri does.
 
   The SEC and WVU have been mentioned in many expansion rumors and who knows where the truth lies?
 
   We surmise that it's possible WVU may join the SEC; it's just not as likely as the Mountaineers joining the Big 12.
 
   We're biased because we prefer WVU to be in the Big 12 instead of the SEC.
 
   Either one would be preferable to staying in the Big East.
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   AS FOR THE 2011 MOUNTAINEERS, we see little reason why this team can't run the table and finish 11-1, no less than 10-2, and achieve a BCS bid.
 
   This is especially true considering the emergence last Saturday of freshman running back Dustin Garrison, whose 291 yards rushing against Bowling Green tied him for second all-time for yards in a game by a WVU player and set a freshman record.
 
   WVU also set a Mountaineer Field record of 643 total yards in the game.
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   GLANCING AT THE REMAINING SCHEDULE, tell us which team on it will be favored to beat WVU when they play?
 
   It won't be UConn at home this week. WVU is about a three-touchdown favorite.
 
   At Syracuse on Oct. 21 and at Rutgers on Oct. 29? Nuh-uh. WVU will be heavily favored in both games.
 
   Louisville at home on Nov. 5? At Cincinnati on Nov. 12? Nope and Nope.
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   THE SAME GOES FOR THE PITT game at home on Nov. 25 and South Florida on the road Dec. 1.
 
   Both Pitt and USF could provide WVU some trouble, though the Mountaineers most likely will be favored to beat both teams and should if they play halfway well.
 
   WVU has more talent than any team left on its schedule, a nice advantage to have when you are trying to stay relevant -- make that stay above water -- in the current and near future conference intrigue.
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   QUICK NOTES:
 
   *IF he keeps playing the way he has, we don't see how WVU receiver Tavon Austin can be kept off All-American teams.
 
   *IF he keeps playing the way he has, we don't see how WVU quarterback Geno Smith can be kept off All-American teams, and can be kept from receiving some Heisman Trophy mention.
 
   *WE suggest before Big East play begins that WVU head coach Dana Holgerson will have a good chance of winning the conference coach of the year award.
 
   *THOUGH we agree with Holgerson that the home crowd for last Saturday's Bowling Green was disappointing, we suggest that perhaps he was a tad harsh in his recent comments about it.
 
   *WE can't help but think what last year's defense and this year's offense could have accomplished together.
 
   *THOUGH this year's defense is going through some growing pains, we think it will be a tough out by the end of the season.
 
   *BOY, Louisville sure has to be embarrassed by that loss to Marshall.
 
   *IS it just us, or is WVU coach Bob Huggins and his basketball staff recruiting some big-time talent.
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